Philosophy is a way of living

Stoicism is a form of everyday self-therapy.

I can already hear your voice asking:

— But isn't philosophy about concepts and debates, big ideas and theories?

— Yes, that's right. But only to a certain extent.

You see, for the Stoics of antiquity, who founded the school two thousand five hundred years ago and kept it alive for centuries until today, long before the study of texts took precedence over practice, theory was only of interest to provide the framework in which someone could help themselves.

This is also the path I've chosen.

— How can a philosophical theory help a person?

— By changing your view of the world.

By transforming you internally,
By transforming your mind.

By transforming your soul as you progress along the philosophical path.

So that this soul
casts off its worries,
frees itself from its torments,
is redeemed from its doubts and fears.


Living by philosophy

In Athens or Rome, at a time remembered only by stone ruins and present-day writings, men and women chose not to study philosophy in order to teach it later, but to study philosophy in order to **live** by philosophy.

— What does “live by philosophy" mean ?

Living by philosophy means living like a philosopher.

Being a philosopher basically means that you're willing to improve your character. That is the core principle. The very essence. The raison d'être of stoicism. To always be at peace. So to be a philosopher is to choose to live by philosophical principles, to live as a philosopher.

From our perspective,
Being a philosopher doesn't mean pursuing an academic discipline.
Being a philosopher isn't about spending time in the dark corridors of a college library, nor is it about describing abstract concepts in sophisticated words.

Philosophizing, in the sense of debating, is in fact a concept that emerged much later in the history of philosophy, when the textual interpretation of major figures, the discourse on discourse and the conceptual constructions began to overshadow the original purpose of these texts: to serve as a fundamental teaching on the way to live. (1)


A way of living

So being a philosopher is a way of thinking.

On mmmarcus, I want to teach you how to live like a philosopher and not just philosophize. Do you understand the difference? If it's not quite clear to you yet, don't worry, the next articles will clear up any ambiguities.

But essentially,
for us Stoics, being a philosopher is a way of being, not just a sum of knowledge.

Do you have to wear round glasses, put on a velvet jacket, and appear mysterious?

No. You can still wear Nikes and talk like a teenager if you want.

It all happens on the inside, in the mental attitude that you have given yourself and that you unconsciously embody as your daily life unfolds.

For Epictetus, one of the great figures of the school (see footnotes), it was fundamental to live as a Stoic and not just discussing Stoicism. Becoming a great theorist was a trap he knew many could fall into. Epictetus tells us: "Act like a philosopher". That is the only thing that matters:

“The carpenter does not come and say,
'Hear me discourse on carpentry',
but he undertakes a contract and builds a house and so shows that he has acquired the art.
Do you likewise: eat as a man, drink as a man, adorn yourself, marry, get children, live a citizen's life; endure revilings, bear with an inconsiderate brother, bear with a father, a son, a travelling companion.
Show us that you can do this, and then we shall see that you have in truth learnt something from the philosophers.” (2)

There is a but.

Stoicism isn't a checklist. Beneath the apparent simplicity lies a powerful theoretical system that underpins that simplicity. The two are just two sides of the same coin.

Theory serves practice, and this practical philosophy becomes a complete philosophy.

Stoic philosophy, as a complete philosophy, offers you tangible and applicable solutions to your problems – to what's going on in your head; all while relying on a very structured conceptual framework. This is the theoretical part of the teaching.

That's why it takes time to learn it.
That's why your ancestors gathered under a portico to study it.
That's why you're on mmmarcus today.


Philosophy has its advantages.

It can bring you so much: new perspectives, strength of character, clarity, moderation, resilience.


There are different schools of ancient philosophy: aristotelianism, platonism, skepticism, cynicism, epicureanism... On mmmarcus, I'll guide you so that you can integrate the main principles of Stoicism.

In a simple way. In all modesty. I'll try to make learning as easy as possible for you.

See you very soon.


(1) While philosophy remained an abstract discipline for over a thousand years, it was not until the Middle Ages, around the 13th century, that philosophy developed as an academic discipline.

Later, between the 16th and 17th centuries, Erasmus, Montaigne, Descartes and Spinoza made us (re)aware of the spiritual dimension of philosophy.

During the Enlightenment (18th century), a return to an ideal of philosophy was proposed that referred to its ancient roots, the conversion of being. This return to its roots led to two approaches, which Kant described in the Critique of Pure Reason (1781): cosmic philosophy (the original) and academic philosophy.

In the 19th century, the arguments between the supporters of one side and the other became increasingly fierce. Hegel and Humboldt defended academic philosophy as modern and argued that philosophy consisted in the construction of a system. In contrast, Arthur Schopenhauer sharply criticised the university teaching of philosophy in the chapter Against University Philosophy in his collection Parerga et Paralipomena (1851). This criticism was later taken up by Nietzsche, Hendry David Thoreau, Wittgenstein and many others.

Under this influence, intellectuals such as Bergson, Husserl (founder of phenomenology) and Jean-Paul Sartre, a leading figure of existentialism, continued in the 20th century to promote the idea of philosophy as an act that changes our view of the world and ourselves.

Today, apps such as mmmarcus, the success of Stoic-inspired publications on social networks and translations of Stoic and Epicurean works reflect the return to a popular and transformative philosophy that is first and foremost a way of life.

(2) Epictetus, The Discourses of Epictetus, 3, 21.