I plan to post a series of manageable articles of Stoicism over the next while. Better yet let's call these articles on the New Stoicism. Although Stoicism's roots reach back to the Greco-Roman era, the philosophy retains its appeal and validity in the modern world - hence the New Stoicism. Stoicism's central idea is not all that difficult to grasp. It is a philosophy meant to appeal to everyone. It's not elitist, obscure, or overly metaphysical.
Anyone can grasp and come to terms with Stoicism if they choose to do it. Stoicism is also progressive. The central demand of Stoicism is that we ought to live according to nature - that's the stick. The pay off for living according to nature is contentment, happiness, joy, tranquility, and serenity - that's the carrot. It's a tasty carrot because these benefits are not postponed. We get to be happy now by living according to nature now. The rules of engagement in Stoicism are not readily apparent to the casual eye. We are easily deceived. This deception is embedded in the popular conception that happiness and joy come to us from service to the self: we are happy when we service our need for pleasure and when we find ways to duck pain. This is a tough place for the non-Stoic because most of modern culture revolves around minimizing pain and maximizing pleasure. The Stoic knows these to be false paths - false because pleasure and pain are body focused experiences. The Stoic knows that the locus of our existence resides not in the frail ephemeral body but in the mind and it is only in the mind that we can find a salutary route and meaningful existence. That's tease enough for a first post.