Addiction and Stoicism "Aren't Compatible"
I'm having an un-Stoic moment, come learn from it with me
I received an email a moment ago, alerting me to a new review on Apple Podcasts. Here are the contents of that review:
The first thing that jumped out at me was that this person enjoyed the show until they decided they didn’t and only then did they decide to review and rate the podcast. They “loved it” until we mentioned Jordan Peterson for 20-minutes (out of thousands upon thousands of minutes).
I really dislike this sort of consumer of media, as a creator: the one who only pipes up when they have a complaint.
Then I got to the last line “On the most important level, stoicism and addiction are not compatible, my friends.”*
“My friends” is cheeky, Stoicism isn’t capitalized, and the sentence starts with great hubris but those things aren’t what bothered me, it was the sentiment.
The sentiment is that Stoics aren’t weak (that sentiment is ignorant, and wrong)
If you’re not a Sage, which you’re not, then you’re a Stoic Prokoptôn. If you’re a Stoic Proktopôn, you’re a student making progress along the Stoic path. If you’re a student making progress along the Stoic path, that means you’re going through stuff. It means you’re messing up and getting it wrong frequently.
Addiction isn’t compatible with sagehood, but it sure as heck might be present in the life of a Stoic Prokoptôn; it might be a few bricks in the path they’re walking. To suggest someone isn’t Stoic because they’re not perfect, or because they struggle, is to convey your ignorance of what Stoicism looks like as a journey. It’s also incredibly condescending, rude, and something I wish, in this case, I could remove from Apple Podcasts reviews
Yes it’s true that the Sage isn’t an addict.
Yes it’s true that the Prokoptôn who is an addict has much work to do.
But we aren’t sages and all Prokoptôns have work to do.
I don’t know how I want to end this so I’ll just say, this is me getting a bit hot under the collar, and I recognize that’s not sage-like behavior, but perhaps that’s just proof of my point: Stoics are a work in progress, stop judging other people for the quality of their journey so far, you don’t know where they’ll end up.
* Jordan Peterson struggled with addiction, that’s the basis of this comment
Afterthought: a few people have reached out suggesting that this seems like sour grapes. To some extent, they’re correct. As I eluded to, reviews like the one above do get under my skin. However, the reason I wrote this article was not to complain about the review, it was to address the addiction comment which is one I’ve seen too oft repeated by Broics and pseudo Stoic influencers. The review gave me the pretext to bring it up. But yes, I was upset by this review for about 3-hours and that sort of reaction to negative judgement is something I’m always working on 💛