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September 17, 2023 2 min read


Stoicism and absurdism are two different philosophical systems that have distinct ideas and principles. However, they can sometimes be misunderstood or confused with each other. Here are some common misunderstandings about Stoicism and absurdism:

Stoicism advocates for emotional suppression: One common misconception about Stoicism is that it encourages individuals to suppress their emotions or be completely detached from them. However, this is not entirely accurate. Stoicism emphasizes the importance of understanding and managing emotions rather than suppressing them. Stoics believe in acknowledging and experiencing emotions but not allowing them to dominate or control one's actions and decisions.

Stoics lack passion or ambition: Another misconception about Stoicism is that it promotes a passive or indifferent approach towards life, leading to a lack of passion or ambition. However, Stoicism does not discourage individuals from pursuing their goals or being passionate. Instead, it emphasizes that one should focus on what can be controlled—their own inner state and actions—and be flexible and adaptable to external circumstances.

Absurdism promotes nihilism or meaninglessness: Absurdism is often misunderstood as promoting a nihilistic worldview—believing that life is inherently meaningless and devoid of purpose. However, absurdism does not advocate for a complete denial of meaning or purpose. It instead suggests that the human search for an ultimate, objective meaning may be futile, but individuals can create their own subjective meaning in life by embracing their freedom and making choices despite the inherent absurdity of existence.

Absurdism promotes a passive acceptance of life's absurdity: Some people mistakenly think that absurdism encourages individuals to passively accept the absurdity of life without attempting to change or improve it. However, absurdism does not promote complacency but rather emphasizes the need to challenge and question the absurdity of existence through acts of rebellion, creativity, and asserting one's individuality in the face of an irrational world.

The teenager in the picture is at a crossroads because stoicism and absurdism are incompatible: Both can be seen as conflicting philosophies due to their different views on life's purpose and the nature of reality. However, it is possible to appreciate and incorporate elements from both philosophies into one's personal worldview. While Stoicism focuses on finding tranquility and fulfillment through self-mastery and virtue, absurdism encourages individuals to embrace their existence and find meaning in the face of an irrational and chaotic world.

Teenagers are still in the process of developing their worldview and may not have experienced enough of life's challenges or existential questions to fully grasp the depths of stoicism and absurdism. Their limited life experience can make it challenging to comprehend and apply these philosophies correctly. Of course, this can happen regardless of age.

It is necessary to underline that stoicism and absurdism have gained popularity in various forms of media, such as books, movies, and social media. However, popular culture often simplifies or distorts philosophical concepts to fit entertainment (e.g. memes) or narrative purposes, potentially leading to misconceptions among teenagers who are primarily exposed to these portrayals.

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