Audio excerpt from Ancient Philosophy for Modern Leadership Virtual Conference
I find it ironic that Eugenia found stoicism during the difficult time in her life of her divorce. Philosophy is a valuable survival tool for stressful times yet is not considered practical or useful by many in the US. For example, Steven Callahan, who was cast adrift at sea for 76 days alone in a life raft, mentioned in an interview that his philosophy degree and study of philosophy provided him the psychological resilience to survive the ordeal. See Adrift by Steven Callahan. Furthermore, Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale survived torture in the notorious Hanoi Hilton as a captured US pilot during the Vietnam war in large part due to his adherence to Stoic teachings. See Courage Under Fire: Testing Epictetus's Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior by James B. Stockdale. Similarly, I found that reading an overview of all the great philosophies helped me survive the covid pandemic and is something I mentally refer to constantly for solace. See 10-Minute Philosophy: From Buddhism to Stoicism, Confucius and Aristotle by Patrick King.
I think the society of the US is gravely in error for ignoring the wisdom of our forefathers and not embracing any philosophy other than the quest for the all mighty dollar. Given the apparent mental and political breakdown of the US, I believe one of the root causes to be the lack of appreciation for philosophy with the inherent emphasis on character building. The US Constitution was written embracing many disparate values, but it seems the value of commerce has come to dominate and subsume all. The US is failing to live in accord with its self professed values which is the source of the dis-ease.