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Sample Essay on Functions of Stoic Consolation in John Ford’s “The Golden Meane”

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Sample Essay on Functions of Stoic Consolation in John Ford’s “The Golden Meane”

Introduction

This paper examines Ford’s “The Golden Meane” and evaluates its place in the principle of renaissance stoicism. Here, the author assesses the function of stoic consolation in his work as well as comparing his position to the contemporaries, including Bacon as well as Donne in order to understand the core functions in Ford’s work, “ The Golden Meane.” Moreover, in order to identify its meaning in terms of the prevailing stoicism, it is very imperative to assess Ford’s philosophical as well as moral views, for they help in explaining Ford’s approach to his work[1].   

Discussion
Summary of the “Golden Meane”

Ford’s work “The Golden Meane” praises the idea of stoicism in a significant manner. He additionally presents the stoic conduct of a man as a good and a public man.  The Golden meane, which is a philosophical tract, is profoundly grounded in the stoic concept. He offers response to the shocking downfall of his ally Templar.  Thus, in his work, Ford develops his characteristic combination between consolation and stoic ethics.

Functions of Stoic Consolation

As a very complex concept, stoicism has greatly adopted to the changing situations with long history. Thus, if it is at all true that its ethical dimension embraces a high form of morality, it is also entails some reflections in terms of politics as well as law, or sometime the public behavior, which means that stoic consolation can be easily found underlying various structures of feelings, particularly during the renaissance. Likewise, stoicism directs the renaissance of morals in John Fords work entitled“The Golden Mean.”

The idea of stoicism played a role in informing Ford in his work, “The Golden Meane,” of various ethical dimensions. Generally, in a much more specific as well as detailed enquiry, stoicism, in its ethical dimension may be characterized as a philosophy, which holds that the soul of the universe is very rational, absolute moral truths prevails, truth is only available through common sense, as well as that life is fully realized by obedience to the moral law. 

The importance of stoicism as presented by Ford is that was able to succeed and suppress all other systems of thought that modified themselves in various ways. Stoicism was very necessary in order to be able to manage and cope with the various connotations of Ford’s philosophy and to understand how these contents negotiate the diverse meanings in order to eventually produce specific versions of the stoic thought.  Stoicism manages the regular and additionally effortlessly identifiable good morals and conduct towards oneself as a social obligation. This infers that stoic has both the private and additionally public measurements.[2]

The idea of stoic a lone starts with Zeno of Citium who was able to mix various elements from Socrates and Cynics in efforts to produce a new formulation that could cope with a highly challenging world. In essence, the most coherent as well as clear explanations to the origin of stoic points out that it appeared as a response to the disruptions of the familiar norms within the society. In a much generalized overview, stoicism is fundamentally founded on a physical theory of existence as a continuous and repeating cycle in which everything is comprised of four elements including water, air, earth, as well as fire.  Likewise, stoics conceptualize a guideline that has the capacity to hold everything together and a standard which overwhelms each form of stoicism for quite a while.

For stoicism, there is no separation between God as well as the law. The use of stoic presents the idea that the universe of governed and controlled through a set of rules that are deeply rooted in nature, and which can only be understood when man leads a natural life. This implies that man should stay in participation with the whole cosmological framework. Furthermore, numerous other stoic gimmicks including unpredictability, setting of the legends, and additionally straightforwardness of life are guidelines that just come to be connected with the standard of legend.

Stoicism is especially applicable on the grounds that it delivers new familiarity with the obligation of each person in an astronomical arrangement. It also considered wisdom, courage, as well as modernization to be virtues in regard to the individual himself. Moreover, the stoic ideas concerning the individual’s part within the cosmic plan joins other concepts about man as a political as well as social entity and about the whole being superior to the part that eventually brought forth the modification of the notion “stoic virtue” to imply “civilized patriotic cooperation.”[3]

From this, the resulting stoic picture is one that contemplates on three major recurring stoic themes, including peace of the mind, the law of nature, as well as the wise or happy man. Peace of mind means adapting to the adverse situations, making virtue of necessity, by means of inactive resignation. This comprises internalizing the belief that entirely all the fortunes are indeed good fortunes and that it is by virtue that eventually makes one free. All these practices make man to acquire peace of the mind. Furthermore, the law of nature requires that individuals undertake their duty and that their direct actions be in respect to the hierarchical system as well as reason. The law of nature also embodies the same attitude of active cooperation.  Thus, this means that a life of social activity is above all. Lastly, the wise or happy man is one who is able to stay in accordance with the law of nature and is able to therefore, acquire peace of the mind. In order for an individual to do this, then he must be a virtuous as well as plain person.  With these elements it is clear and it can be established that the idea of stoicism influences many of the texts of major moral concerns, particularly as presented in the work of Ford.  The most important consolation was the perceived diversity of stoic thought.

All of these various sources in which some were more faithful than others to the original concepts, lead to the production as well as popularization of certain misconceptions, which help in explaining a number of the prejudices of the age of stoicism. Besides, even though central stoic concepts were assimilated as well as became part of the current structure of feeling, some prejudices against stoicism can be effortlessly superficial, particularly among those who defied stoicism at the same time as they integrated stoic into their works.

Peace of mind is the objective of all the stoic thoughts and it particularly occupies an important part in the literary texts such as those of Ford in his work, “The Golden Meane.” The importance of the idea behind stoic is that it is the only and fundamental way to attain happiness. On the other hand, happiness is not related to good fortune, rather points to the most easily identifiable notions of stoic or Christian patience, which in part originates from virtue. The first step in the acquisition of peace of mind is avoiding anger. Regarded as a passion, the stoic attitude is to reject anger in excess.  To avoid grief is also the second function of stoic in order to achieve peace of the mind.  Moreover, the control of desire is most probably one of the most underdeveloped of the stoic warnings, which are connected to peace of mind and the reason is that it had to struggle along the established tradition of medieval love. However, one can easily find reference to the disastrous effects of un-stoic passions as witnessed in “The Golden Meane.” Additionally, since the goal was to attain peace of the mind and that grief, anger, and desire are to be avoided, it is of no surprise that consistent reference to simple life is followed by allusions to retirement. In fact, it must be remembered that the social dimension of stoic rejects retirement as an acceptable attitude for a good stoic, because it means deserting responsibility.

If stoic simple life was highly seldom dramatized, it probably was due to the fact that it constituted a somewhat non-dramatic idea, however is significantly seems to function much better in the area of poetry, such as that of Ford in his work “The Golden Meane,” where it generated many works of clear stoic flavor as well as obvious relation with this particular concept.  The law of nature is conspicuously present in Ford’s work “The Golden Meane” probably due to the medieval conservatism as well as Ford’s adherence to the hierarchical system. The social stoicism of Ford’s work indicates that cooperation is the law of nature and that virtue implies living in accordance with this.

From the discussion above and the death of Ford’s friend,   it is very clear that the concept of stoic occupied a very central position in the 16th as well as 17th century writing and as a result, remaining ignorant of this binds one to many of the intellectual as well as aesthetic features of the works of this era.[4] A detailed analysis of the functions that stoic fulfills in Ford’s work indicates that this philosophical school of thought stands one of the systems that attempts to keep together the traditional society through means of continuous reinforcing of the old ideas, even though this backfires oftentimes. In other words, it is through a stoic lens that one can perceive the dialectical relations as well as confrontations of social harmony and individual disagreement. Moreover, the explanation may also be that stoic provides something that one can call “social alienation” meaning a representation of an individual integrated into the society through assimilation as well as full acceptance of the norms, but one who is at the same time, trying to protect himself or herself from harsh conditions through disengaging from these norms and attempting his own definition.[5]

Some texts indicate how this is usually done through means of primitive social stoicism, which implies to the paradoxical re-engagement with the society that is enacted through revenge, which is an aspect that stoicism acts in order to avoid.  The ferocious repression of these acts points to the importance of stoicism as a very useful and fundamental code of conduct, based on simple reciprocity. Moreover, it is important because it entails the suppression of private wishes.

The presence of stoic importantly informs that the texts as well as bout the contexts of these texts that there must have been an epistemological transition.  The role of stoicism has been presented as the representative of the old episteme as well as one line of thought, which emphasizes on a common narrative of the correct or right behavior.

Conclusion

The Golden meane, which is a philosophical tract by John Ford, is profoundly rooted in the stoic concept, in which Ford responds to the scandalous demise of his friend Templar. The aim of this paper, therefore, was to examine the Functions of Stoic Consolation in John Ford’s “The Golden Meane”

Stoic plays a very important role or function in Ford’s work as seen in the above discussion.  According to the concept of stoic, the external circumstances have no moral relevance. Internal mental processes are to be judged the same as actions. An act is always judged on its moral inception not on its actual completion.  For instance, a person who contemplates committing a crime is morally evil or wrong, but less wrong than the person who actually carries out the criminal act.[6] Here, virtue is not an absolute, but rather a quality that encounters relative degrees: Some may be less virtuous while others may be more virtuous.

The human reason selects, either for good or for bad. People make propositions and either embrace them or can decide to reject them. When reason is untrained, many individuals may embrace bad judgments or sometimes opt to reject the good judgments. In this way, according to the concept of stoic, the passions are cognitive as well as selective, meaning that they are fully housed within reason. Moreover, rationality is emotional. Therefore, emotions are very “fresh”—to mean that they have an overwhelming consequence, but this does not deny the cognitive element. In addition, for the stoics, individuals are still dealing with propositions, however vivid and troublesome. Prolonged-held propositions, particularly those that are damaging, can have enduring effects on the person’s character. The stoic soul is not divided in this manner: the damaging forces are located in reason as well as that they can therefore, be recognized and ultimately denied. The soul is one single unit, not split into warring parties.

Stoic as a philosophical school of thought stands one of the systems that attempts to keep together the traditional society through means of continuous reinforcing of the old ideas, even though this backfires oftentimes.[7] In other words, it is through a stoic lens that one can perceive the dialectical relations as well as confrontations of social harmony and individual dissonance. Stoic as a concept has also been said to be very necessary in order to be able to manage as well as cope with the various connotations of Ford’s philosophy and to understand how these contents negotiate the diverse meanings in order to eventually produce specific versions of the stoic thought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

Neill Michael, “Ford, John,” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Ford John, The Golden Meane (London: Anold, 1614).

Ford  John, Anthony Stafford, and William Marshall, The Golden Meane (London: 1613).

Lucio Seneca, Moral Essays (Cambridge: Harvard University press, 1928).

Webster John, The Three Plays, (D.C Gunby: Penguin, 1972).

Spencer  Benjamin,  Chrysomeson, a Golden Meane ( London: 1659).

Baker Sa, The Golden Meane (London: Dunstans Church-yard, 1638).

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Baker Sa, The Golden Meane (London: Dunstans Church-yard, 1638).

 

[2] Ford John, The Golden Meane (London: Anold, 1614).

 

[3] Michael Neill, “Ford, John,” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

 

[4] Ford John, Anthony Stafford, and William Marshall, The Golden Meane (London: 1613).

 

[5] Lucio Seneca, Moral Essays (Cambridge: Harvard University press, 1928).

 

[6]  Spencer Benjamin,  Chrysomeson, a Golden Meane ( London: 1659).

 

[7] Webster John, The Three Plays, (D.C Gunby: Penguin, 1972).

 

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