The ancient stoics believe that the universe is governed by the “logos” – a force that keeps the universe in an orderly and rational way.
It exists in the universe at a cosmic level such as the force that keeps planets rotating around the sun as well as at the atomic level and the way chemical elements are arranged in an organized way in the periodic table. They have a deep belief that the world behaves in a logical way through a series of cause and effect events. This rational coherence works to preserve the entirety of Nature
It can also exist in the individuals such as plants that allow them to grow leaves in a beautiful symmetry; animals in the form of instincts that allows birds to travel in flocks and ultimately in humans in the form of reason that allows us to form laws that keep our society in order. The ability to think rationality also allows us to discern what is good and bad for ourselves and for other people so our lives remain in harmony. If we fail to act on our individual logos (reason) we will operate our lives in turmoil.
For the stoics anywhere and anything the “logos” operates is natural. To live in accordance with Nature on a cosmic level means to understand and embrace this beautiful coherence of the world. To live in accordance with our Nature on an individual level means to use our reason keep order for ourselves and not harm other people
Also, keep in mind these two types of logos – the logos of the cosmos which can also be understood as Nature and its natural laws and the logos that exists in our faculty of reason – the premise being that the former works to preserve Nature but totally out of control and the latter (our mind) the only thing we have control. From this springs the other frameworks of Stoicism. For example, to be a good person(to be virtuous) is our control through our mind while everything external such other people opinions is not in our control.
Top 10 Quotes About Living In Accordance With Nature From Ancient Stoics
1. “Whatever the nature of the whole does, and whatever serves to maintain it, is good for every part of nature.” Meditations. 2.3
2. “That you are part of nature, and no one can prevent you from speaking and acting in harmony with it, always.” Meditations. 2.9
3. We should remember that even Nature’s inadvertence has its own charm, its own attractiveness … And other things. If you look at them in isolation there’s nothing beautiful about them, and yet by supplementing nature they enrich it and draw us in. And anyone with a feeling for nature—a deeper sensitivity—will find it all gives pleasure. Even what seems inadvertent.” Meditations 3.2
4. “It was for the best. So Nature had no choice but to do it.” Meditations 4.9
5. “Two kinds of readiness are constantly needed: (i) to do only what the logos of authority and law directs, with the good of human beings in mind” Mediations 4.12 part i
6. “To the world: Your harmony is mine. Whatever time you choose is the right time. Not late, not early. To nature: What the turn of your seasons brings me falls like ripe fruit. All things are born from you, exist in you, return to you.” Meditation 4.23
7. “And then you might see what the life of the good man is like—someone content with what nature assigns him, and satisfied with being just and kind himself.” Meditation 4.24
8. “Do you wish to know what this weapon of defence is (from setbacks and calamities)? It is the ability to refrain from chafing over whatever happens to one, of knowing that the very agencies which seem to bring harm are working for the preservation of the world, and are a part of the scheme for bringing to fulfilment the order of the universe and its functions. Let man be pleased with whatever has pleased God; let him marvel at himself and his own resources for this very reason, that he cannot be overcome, that he has the very powers of evil subject to his control, and that he brings into subjection chance and pain and wrong by means of that strongest of powers—reason.” Letters from A Stoic 74
9. “The world as a living being—one nature, one soul. Keep that in mind. And how everything feeds into that single experience, moves with a single motion. And how everything helps produce everything else. Spun and woven together.” Meditations 4.40
10. “What follows coheres with what went before. Not like a random catalogue whose order is imposed upon it arbitrarily, but logically connected. And just as what exists is ordered and harmonious, what comes into being betrays an order too. Not a mere sequence, but an astonishing concordance.” Meditations 4.45
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