There is a long line, sometimes subtler sometimes thicker, running from Sokrates (Socrates) and Platon (Plato) – who lived some centuries before Christ – to Michel Foucault and Pierre Hadot (who both lived last century). Our History goes back to Ancient Greece and Imperial Rome.
This line unites all the thinkers who devoted a conspicuous attention to the issues introduced in this website. Most of these topics relate to the <CARE OF SELF> philosophy (and culture). In many instances, those intellectuals, academics, philosophers and scholars behaved according to <epimeleia heautou> (Greek for <CARE OF SELF>). In other words, they philosophically took care of themselves. Some others opted for researches and studies regarding this attitude/doctrine, feeling no need to apply in their lives the tenets of philosophy. In both cases we have very important references either as role models or as experts and knowers.
Our History goes back to Ancient Greece and Imperial Rome. The Author of this website investigated many texts. Among them, the Socratic dialogues, the writings of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (Marcus Aurelius) and Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Seneca the Youger). Furthermore, he digged into the lessons of Michel Foucault at College de France and the books of Pierre Hadot and James Hillman (this last one might seem an outlandish pick, but it is not).
Exponents of Christian asceticism present similarities with Stoicism, Cynicism and Epicureanism, Hellenistic philosophies whose preoccupations toward the <CARE OF SELF> were prominent (despite conflicting theories, particularly between Stoics and Epicurus‘ followers). The affinities regard the work (‘exercise’ or <askesis>) that the subject (the would-be philosopher) needs to conduct on himself. It is a work to advance, to improve, to free oneself from the grips of emotions and of ill judgements.
In Marvin Gaye‘s 1973 song “Let’s get it on” (see the SONGS section of this site) he sings <We’re all sensitive people / With so much to give>. Well, in order to sustain our sensitivity (if any) we need an anthropological training (<askesis>). And, in order ‘to give’, we need to accomplish some sort of self-realization.
The laborious duty being carried out on oneself is the very core of the <CARE OF SELF> philosophy. In fact, this expression has nothing to do with beauty parlors, fitness centers or other amenities. Here, it simply refers to the work on oneself, on one’s soul, on one’s mood, attitude, behaviour, feelings and emotions. Our History goes back to Ancient Greece and Imperial Rome, where an entire culture stemmed from the attention towards one’s lifestyle, way of thinking, way of speaking.
The Neapolitan Baroque painter and poet Salvator Rosa (1615 – 1673) added, on his self-portrait (c. 1645, National Gallery in London), a motto attributed to Pythagoras. The motto goes “aut tace aut loquere meliora silentio“. It means “keep silent or say something better than silence“. It is the perfect <apophthegma> (aphorism, adage, precept) for many Stoics and other philosophers alike.
Humanism shared with <cura sui> (Latin for <CARE OF SELF>) a genuine attention towards the human beings. Yet, in Renaissance times the spiritual and ascetic aspects were treated differently as compared to Ancient Greece and Roman Empire times.
Romanticism too presents some characters tracing back to the mentality and disposition we are referring to in this website. In fact, the Romantic era movement placed a great emphasis on the individual and on nature. Nonetheless, dissimilarities and divergences are abundant.
After all, it is inevitable that all philosophical approaches (if not merely metaphysical and theoretical) must promote some kind of mindsets and lifestyles. At least, they should encourage attentions to the development of the individual, to his spiritual growth, to his psychological maturation.