The Pythagoreans bid us in the morning look to the heavens that we may be reminded of those bodies that continually do the same things and in the same manner perform their work, and also be reminded of their purity and nudity. For there is no veil over a star.(Marcus Aurelius – Meditations XI.27)
Marcus Aurelius was a stoic. (I have touched on stoicism before on this blog.)
Lately, I’ve been delving into stoicism a bit more. There is a lot of information out there, like the Daily Stoic Podcast, which has shorter and longer episodes. I love the short ones, up to ten minutes, that show a lot of cleverness in little time.
So what does stoicism have to do with naturism? On first glance: nothing at all. And yet, I’ve been thinking about this over the past few days, and there are points that work, that fit and touch.
One of the stoic ideas is not to worry or get anxious over things in advance. Suppose you want to take a nude hike in a place where there’s not a big risk of “getting caught”. Do you worry about getting caught before going there? It’s not worth the energy to worry about it, even though us humans have been taught / conditioned to do that. Because everyone else does it.
This is what stops many people from doing things. The “What if” monster, that looms over our thoughts and actions.
Yes, you want to go on that hike. Yes, there might be people who see you. Yes, there are people who get ‘upset’ or who are ‘offended’ by nudity. Be ready for a comment, have an answer ready. Or, if you’re scared that you’ll be photographed in the nude while you don’t want that, don’t go and feel good about that. And then, just let it go. Don’t beat yourself up about the fact that maybe nothing might have happened, because then you roll back into the “What if” trap again. Decide, accept and move on.
Another stoic idea, from Seneca this time, is to look at clothes for their real purpose. (I mentioned this in the first post that I already referenced.)
This doesn’t mean Seneca was going around naked all the time, but it shows that there is more to the idea than ‘we naturists’ attribute to it. Wearing clothes for their real purpose is the smart way.
For instance when it’s cold. Or when it’s dangerous to be naked (e.g. risking splinters, burns or other dangerous situations), clothes, as in ‘coverings’, make sense.
Stoicism, for me, points out a lot of idiocy in the real world. Many people think that stoics never have any fun, that they lack emotion. They accept that things come to an end and (try to) live accordingly.
Maybe this quote from Seneca says it all in the best way:
As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.Seneca