By: Kian Mokhtari
Stoic is according to the Oxford Dictionary: "A person who is able to suffer pain or trouble without complaining or showing what they are feeling."
But stoicism is a far cry from pacifism. Stoicism is most subtly witnessed in the very British game of Croquet. The gentle game of knocking a ball through some hoops on the grass is as a matter of fact one of the most vicious games ever invented. The unrecorded toll of psychological damage wrought by players on one another would make the Crimean War look like a tea party.
And strangely enough afternoon tea and scones are often served to the players during the game. Croquet captures and encapsulates the highly charged human instinct for aggression within the principles of 'white torture'.
Human psyche is mercilessly assaulted in the most pleasant surroundings one could ever imagine. A village green in Britain's Cotswolds with smartly dressed, well-spoken locals is hardly anyone's picture of open warfare.
But in little Britain where winning the annual best homemade jam prize at the village green fair can become a bone of contention over many generations, attrition on an unimaginable scale takes on a facet of its own, presented with a most respectable façade of lightheartedly taking part in a not too serious pastime.
Stoicism is therefore not about nonviolence, it is about simmering aggression relieved through infliction of psychological torture over long periods of time. Stoicism is about afflicting your opponent so that their defeat is absolute, unquestionable and final. To win at the stoic battle front information about your opponent and every aspect of his or her state of mind and details of life is vital.
A funny little difference pointed out in the book "The Moon's a Balloon" by the late British actor David Niven most eloquently confirms the point made above through looking at differences between British and American architectural styles. Niven says that the British houses barely have a front yard, however most have ample backyards often fashioned into twee little gardens with high hedges on either side so British neighbors learn as little as possible about each other's habits. While in the US the front yards are immense and not much attention is spared for the backyard.
The less one's opponent knows about your home life the better you are likely to do in a game of Croquet against him; oh yes the game is that vicious. Little wonder then, that on the international scene Britain is continuously busy presenting a united front; a facade of a kind of British society that has never truly existed.
Little Britain has become a multi trillion-dollar tourism industry built on extraordinary fairy tales, flights of fancy and imaginative calculation by authors and scientists. Regardless of the monarch in power, the people of Britain have done little other than contribute to a fragmented national identity whose cracks have been carefully covered over and this effort for a country that has been less than kind on many occasions. Even in the case of King George III, whose weak planning and leadership lost the British Empire a colony we have come to know as the USA, and who suffered from madness for much of his advanced years, was served dutifully by his subjects as a Monarch.
The stoic warfare strategy paid off right up until Tony Blair went and spoilt it all by opting for the decidedly different American political architecture of wide open front gardens without that crucial spinal cord of Britishness; that mighty centre of world operations: the humble but secretive British back garden.
Politics and political ideologies do not make Britain, although the British brand of diplomacy was until recently an unrivaled art. The British take pride in their ranks because of the sheer limits they have set for enduring hardship and pain, all within a struggle to break free of the fiscal confines forced upon their Island by its lack of resources and "splendid" isolation.
The strategy of stoicism is about viewing domestic impediments as advantages in the field of battle. The fight for "the blighty" rages still from a twee village green in Worcestershire or Surrey in Britain, all the way to Sydney, Australia and Vancouver, Canada.
Reactionaries, better known as rebels are mere victims whose bitterness of defeat has rendered blind to all advantages even if they are surrounded with heavenly gifts and temperate geographic location. A stagnated sate of philosophical defeatism begins where patience for the game begins to end.