Study leads East LA College student to stoicism

HIS PHILOSOPHY—East Los Angeles College student Eric Barrios, right, speaks to professor Tim Snead and the Philosophy Club members about merits of stoicism in preparation of the student symposium. CN/Jazmin Farias


By Dorian Rangel


Eric Barrios is a philosophy major and a man ruled by logic looking for answers to questions that we all ask ourselves.

He describes himself as a stoic, which is someone who follows the philosophical teachings of Plato. Barrios applies these teachings to his daily life and he says that stoics believe you should only have friends who express reason and logic, which is how he chooses his friends.

Stoics do not consume anything that alters their mind, which is why he has chosen to stay away from alcohol and drugs. Barrios enjoys helping people with philosophical matters. He describes himself as a very determined and focused person as well as a man of his word.

“Truth is the most important aspect of philosophy and that’s what I want in life,” Barrios said.

A negative personality trait he pointed out was that he finds himself dry. “I am using dry for the lack of a better term, but what I mean by that is, I am very theoretical. I use reason more so than I do emotion,” Barrios said.

“I like to calculate things and look at them logically before I do them. I have to be more emotional and feel more empathy towards others. That’s what I lack,” Barrios said.

Despite  seeing this as a negative trait he said that it has helped him academically, but has hindered his friendships and other relationships, “You could say because of that I have trouble communicating with other people” said Barrios.

Barrios, was born in Los Angeles, on July 20, 1987, the same date as Alexander the Great’s birth. He attended Theodore Roosevelt High School where he graduated  in 2005 and pointed out that Roosevelt was at that time “the second worst school in the nation.”

After he graduated, Barrios decided to forgo college and instead to look for a job but was somewhat unsuccessful in gaining long-term employment.

Barrios love for philosophy began in 2009, after his high school English teacher James Lotter gave him the book “The Dream of Reason” written by Anthony Gottlieb.

After reading the book Barrios began to question what he was doing with his life and
decided he wanted to learn more about philosophy.

He began attending East Los Angeles College in fall 2010, and decided to double major in both astrophysics and philosophy. “Astrophysics and philosophy both try to understand the universe and by combining the two, you get both the abstract and the theoretical creating some sort of balance,” Barrios said.

“I want to be a happy, grateful and rational being” Barrios continued.

He is a member of the philosophy club and he was nominated to be the club’s president. He rejected the offer not wanting to shoulder the responsibility that comes with it.

Barrios plans to transfer to UCLA but is keeping his options open.

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