The Stoics : On Happiness And Self Control

1076 words - 5 pages

We place an enormous value on our happiness. .For centuries mankind has been on a philosophical quest to find happiness. Arristippus ancient philosopher, and founder of hedonism the school of philosophy, echoed this sentiment when he said "the art of life lies in taking in pleasures as they pass." Arristippus concluded that the ultimate telos or goal for humans is happiness derived from pleasure. pleasure seekers by nature; we actively seek pleasurable experiences. Conversely we run away from the bad and the painful ones.
Notwithstanding happiness has long presented a conflict for the complex human condition. This is because the ideas we have about happiness are inherently ...view middle of the document...

Epictetus said “the more a wants a person the unhappier they will be.”
and we suffer from our inability to accept the things we have no control over. Like the ancient pre-socratic philosophers like parmenides and heraclitus , and later plato ; the stoics reasoned that the logos a divine force that governs the universe, or kathekon
. All is inter-connected, from the smallest atom molecule, to our minds forms part of the logos ;which is essentially pure reason. And as human beings we little fragments of the logos, we are at the mercy of it. In other words we live a fated life. In other words the logos is essentially fate it rules our fortune, and sometimes fate brings about suffering. and because the logos is the divine reason then all things including suffering are the will of the logos and are justifiable. As __________________ once wrote “ “ Because the stoics put their faith in the logos they lived their lives in accordance with the logos and reason. To act in accordance with the logos was to be rational and objective. For this reason the stoics believed that all desires, attachements and emotions such as fear, love, and envy were irrational and showed moral and character weakness, and shows disregard for the logos. Things are the way they are, so it was unwise to try to control what is already decided and perfect. Instead we should focus on changing only the things we can change that is our thinking, attitudes, and actions. To achieve self control was to be close to closer to the logos or to the “divine”, and what they believed was only the way we could fully realize our true nature; putting us on the path to true and lasting happiness. In gathering the insight and wisdom I learned from the stoics I can see why our idea of happiness has somehow failed us. We become depressed and frustrated when things don't go our way! Desperate we engage in a myriad of panaceas for our discontents ;often times they are self-destructive. We read "you can have it all" and "be happy now" books , take happy pills, and other quick fixes. There is an extrordinary market for happiness, and still we have not suceeded in finding it. Our pleasure seeking has not made us any...

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