The Stoics Were Right, Partially (Part 1)

In my previous post I mentioned that Epicurean thinking was needed to reach the end of the Journey – the “good life.”  This approach involves food, warmth, and safety provided by one’s family and society, as well as flow experiences through “involvement” and “exposure” activities.  These activities propel the individual from the worries and anxieties of the everyday world to one free of pain.  These activities provide a sense of belonging among one’s family, friends, and community, as well as a sense of self-esteem from the respect and admiration of others.

However, this Epicurean philosophy only leads to the “good life” and not happiness.  Another philosophy, Stoicism, believes that the best approach to happiness is living a life of virtue.  In fact, Stoics believe that only virtue is necessary and sufficient for reaching happiness and that nothing else matters.  The four main virtues mentioned by the Stoics as necessary for happiness are: wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice.

You could say that the Stoics are living the Adventure.  The Adventure is what takes the individual from the “good life” to happiness.  For the Stoics, the end of the Adventure, happiness, is the continuous exercise of the virtues in daily life.  For the Stoics, the Adventure could be viewed as the acquisition of the virtues such that once all the virtues are attained, then happiness is reached.

More to come.

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