(urth) Chinese Curses And Happiness

brunians at brunians.org brunians at brunians.org
Fri Apr 13 18:02:38 PDT 2007

> It depends, I guess. The good life that Stoics (and the ancients in
> general) were after isn't exactly equivalent to our concept of "happiness",
> but that's probably about the closest fit you're going to get. For a Stoic
> it's ok to be happy,

As long as you are happy about the right things, that is, because the
things under your control (will, desire, aversion, movement towards and
away from an object) conform to virtue, that you do not desire what does
not belong to you.

If you are happy because you are having pleasant appearances (phantasmata,
as they are called: wealth, health a pleasant living situation, a good
job), you are not truly happy, because the things upon which your
happiness depends are subject to others (they are not the things under
your control, as described above).

>                      just don't let yourself get carried away with it.

Not possible, as long as (again) you are happy in the right way.

I'm still learning this stuff. It is just recently, for instance, that I
begin to understand what an 'appearance' is. I am afraid that I am not
explaining it very well. Here is a link to a short file which epitomizes
the Stoic ethic: http://san.beck.org/Epictetus.html. Flavius Arrian, he
author of the 'Anabasis Alexandri' was a student of Epictetus and also
knew shorthand. So we actually have quite a bit of Epictetus' teaching,
although he never wrote anything down himself. At some point, Arrian made
this epitome, with the object that it be bound in a little pocket book
that people could carry around with them.

Incidentally, Epictetus taught in Koine Greek, and is in fact one of our
two major souces for this dialect of Greek, the other being the New
Testament, about that other teacher from around that time who didn't write
anything down.


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