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Intro to Philosophy
27 February 2008
Paper #1: On Stoicism
A happy day for a normal person may consist of buying a new house or, in general, acquiring external things they desire. On the otherhand, a happy day for a Stoic would be every day, since they can completely control their happiness, which lies in their volition. A Stoic can be "sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying andyet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy (Epictetus)” for these things only apply to their body, which is external, therefore, uncontrollable. Stoics understand the laws of Nature andlive by them. For example, if someone tries to break their arm, they will not be anguished, for they know it will break—no need to complain about something that is natural or that already happened.
AStoic woman wakes up early in the morning and accidentally hits her foot with the chair—it does not cause anger in her, for it was she who put it there. If you move a chair, it will stay in thatspot until you decide to move it again; therefore, one cannot be mad that the chair was there for us to hit it. These are simple laws of Nature that apply to everything on Earth. For example, if wepush a glass of water over the edge of a table it will fall, the glass will break, and the water will come out of the glass. If we know this, why do we get mad when it happens? Epictetus would say thateverything was made by Zeus according to unchangeable laws of physics—even your body. Hence, even though a Stoic may understand some of the laws, she cannot control them, thus she does not base herhappiness on them or she will be unhappy and disappointed.
As the day continues, she leaves her house at seven thirty, since her work starts at eight. She notices there is a lot of traffic in herdirection. Using her reason, she decides she does not like traffic, therefore, will try to avoid it. Unfortunately, she cannot, so she patiently waits in traffic to get to work. Unlike a non-Stoic,...
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