Friday, January 3, 2014

Quote of the Day

When I read the works of the Stoics, I encountered individuals who were cheerful and optimistic about life (even though they made it a point to spend time thinking about all the bad things that could happen to them) and who were fully capable of enjoying life’s pleasures (while at the same time being careful not to be enslaved by those pleasures). I also encountered, much to my surprise, individuals who valued joy; indeed, according to Seneca, what Stoics seek to discover “is how the mind may always pursue a steady and favourable course, may be well-disposed towards itself, and may view its conditions with joy.”

He also asserts that someone who practices Stoic principles “must, whether he wills or not, necessarily be attended by constant cheerfulness and a joy that is deep and issues from deep within, since he finds delight in his own resources, and desires no joys greater than his inner joys.” Along similar lines, the Stoic philosopher Musonius Rufus tells us that if we live in accordance with Stoic principles, “a cheerful disposition and secure joy” will automatically follow.

- Irvine, William B., A Guide to the Good Life:The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

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