Stoic News

By Dave Kelly

Monday, July 21, 2003

Stoicism: Epictetus: Freedom in the Walled City of the Mind

"Mental disturbance is caused by wanting and craving what is beyond our power. Bring an end to such wanting and craving, and you bring an end to suffering; you will be happy. (Compare this to Buddhism that teaches that the cause of human suffering is craving or grasping. In Buddhism, to eliminate suffering, one must eliminate craving, desiring.) External attachments cause both pleasure and pain. Virtue or peace is detachment from external attachments, even from attachment to one's own body (the well being of which is not entirely in our control). The harmony of the soul is above the flux of pleasure and pain, as the harmony of nature is above all the opposites found in nature. Stoicism is the dualism of internal stability and external flux. Inside the mind, there can be calm; outside the mind there is constant movement -- coming to be and passing away. Dependence on what comes to be and passes away brings disappointment and pain. Dependence on reason or natural order (which is constant) brings peace and freedom. "


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