35657Re: [stoics] The Danger That Comes With Valuing Externals
- Feb 7, 2014
I would like to add that we've got to remember that before we "adopt the profession of a philosopher" we must,in first place, "be able to fulfil that of a man"(EPIC."Diss." II. 9)
That is,what is up to you as a man? Be rational, hateless, not considering nothig of personal advantage,etc.
Looking to happiness whithin oneself is not due to his/her own will only. We must to consider ourselves as part of a whole,not as an singular detatched being.
ValterOn Feb 6, 2014 12:35 AM, <mattmoliterno@...> wrote:
Hey everybody! I just wanted to come on here to share my views on what valuing externals is dangerous.Check it out:When we view something as valuable, we regard it as good, and upon doing so, we look to it for happiness and place our happiness in it. Since this is the case with things we value, we want to possess whatever we find valuable because if we don’t, we’ll get upset. That said I will explain why we must only place value on things in our power. If you value your will, you regard it as good, and thus look to it for happiness and place your happiness within it. And if you restrict that which you regard as valuable only to your will, then you will only look to yourself for happiness, as well as place your happiness within yourself. Since your will is something within your total control, then you can always look to it for happiness whenever you want and thus, maintain your equanimity. This reason being is because your will is something that is entirely under your own command, and is something that can’t be lost nor destroyed or taken away by anyone. And since you’ve assigned value only to your will, and thus, derive happiness from it, then you will never lose anything valuable, nor will you lose your happiness since you’ve contained it in something that can’t be destroyed, lost, or taken away. Your valuables will forever remain with you in this life, and so will your happiness if you continue to only regard your will as valuable. That said it is important to only value the will because this is something that we can control and use to constantly maintain our equanimity, and upon valuing it, we regard it as good, and thus obtain happiness from it. Therefore, we must value the will only.
Having established why we should value the will, and what valuing anything does to us, I will now explain why valuing externals or anything beyond the will is dangerous. When you value something external [as well as anything in general], you regard it as good, and therefore, look to it for happiness and place your happiness within it. Since you deem this external thing valuable, you want to possess it, and ensure that it ensure that it never gets destroyed, lost, or taken away; otherwise you’ll be upset. The danger with valuing externals is that your happiness is inconsistent; it submits to the mercy of the external thing. If you value your phone for instance, then you will rely on for it happiness by constantly wanting it in your possession, that it stays in good condition, and that it never gets lost, destroyed, or taken away. The problem with this is that it’s not entirely within your control whether or not your phone stays in good condition, nor can you control whether or not it gets destroyed, taken away, or lost. You can certainly try your best to keep it in good condition, be careful with it so that it’s much less likely to get destroyed, and also try to put it in a place where you can easily find it as well as not stolen by other people, but there’s still always the chance that your phone can get desecrated, destroyed, taken away, or lost no matter how hard you try. Furthermore, another problem that arises with valuing the phone [as well as any other external] and relying on it for happiness is that you constantly want the damn thing in your possession or near you. If you’re in a situation where you’re unable to use your phone, then you will be upset, because you’re not able to use that which you value and rely on for happiness.
I’ll illustrate what I mean with the following example. Let’s say you were using your phone and then it runs out of battery power and dies. If you rely on your phone for happiness, then you’re going to be upset since you can’t currently use the thing that you rely on for happiness. Certainly you can charge the phone so that it can have enough battery power to work again, but in the time that you’re not using it, you’ll be annoyed, frustrated, maybe even pissed. This is foolish because you’re putting your happiness at the mercy of something beyond your power. Furthermore, what if the phone is charging, but then suddenly, your charger stops working for whatever reason. Maybe water was poured on it, the cable was cut, etc. Now what are you going to do other than lament and curse like there’s no tomorrow? Where’s your happiness now? Unless you assign it to something else [hopefully to something that is within your power], then you’re bound to be forever miserable because your happiness is now gone along with the external thing you valued.
In short, the danger that comes with valuing externals is that our happiness is at the mercy of whether or not these things remain in our possession and in good condition. If in our possession and in good condition, we are happy; if lost and desecrated or destroyed, we are devastated. Therefore we mustn’t value externals because our happiness doesn’t remain grounded within us; it instead will be determined by whether or not the external we value stays in tact. Our happiness, as mentioned earlier, will be inconsistent! It will be like the weather, forever changing, ranging from different extremes and things in between, but by all means will not remain forever constant. Tell me; is the weather always the same everyday? Absolutely not! There are days when it’s hot, other days are cold, another day it could be windy, and a couple of days later it may rain. Such inconsistency and change with the weather! And this is exactly how our happiness becomes when we value externals. One day we’re somewhat happy, the next day not happy at all, the next day still not happy but a little less unhappy, another day totally miserable, another day a mix of extreme mania and extreme depression. What a mess this person is, they’re crazy! It’s like in one instance they’re pretty happy and then in another instance they go absolutely berserk, then a little later they’re miserable and lethargic. Where is there any consistency in this person’s happiness? Nowhere, for it doesn’t exist since they value externals.
So in order to avoid this constant emotional turmoil and instability, we must only attach value to ourselves and our capacity for doing good, that way as long as we continually do good things on a regular basis, we can maintain consistent happiness.
These are my thoughts everyone! What do you guys think? Do you think that valuing externals is dangerous or do you share another perspective?
Share your thoughts in the comments below; I look forward to reading them :)
All The Best,
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