35665An Argument for the Discipline of Desire
- Feb 17, 2014Part of Grant's "Core Stoicism"
Th 1) Everyone wants happiness.
Th 2) If you want happiness, it would be irrational
to accept incomplete or imperfect happiness
if you could get complete [continual, uninterrupted]
2*) Complete happiness is possible.
Th 3) All human unhappiness is caused by having
a desire or emotional commitment [I will henceforth
say "desire" for simplicity] to some outcome,
and then that outcome does not result.
4) Ergo, if you desire something which is out
of your control, you will be subject to possible
unhappiness. If you desire many things out
of your control, the possibility of complete happiness
5) By 4, 2*, and Th2, desiring things out of your
control is irrational [if it is possible to control your
Th 6) The only things in our control are our
beliefs and will, and anything entailed by our
beliefs and will.
Th 7) Desires are caused by beliefs (judgments)
about good and evil. [You desire what you judge
to be good, and desire to avoid what you judge to
8) Ergo, Desires are in our control.
9) By 5 and 8, desiring things out of our control
Th 10) The only thing actually good is virtue, the
only thing actually evil is vice.
11) Ergo, since virtue and vice are types of acts
of will, they are in our control.
12) Ergo, things that are not in our control are
never good or evil.
13) [cf 9, above] Desiring things out of our control is
irrational, since it involves false judgment.
14) Ergo, if we value only virtue, we will both judge truly
and be immune to all unhappiness.