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35671Re: [stoics] RE: Thoughts and Reactions

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  • Steve Marquis
    Feb 20, 2014
      A friend of mine put this succinctly years ago:
      The difference between reality (R) and the image in your mind of what you wanted or what you think reality is (I) leads to anxiety (A) in direct proportion.  In more Stoic terms:
      R-I=P where P is pathos.
      Since what is real by definition is also true any belief (ie, image) that is different from reality at all is deviating from truth and therefore false.  And that gets us to a very Stoic conclusion:
      Consistent or sporadic assent to false impressions results in pathos (what in Buddhism one might call ‘suffering’).
      There is nothing at all we can do about reality experienced right in this moment.  That is completely out of our control; the causes of what we are experiencing right now already occurred.  However what image we hold in our minds is in our control.  So it seems a no-brainer that we adjust the image to match reality (ie, adjusting our response) rather than demand that reality match our image.
      We can restate this in a more positive way:
      Serenity occurs when R = I;
      Consistent assent to true impressions results in eudaimonia.
      Live well,
      From: Richard <pmsrxw@...>
      To: Stoics <stoics@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thursday, February 20, 2014 2:15 PM
      Subject: Re: [stoics] RE: Thoughts and Reactions


      «Bad things don't happen to us, just as good things don't happen to us. Things happen. We respond.»

      Indeed - recall:

      "There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so."
      - William Shakespeare

      Which seems to be somewhat related to:

      ""It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters."
      - Epictetus

      Meaning - we humans get to decide "good and bad".  This idea even goes back to the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" in the Bible narrative.
      Regards, Richard
      Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems
      ~ Epictetus


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