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Re: Anticipations of joy and pleasure

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  • Bertram Rothschild
    ... That s helpful. Thank you. Bert
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 1, 1999
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      Jan Edward Garrett wrote:

      > From: Jan Edward Garrett <jgarrett@...>
      >
      > Bert writes,
      > > Is there anyone in this group who does not enjoy food and
      > chooses it
      > >based on anticipated pleasure? Or wine? Or the multitude of other things
      > we do to
      > >enhance our pleasure? And, perhaps more important, if you do, is it your
      > purpose
      > >to blot out that pleasure and become indifferent to food's taste? Most
      > depressed
      > >people reach the point of indifference to food.
      > >
      > Why would anybody think that he or she should not take pleasure in food and
      > try to substitute for that pleasure mere pleasure in anticipation of the
      > food? The undertaking seems internally contradictory to me. And there is
      > absolutely no reason for a Stoic to avoid taking *physical* pleasure in food.
      >
      > The classical Stoa distinguished physical pleasure (hedone) from the pathos
      > (also called hedone). Physical pleasure was generally in accord with our
      > nature, but was also classified as an indifferent not because it would not
      > occasionally be "selected" but because it was distinct from virtue and the
      > affective states of the wise person.
      >
      > Now the pathos hedone might usefully be translated by a word different from
      > "pleasure," e.g., as "laetitia" (Cicero's Latin, which is distinct from
      > "voluptas") or as "delight" (some translators). The pathos arises from the
      > judgment that the object of pleasure is a good that I just *must* have; but
      > for the Stoa this involves an error since the only absolute good is virtue
      > and what is associated directly with it; it also involves an error because
      > the object of pleasure is not entirely up to us.
      >
      > Thus Stoics [who are making progress] can take pleasure in eating, and maybe
      > even a little pleasure in anticipation of the pleasure of eating, without
      > making such a big deal of the pleasure that it becomes for them an essential
      > feature of the goodness of their lives.
      >
      > If anybody thinks we are being unduly ascetic for insisting on the avoidance
      > of the pathos hedone, consider this: if you regard a physical pleasure as
      > something you *must* have, how are you going to avoid lusting for it (even
      > when it's occurrence is beyond your control, as it must occasionally be,
      > since it depends upon the nonmental aspects of our selves and upon things
      > external to us)? How are you going to avoid fearing its loss or being
      > distressed when in fact you are deprived of it?
      >
      > The anticipation of joy of which I was speaking, Bert, pertained to the
      > dichotomy between the (non-sage) person making progress and the sage, a
      > dichotomy on which most of the major summaries of classical Stoic thought
      > insist. I offered this idea as a way of making sense out of how one might
      > begin to bridge the gap this dichotomy threatens to open up.
      >
      > The anticipation of *physical* pleasure is possible for non-sages as well as
      > sages; the chief difference being, I think, that the non-sage would be more
      > likely to err by interpreting the pleasure anticipated as a genuine good,
      > and not merely generally in accord with our natures. The anticipation of
      > delight (hedone as a pathos) coupled
      > with the lustful looking forward to it would be characteristic of the
      > non-sage only. But a sage can have an impression of something external as
      > apparently good without assenting to that impression, that is, to the
      > proposition that the object in question is really good.
      > http://www.wku.edu/~garreje/stoa.htm
      > http://www.wku.edu/~garreje/poptindx.htm
      >

      That's helpful. Thank you.

      Bert
    • KRS
      Dear Fellow Stoics Jan s comments to Bert s challenge about enjoying food are simply wonderful. I confess that at a gourmet dinner I usually upbraid myself in
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 11, 1999
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        Dear Fellow Stoics

        Jan's comments to Bert's challenge about enjoying food are simply
        wonderful. I confess that at a gourmet dinner I usually upbraid myself in
        silence for stooping to mere hedonism--not that I always refuse the
        delicacies, you understand.

        Thank you.

        Kenneth
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