Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [stoics] Re: How does one practice the discipline of desire?

Expand Messages
  • Steve Stoker
    Daryl, It may take effort to gain independence from comparison of oneself to others--as in choices of what to pursue, what s important. My choice of one thing
    Message 1 of 76 , Sep 7, 2013
      It may take effort to gain independence from comparison of oneself to others--as in choices of what to pursue, what's important. My choice of
      one thing over another does not have to mean that I condemn or look down on those who have made choices different from mine.
      Judge not. Difficult to reach that point. But I have learned that ALL the judgments I make of others affect ME and not them. So I look at that
      tendency to judge and when I see it, I have a quick response: What am I basing judgment on other than my own subjective valuation??? Now,
      of course, for the sake of society/culture I need to judge certain behaviors as wrong. But in choices which are not harmful to society, I don't give
      myself the right to compare myself to others regarding actions and values. It is a terrible burden to judge because I"M left with the judgment and
      as I said above the judgment does not affect the person/situation I'm judging.
      And once we start comparing, there is no end to it. I can always come out on the top or bottom, if we think in those terms. So I just want to do
      away with the whole judgmental matrix. Not easy. But necessary for a relatively pleasant life, my opinion. 
      And I'm not looking for glory or the opposite. I'm looking for the middle road. Aristotle's golden mean suits me just fine. There has been discussion
      here about the differences between Aristotle and Stoa. My natural inclination is more with Aristotle. Avoid the extremes.

      From: directdem <daryldavis00@...>
      To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Saturday, September 7, 2013 2:12 PM
      Subject: [stoics] Re: How does one practice the discipline of desire?

      Hey Steve,

      I of course have a desire here and there as well -- though most of mine are now very much tamed, in part because poor health has forced me to lower my sights quite a bit. But I've learned along the way that desire always exposes a need for "glory" of some kind.

      It may not be the glory of driving a Maserati or of eating caviar, thus displaying one's success and good taste. Instead it may be the "lesser" and perhaps "deeper" glory of displaying one's sensibility and discipline by consciously buying a sensible car and eating tuna fish sandwiches. Both involve desire for the admiration of others, just for different values and different possessions.

      Desire is simply undesirable. I need a place to live, clothes and food. But I have little desire for anything fancier than what addresses the need for these things in the first place. It was mildly "painful" to give up ice cream; but due to my health it was more painful not to do so. In that sense I suppose I've been "lucky." Discipline has been forced upon me.

      As far as not judging others for their choices, I disagree. Glory comes at the expense of others, as does love quite often. One expresses an intense valuation of one thing in part by looking down upon or turning one's back upon another. Doesn't a girlfriend or wife usually expect a man to spurn perfectly friendly, attractive women as proof of his loyalty to her?

      When you are the target of this snubbing behavior, judgment becomes appropriate and integral to maintaining the vitality of one's own virtue and values. It isn't that you care what they think or even need to defend your own values; it's just that their act of devaluing "you and yours" betrays their greater need for shameful "glory." And this ought to be noted with indifference.



      --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, Steve Stoker <otnac6@...> wrote:
      > There's no need for a mechanistic self dialog. Abstain. Face loss. Ignore Negative Emotion. Transcend Desire.
      > Daryl, yes, agree. Mechanistic self dialog would be really time consuming and no need for it
      > if one has a basic, built-in frame of moral/ethical reference. I may see an object , or person, or situation, or circumstance that I really desire! Yes, that
      > happens. But experience has taught me to wait, wait, wait before trying to obtain it. Experience has also taught
      > me that if I do wait, the desire diminishes and disappears pretty quickly. So for me the object is not to be
      > free from desire, but rather to live with desire internally and pick and choose what I might really want before
      > putting time, energy, thought, money into acquiring it....
      > ....things such as food, clothing, housing, etc., things that to some extent are necessary for survival I do desire,
      > but that desire is of a different nature from other things. And I can drive a Versa rather than a Maserati, although both are automobiles. I can have eggs rather than Beluga caviar, I can have....well, this could go on
      > and on, you get the picture...
      > .....hey, just one guy's opinion, and this guy doesn't want to pass judgment on those who want Beluga and want
      > to drive Maserati's....there's room on this planet for all and my choices aren't right or wrong, on a
      > global scale, they're just my
      > choices.
      > Best,
      > Steve
      > ________________________________
      > From: directdem <daryldavis00@...>
      > To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Friday, September 6, 2013 1:17 PM
      > Subject: [stoics] Re: How does one practice the discipline of desire?
      > Abstaining from pursuing a desire's satisfaction is the only proper "action of discipline." Desire should always be detached from -- tested for the depth of its hold upon us. No harm is done in this; and not knowing its true hold or the extent of its depth constitutes a failure of assent.
      > Abstention will reduce desire even as it measures it. But one must also refrain from anticipation of future satisfaction -- from promising oneself reward for prolonged abstention -- and of course one must avoid relenting abortively from fully attempting to extinguish it. Withholding of a desire's satisfaction converts the object of the desire to a "preferred indifferent." And all things ought to be made so.
      > One cannot measure oneself against desire unless first focusing upon, or "assenting" to it. Wise men need not maintain a vigil against desire. Wise men know themselves well. They may have strong desires -- but they are well aware they're unduly strong. There's no need for a mechanistic self dialogue. Abstain. Face loss. Ignore Negative Emotion. Transcend Desire.
      > Daryl
      > P.S. Thanks for the reply, Steve.
      > --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, Dave Kelly <ptypes@> wrote:
      > >
      > > To practice the discipline of desire, the first thing one might do is
      > > to begin a dialogue with oneself or "inner discourse". But isn't that
      > > the discipline of assent? Yes, it is; but the discipline of assent is
      > > the "method" (Hadot) of the other two disciplines.
      > >
      > > Keith described how this might work:
      > >
      > > http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/stoic_practice/conversations/topics/129
      > >
      > > Best wishes,
      > > Dave
      > >
      > >

    • ptypes
      The practice of the discipline of desire entails the gradual renunciation of all externals. Epictetus belief in the value of renunciation is exhibited in a
      Message 76 of 76 , Oct 31, 2013

        The practice of the discipline of desire entails the gradual renunciation of all externals.


        Epictetus' belief in the value of renunciation is exhibited in a part of Fragment 10, translated by Keith:


        Furthermore, this Epictetus, as we have heard from the same Favorinus, was in the habit of saying that there are two vices far more grave and vile than any other – these being want of endurance and want of self-control, when we fail to endure and bear the vexations we have to bear, and when we do not forbear those pleasures and other things that we ought to forbear. And so, he said, if someone could control themselves and keep watch over themselves by taking to heart and living by these two words, they would for the most part no longer go wrong, but enjoy complete tranquillity. And these two words he used to say were ‘anechou’ [bear, sustain] and ‘apechou’ [forbear, abstain].  

        Best wishes,

        ---In stoics@yahoogroups.com, <ptypes@...> wrote:

        Marcus Aurelius associates virtue with the three disciplines in an
        interesting and useful way: he _names_ each of them by a specific

        He calls the discipline of assent the virtue of Truth. The discipline
        of desire he calls the virtue of Temperance. And the discipline of
        action he calls the virtue of Justice.

        Marcus (9.1.3-4) says to himself about the discipline of desire, or Temperance:

        3] And indeed he who pursues pleasure [commits] an impiety. For of
        necessity such a man must often find fault with the universal nature,
        alleging that it assigns things to the bad and the good contrary to
        their deserts, because frequently the bad are in the enjoyment of
        pleasure and possess the things which procure pleasure, but the good
        have pain for their share and the things which cause pain.

        [4] And further, he who is afraid of pain will sometimes also be
        afraid of some of the things which will happen in the world, and even
        this is impiety. And he who pursues pleasure will not abstain from
        injustice, and this is plainly impiety. Now with respect to the things
        towards which the universal nature is equally affected- for it would
        not have made both, unless it was equally affected towards both-
        towards these they who wish to follow nature should be of the same
        mind with it, and equally affected. With respect to pain, then, and
        pleasure, or death and life, or honour and dishonour, which the
        universal nature employs equally, whoever is not equally affected is
        manifestly acting impiously.(trans. (with possible omissions by me)
        George Long.

        Best wishes,

        On Tue, Oct 22, 2013 at 12:40 PM, Dave Kelly <ptypes@...> wrote:
        > On Mon, Oct 21, 2013 at 7:04 PM, Richard <pmsrxw@...> wrote:
        >> What about Desiring Virtue? How does one discipline THAT desire? What if one desires Courage? How does the disciline of Desire apply?
        > A discipline of virtue might well be based on Chapter 10 of Epictetus'
        > _Handbook_.
        > 10. On every occasion when something happens to you, remember to turn
        > to yourself to see what capacity you have for dealing with it. If you
        > are attracted to a beautiful boy or woman, you will find that
        > self-control is the capacity to use for that. If hardship befalls you,
        > you will find endurance; if abuse, you will find patience. Make this
        > your habit and you will not be carried away by impressions (trans
        > Keith Seddon).
        >> Regards, Richard
        > Best wishes,
        > Dave
        > --
        > Subject everything to judgment.
        > Accept everything that happens.
        > Do everything for the common good.

        Subject everything to judgment.
        Accept everything that happens.
        Do everything for the common good.
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.