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Values of the Adventurous Type

 

Why do people do the things they do? What people believe will benefit them, they judge to be good. What they believe will harm them, they judge to be bad. Their beliefs about what is good and bad constrain them to act as they do (Seddon, 2007, pg. 88).

The Stoic doctrine that things not in our power are neither good nor bad can be deduced from a number of other core Stoic beliefs. (see G. Sterling).

  1. Virtue is the only thing genuinely good (see K. Seddon), and vice is the only thing genuinely bad.

  2. The only things in our power are our beliefs and will.

  3. Virtue and vice are types of acts of will.

  4. Ergo, virtue and vice are in our power.

  5. Ergo, things not in our power are neither good nor bad.

The following seem to be the core value beliefs of the Adventurous type. These beliefs give primary value to external things, things not 'in our power' (2005, pg. 219). Therefore, they are false judgments of what is good and bad.


  1. Not being influenced by other people or the norms of society is good.

    The norms of society and other attempts to influence us are not in our power. They are not bad. Avoiding them is not in our power. It is not good.

  2. Engaging in high-risk activities is good.

    But high-risk activities and other activities which excite, are not in our power. They are not good.

  3. Taking advantage of the weaknesses of others is good.

    But the weaknesses of others are not in our power. They are not good.

  4. Being able to persuade people to do what you want them to do is good.

    But persuading people to do what you want them to do is not in our power. It is not good.

  5. Promiscuous sex is good.

    But sexual activity is not in our power. It is not good.

  6. Not settling down, keeping moving, and exploring are good.

    But not settling down, moving around and exploring is not in our power. It is not good.

  7. Earning an independent free-lance living by talents, skills, ingenuity, and wits is good.

    But earning a living is not in our power. Earning an independent free-lance living is not good. Talent, skills, ingenuity, and wits used outside the purview of moral purpose, are not in our power. They are not good

  8. Spending money is good.

    But money is not in our power. Spending money is not good.

  9. Raising hell and mischief-making are good.

    The intentions formed which impel our acts of hell raising and mischief-making are in our power. They are evil.

  10. Being physically bold and tough are good.

    But being physically bold and tough are not in our power. They are not good.

  11. Living without concern for consequences is good.

    Consequences are not in our power. But forming intentions to act without consideration of consequences is bad.


What we judge to be good, we desire; and what we judge to be bad we fear, or desire to avoid. What we desire, we pursue; and what we fear, we try to avoid. The repeated pursuit of objects of desire and avoidance of objects of fear form vices of character, or dispositions to make particular false value-judgments. The habitual false value-judgments listed above constitute the vices that I believe lie at the core of Antisocial personality, or character, disorder.

Making proper use of impressions, which is the core of what could be called Epictetus' self-therapy, consists of detecting our false value-judgments/passions and immediately correcting them. This requires an awareness of what is in our power and what is not in our power (Seddon, 2007, pg. 190).


Needs of the Adventurous Type



John M. Oldham and Lois B. Morris (1995). The New Personality Self-Portrait: Why You Think, Work, Love, and Act the Way You Do. Rev. ed. New York: Bantam.

Keith Seddon (2005). Epictetus' Handbook and the Tablet of Cebes: Guides to Stoic Living. New York: Routledge.

_________ (2007).Stoic Serenity: A Practical Course on Finding Inner Peace. United Kingdom: Lulu.com.

_________ (2009). Socrates on Virtue and its Sufficiency for Happiness. International Stoic Forum.

Grant Sterling (2005). "Core Stoicism." International Stoic Forum.





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Key to the Stoic Philosophy of Epictetus