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Values of the Leisurely 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 Leisurely 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. Having to fulfill routine social and occupational tasks is bad. Being free to do as one pleases is good. Compulsory activity is bad.

    But leisure is not in our power. It is not good. Tasks are not in our power. They are not bad. External freedom is not in our power. It is not good.

  2. Being misunderstood and unappreciated by others is bad .

    But being misunderstood and unappreciated are not in our power. They are not bad.

  3. Resisting others is good. Compliance is bad. External demands are bad

    But resisting others is not in our power. It is not good. Complying with others is not in our power. It is not bad. Demands made upon us are not in our power. They are not bad.

  4. Figures of authority and their behavior are bad.

    But figures of authority and their behaviors are not in our power. They are not evil.

  5. That others are apparently more fortunate is bad.

    But the fortunes of others are not in our power. They are not bad.

  6. Others, especially those in authority, are alternately good or bad.

    But those in authority are not in our power. They are not evil.

  7. Personal misfortunes are bad.

    But personal misfortunes are not in our power. They are not 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 Passive-Aggressive 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 Leisurely 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