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Values of the Solitary 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 Solitary 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. Close relationships, including being part of a family, are bad.

    But our relationships are not completely up to us. They are not in our power. They are not bad.

  2. Solitude and solitary activities are good. Lack of solitude and having to do things with others are bad.

    But solitude is not in our power. It is not good.

  3. Sexual experiences with others are bad.

    But our experiences are not in our power. They are not bad.

  4. Pleasure is bad.

    But pleasure is not in our power. It is not bad.

  5. Intimacy, friendship, and confiding in others are bad.

    But intimacy, friendship and confidences are not in our power. They are not bad.

  6. Praise and criticism are bad.

    But praise and criticism are not in our power. They are not bad.

  7. The expression of emotion and feeling is bad.

    Our emotions and feelings are in our power. The suppression of emotions and feelings which are not passions is inappropriate and 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 Schizoid 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 Solitary 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