The Passions of the Stoics

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

— From “The Waste Land”, by T. S. Eliot

The Stoics divided the passions into four parts, consisting of a two by two matrix of “good” or “bad” emotions versus whether they occur during the present or while thinking about the future.

  • Delight (or Pleasure): present and good
  • Distress: present and bad
  • Desire (or Appetite) : future and good
  • Dread (or Fear): future and bad

To Stoics all these passions were actually harmful, in the sense that they are irrational and instead should be thoughtfully managed. Instead one should have Three Good Feelings and but not Three Not-as-Good Feelings:

  • Joy (chara) instead of Pleasure
  • Wish (or Hope) (boulesis) instead of Appetite
  • Care (eulabeia) instead of Fear

What about Distress and its Stoic version (which might even be Calm or Ease)? And what of emotions for past memories? They might be  Relief (past and “bad”) and  Regret (past and “good”).

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoic_passions

http://people.wku.edu/jan.garrett/stoipass.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Passions

https://immoderatestoic.com/blog/2013/4/2/stoic-emotionsall-three-of-them

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passions_(philosophy)

Stoic Ethics

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passion:_An_Essay_on_Personality

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