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”).
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement.
— From Burnt Norton by T. S. Eliot
Time is a child playing dice.
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
— From “The Hollow Men” by T. S. Eliot