Is pleasure an absolute indifferent or a preferred indifferent?

Sometimes there’s a debate over whether pleasure is a preferred or merely an absolute indifferent.

I think pleasure is a preferred indifferent, largely because pleasure is important for your body to function well and perform well in order to help you carry out virtue.  It’s important to please oneself and take pleasure in others’ pleasure.

If pleasure was an absolute indifferent, you could biologically function completely fine without it.  Your body would be in perfect health.  But living a life in pain or lack of pleasures takes it toll on anyone’s health.

It’s really important to find pleasure in a joke and laugh because this helps increase endorphins and endorphins are necessary for bodily health.  Not only that but they do affect the brain, which will affect the mind.

Sure, a Stoic will learn with practice to live without preferred indifferents but even though they may still live a life of eudaimonia, the lack of health, pleasure, wealth, reputation will inevitably take toll on their existence and they’ll slowly waste away.

Preferred indifferents are for our bodily existence.  Virtue is for our eudaimonic existence.  It’s true that virtue is the only good but it will be difficult to practice virtue without taking care of our bodily needs.  It’s not that bodily needs are good, they’re just a requisite means to the end of pursuing virtue, which is the ultimate importance for living a eudamonic life.

So enjoy pleasure.  You should enjoy it. Just don’t let it steal virtue away from you.

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Stoicism, Anxiety, and Depression

I’ve always been an anxious fellow.  I’ve always had a lot of phobias.  I mostly was afraid of people though (social anxiety disorder).  I was always worried what they would think.  When I talked to people, it was difficult for me to string sentences together because I was so worried that my speech and facial gestures would be judged harshly.  As I aged these fears began to go away.  But they never went completely away until I started practicing Stoicism in 2011.

Starting in 2010 I had a lot of anger problems too.  Some of it was because of my right-libertarian political beliefs at the time.  But as I practiced Stoicism my anger and my anxiety subsided.  Premeditatio malorum (more popularly known as negative visualization) really helped alleviate most of my anger and anxiety.

Even though I had mastered my anxiety and anger by 2012, I fell into a depression that caused psychosis.  No amount of Stoicism helped in this respect especially since it was a complete mental breakdown and it happened within a week.  It was just rapid depression turning into a loss of touch with reality.  After hospitalization, I was heavily medicated and I was able to think straight again.  Sometimes I still feel down or lose interest in daily life activities but my Stoicism really helps me adapt to this attitude.  I can easily get myself out of bed with Stoicism.

One of the things I’ve learned is that Stoicism can help me master some of my mental issues but not all of them.  Sometimes Stoicism’s mental therapies just don’t do the trick.  But they do at least help me when things are moderately severe.  Stoicism also helps me with pain.

In 2013 I was hospitalized for spontaneous stomach bleeding.  I lost a lot of blood but even though I did I was Stoically content.  The surgery was really painful because they had to cut through my belly in order to fix my stomach.  The nurses were very impressed with how I was able to cope with my pain.  Stoicism really prepared me for painful things like sharp cuts through the abdomen.

Stoicism can’t fix all your issues.  Don’t believe any one thing can just fix everything unless it’s like nanobots or something out of Star Trek.  Stoicism can’t completely fix you, marijuana can’t cure all cancers, vegan diets can’t cure all diabetes.  Don’t believe that only one thing can fix all things.  But Stoicism really does help a lot when you need something else other than medication or group therapy.

Stoicism is probably the most helpful philosophy I’ve ever had.  I don’t know where I’d be without it.

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