“The essence of good is a certain kind of reasoned choice; just as the essence of evil is another kind. What about externals, then? They are only the raw material for our reasoned choice, which finds its own good or evil in working with them. How will it find the good? Not by marveling at the material! For if judgments about the material are straight that makes our choices good, but if those judgments are twisted, our choices turn bad.”EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 1.29.1–3
“Eustatheia” is term used to describe this teaching of Epictetus. It means a state of being in which an individual is said to possess “steadiness, stability, and tranquility.” Now every stoic tends to attain this state of Eustatheia in their life. But how do one embody this state in their day-to-day life when there is so much chaos around, when everyday seems like a race to reach somewhere and when you reach there somehow the goal post moves further ahead. Some people feel that solution to it by eliminating all the external influences and running away to quite and solitude. But if everyone does that what will happen to the general order of things?
So, what is the answer of attaining stability in our life. As per Ryan Holiday ‘it’s about filtering the outside world through the straightener of our judgment‘. It’s about changing our perspectives. We can use our reason to justify even the crooked, confusing and overwhelming external events as orderly one or can make the reasonable thing seem as crooked just because of our perspectives.
What is perspective and how does it form?
Perspective is the way ones sees and perceives the world. It is shaped by various life experience, values system, culture and society, current state of mind and various other factors.
When do we need to evaluate?
Now there is nothing wrong in having a perspective. It is wrong when you start mixing it with your reality. There is a common belief around this by the saying “my perspective is my reality” and it is harmful if we are thinking along this line
How to check your perspective?
- Use your imaginations. Keep yourself in the shoes of others and imagine the same situation from other person’s point of view
- Seek opinions. Gain different perspective by asking people for their opinions. Read more books to open the horizon of your thinking
- Reflect on what all you learn and then form your opinions
I believe if we follow these simple steps we can sure be on the path of steadiness, stability, and tranquility.