The Stoic Virtues (Art of Living): Temperance

Not to be confused with the temperance movement against the consumption of alcohol. To Stoics, temperance is moderation, or self-discipline. There must be a balance, to know what to choose, what to avoid, and what things to not do at all. We are to do the right number of things in the right way, avoiding excess through sheer willpower.

Temperance movement

If someone is provoking you to fall into vice, inciting violence, fear, hatred and so on, one is to respond thoughtfully and calculatedly instead of being reactionary and responding with one’s emotions.

Nassim Taleb defines Stoicism as:

“The domestication of your emotions, not the elimination of your emotions.”

A great way to practice this virtue is journaling. The Stoics were big on journaling, the Meditations wasn’t intended to be a book, it was the private thoughts of the Emperor of Rome.

Epictetus, who was a former slave says:

“Don’t seek for everything to happen as you wish it would, but rather wish that everything happens as it actually will—then your life will flow well.”

This of course, overlaps with courage. The first thing in life for a Stoic is to separate the things which are ‘up to us’ and things that are ‘not up to us.’ In Stoicism, this is known as the Dichotomy of Control. We are simply to accept things outside our control for what they are, focusing on what we can control, and how we respond to these things.

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The Four Stoic Virtues | Stoicism as The Art of Living

This video focuses on the four stoic virtues: courage, justice, temperance, and wisdom. Stoicism is a philosophy most popularly associated with Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius.

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