Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Today's Daily Stoic: A Little Push Back

 I am trying to be more Stoic. To live as if fixing my forward path is the only one that is possible, but I also found this from the NY Times to be helpful. The Stoics of the past gained pleasure in the pursuit of stillness. Today that stillness is almost impossible. But today's Time Opinion  reminds us that there is more than living and learning - the article is titled We Need Pleasure to Survive.

And so today, I am quoting from that article. It is a bit better today than The Daily Stoic's The Only Prize. Here is a snippet of the Times Article:

After sitting with all these health warnings, it seems to me that the guidance around all sorts of things feels a bit draconian.

Not because I question the science, or the value of knowing the potential risks. Not because I think it’s propaganda for Big Boredom. But because if you’re a certain kind of person you take these warnings to heart, and it can be hard not to feel obligated to incorporate them into your routine. And because what seems less discussed is the role — maybe even the necessity — that having some simple pleasures plays in our lives.


While I’m certainly not suggesting that we all start binge drinking daily, eating hot dogs at every meal and breathing deeply over gas ranges, I do wonder what’s lost if we don’t let go of our superegos from time to time in pursuit of perfect health and potential longevity.

I decided to get in touch with academics who study pleasure and happiness to see what their research indicates. They didn’t mince words. “We need pleasure to survive,” said Morten Kringelbach, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Oxford who’s also the director of the Center for Eudaimonia and Human Flourishing. Kringelbach’s research over the past few decades, he said, has been in identifying the “machinery of the brain that makes you want something.”

For me, much of that pleasure and variety comes from travel. It is constantly a new experience (which the article contends is critical). One visit might be to see friends, one trip might be to see nature, one trip might be to see architecture, one trip might just be to lay on a beach with my honey, but the point is no trip is exactly the same as any other.

Sunset in St. Kitts


  1. I love travel to but my top 3 pleasures I can do at home: monthly facials, listening to country music, and eating dark chocolate.

  2. And none of those things prevent you from an ethical life. In fact the more you are fortified by your pleasures (in moderation) the more you can live your best life.


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