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April 25, 2012

A Follow-Up: Eudaemonia

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 2:41 pm

Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking intently about ethics, the meaning of being, and eudaemonia (the Ancient Greek concept of “the Good life”) — which is, perhaps, where the ethical life and the personally meaningful life coincide.

I think, somewhat unintentionally, that I’ve come up with a preliminary answer to some of the questions I posed here about whether “emotional stability” is a virtue. I don’t have time to articulate my whole train of thought here. (Nor to define what “emotional stability” means, right now.) There are a lot of branches and this is just one of them. Plus, my headache is back, which means looking at the screen long enough to compose long essays is uncomfortable and makes me mentally foggy.

But for now and in short: I do not believe emotional stability is inherently a virtue. I do think that emotional stability, when used correctly, is one tool that can facilitate the practice of virtue — especially in a (practical or moral) crisis situation. (And simultaneously a tool that, when used poorly, can detract from Good practice. This misuse is similar, I think, to something maymay often describes as “Choosing the Shiny”.)

Therefore, I don’t believe that cultivating emotional stability is worthwhile for it’s own sake. There no ethical difference between being “regulated” and being “disregulated”. In fact, “extreme psychological states” can be fertile places for practice also; they’re simply less comfortable ones than “regulated” states. I do think it’s worthwhile for me to cultivate an understanding of how to access emotional stability. And to incorporate the cultivation of that knowledge into a practice toward Goodness, in order to develop an embodied ability to access it more easily when I choose to. Now, I want to think more about what that work looks like on the ground.

That’s all for now. Gonna go take some ibuprofen. 🙂

ETA: This post brought to you by Really Obvious Things That I Need to Write Down So I’ll Have Them to Read When They Don’t Seem So Obvious. 😉

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