What Epictetus writes about stoicism reminds me of Hindu and Buddhist religions and I believe shares a lot of similarities. Among those similarities, I find stoicism as a great pathway to peace, but an inefficient rout to happiness. The Hindus also have a pathway to detachment they classified these as chakras. This pathway to detachment outlined in stoicism I believe to be an effective path only if the desired outcome is to merely not feel pain. If however, one desires to elicit actual change in his life, this direction is very detrimental in his progression.
There was a time in my life when I might have sided with stoicism. It evaluates certain truths I might have found appealing. By keeping oneself aloof of emotional attachment, one does not incur a lot of pain. Attachment is the source of all pain. Conversely it is the source of joy as well. Stoicism avoids the extremes of emotion. While to some it may be appealing to avoid deep pain, I don’t feel that it is worth the cost of sacrificing deep happiness.
I am however forced to see the truth of Stoicism for it does have many good qualities. I am particularly fond of the quote “It is not events that disturb people, it is their judgements concerning them.” Epictetus also draws a distinction between sympathy and empathy advising us to avoid sympathy lest we adopt the same feelings of those around us, but use empathy to help the distraught find peace. Another great truth is “If you are ever tempted to look for outside approval, realize that you have compromised your integrity.” Gleaned from the last few chapters, I think it wise to incorporate the notion that frivolously bouncing between occupations as childish and not conducive to success. Rather, one should set his mind to do something and accomplish this goal without shrinking at failure or mockery. Amidst these insights, however, looms the daunting aspect that one has no control over his life. This is a notion I cannot accept.
I must believe that...