William Irvine on Fame and Fortune

“In particular, we should use reason to convince ourselves that things such as fame and fortune aren’t worth having—not, at any rate, if what we seek is tranquility—and therefore aren’t worth pursuing. Likewise, we should use our reasoning ability to convince ourselves that even though certain activities are pleasurable, engaging in those activities will disrupt our tranquility, and the tranquility lost will outweigh the pleasure gained.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (p. 227). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

William Shakespeare

” … for pleasure and revenge
Have ears more deaf than adders to the voice
Of any true decision.”

~ William Shakespeare

Robert Burns on Pleasures

“But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flower, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow fall in the river,
A moment white — then melts forever.”

~ Robert Burns

Diogenes on Pleasure

Pleasure, he cautions, “hatches no single plot but all kinds of plots, and aims to undo men through sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, with food too, and drink and carnal lust, tempting the waking and the sleeping alike.”

From: A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine


Seneca on Endurance

“More generally , says Seneca , if we coddle ourselves , if we allow ourselves to be corrupted by pleasure , nothing will seem bearable to us , and the reason things will seem unbearable is not because they are hard but because we are soft .”

(From “A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy” by William Irvine.)

Seneca on Endurance

“We ought to know that what makes us struggle is the fault, not of our locations, but of ourselves: we are weak when anything has to be endured, and unable to bear toil or pleasure or ourselves or anything for any length of time.”

~ Seneca