Tag Archives: Preferred indifferents

Stoic Serenity 3.3.2: Human Nature

Yesterday we read this:

All things in nature flourish after their own fashion. Different things need different circumstances and conditions in order to flourish. The specific ways in which something grows and behaves constitute its “nature”. This being so, it is usually fairly easy to see whether anything is appropriate or inappropriate for something:

— It’s appropriate to put the cat out for the night, but inappropriate to put the baby out for the night.
— The substances we use to “feed” plants are not appropriate for feeding to animals or humans.
— Polar bears will not survive in the tropics, and elephants will manage poorly on mountain ledges.

Like everything else in the natural world, human beings have been constituted by universal nature to have their own specific and particular nature.61

(Seddon, Stoic Serenity p.58)

So when we’re talking about “human nature,” we’re essentially talking about the concept of something that “came about” as a result of the natural order of the Universe, which requires us to adhere to it in order to fully flourish.

Preferred Indifferents

Based on this, we’re beginning to see how some of the indifferents might be pretty useful to have. Virtue (self-restraint, justice, courage, wisdom) might be the only thing that’s intrinsically good, no matter the context. Yes, theoretically I can emerge from an apocalypse with all my Virtue still with me. But if we’re going to go about our daily lives, well, I’m not going to get very far if I don’t pursue food in order to live another day. So you can see that there is a connection between human nature and the preferred indifferentsRead more of this post

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