Glossary: Prohairesis, rational choice

At DGC I am all about waking up. Realizing that I have a choice in life.  How to live life. Who I am in life.  How I react to life events.  How I interact with the world.  When you are in the dream world you give up that choice to the story of the dream.  You give up AGENCY.  Turns out in realizing I had a choice, I was affirming a core tenet of Stoic philosophy: Prohairesis.

According to Epictetus, nothing is properly considered either good, or bad, aside from those things that are within our own power to control, and the only thing fully in our power to control is our own volition (prohairesis) which exercises the faculty of choice that we use to judge our impressions. For example, if a person says something critical to us, that is not bad; or, if something complimentary is said, that is not good, because such things are externals and not in our power to control. By exerting the power of choice, it is possible to maintain equanimity in the face of either criticism and praise, which is a moral good. On the other hand, when people become troubled by criticism, or elated by praise, that is a moral evil because they have misjudged impressions by thinking that things not in their power (such as criticism or praise) have value, and by doing that they place a measure of control of their own life in the hands of others.

So Who are You?  What Do I have that the world can not take away?  What super power is always in my power?  My own reasoned choice.  I always have a choice.  I may not decide to exercise it.  But that too is a choice.

I always have a choice.


Also published on Medium.

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