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Ataraxia - Essay Example

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It is a difficult state to attain in modern times, as it is almost impossible to be detached from the material world and gain access to philosophical state of mind. Hellenistic philosophy, also called philosophy of Plato recommended that man should be self-sufficient and self-dependent and should rely only on himself for happiness. It is important to find the right balance of mind, deed and outlook so that happiness is not beyond reach to attain ataraxia, imperturbability, which could also be termed as mere 'peace of mind'.
"Ataraxia is a spiritual balance, the research of physical and psychical harmony so difficult to achieve by human beings. Ataraxia becomes a state of tension able to open our minds and be receptive towards life experiences"
Epicurus gave a totally different meaning to ataraxia. This philosopher had given a lot of thought to death, its imminence and relevance in day-to-day life. He thought that without connection and thought of death, every day life takes a queer shape and hence, death is an inescapable truth and the ultimate aim. It is also a total blackout and hence not painful later, and we should avoid physical pain while being alive. And to live without being bothered by physical pain is the pleasure of life.
"Since death is a total annihilation that cannot be experienced, in our present lives we need only live a simple life and seek always to avoid physical pain. It is pleasure, understood in this negative sense, that is the highest good for Epicurus. Freedom from mental disturbance.


Epictetus stressed on basic good life of humans. According to him the good life itself is based on ataraxia and if one is conscious of it and controls his own life based on high values as a rational human being should do, he would live in complete happiness. He offered extensive arguments on complete and achievable happiness, based on his amazing understanding of life.

"The eudaimonia ('happiness') of those who attain this ideal consists of ataraxia (imperturbability), apatheia (freedom from passion), eupatheiai ('good feelings'), and an awareness of, and capacity to attain, what counts as living as a rational being should. The key to transforming oneself into the Stoic sophos (wise person) is to learn what is 'in one's power', and this is 'the correct use of impressions' (phantasiai), which in outline involves not judging as good or bad anything that appears to one"

He said people have to be motivated and inspired by virtue, act virtuously. According to him, life with right principles is the secret of attaining happiness. Total happiness cannot be achieved without a clear conscience and this cannot come without a guiltless life. Self-satisfaction and the feeling that the individual had taken every decision in life without selfishness, without any personal gain and with total ethical justice is the path that leads to a clear conscience and self-acceptance. He said this is the only way to attain imperturbability.


Diogenes argued from an entirely diverse viewpoint. He said marriages should be made null and void and the family should become communal and the responsibility of community and State. He was so advanced for his time that he demanded patriotic citizenship and the citizenship of the world. Diogenes was considered to be ...Show more


Ataraxia is Greek for 'peace of mind' and serenity. Ataraxia word was used by Pyrrho and Epicurus for relief from worry or unhappiness. It is also tranquillity, almost apathy, freedom from disturbance, pain etc. It means living without a mental burden or preoccupation and the state is akin to life of pleasure and ultimate bliss…
Author : oconnellkacey
Ataraxia essay example
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