The heart of stoic philosophy
lies in rationality
. By avoiding the impulses and passions
of the body, the mind leads the way to understanding and to the peace of mind that people seek.
The stoics regarded passions (disturbances of the soul) the same as a physical illness that causes a fever and then goes on. Like a illness, they can and should be prevented. Just as medicine treats the body, philosophy treats the mind and soul.
Spinoza was influenced by stoic thought and showed
clearly what the passions are in his writing:
I assign the term 'bondage' to man's lack of power to control and check
the emotions. For a man at the mercy of his emotions is not his own
master but subject to fortune, in whose power he is so often compelled,
although he sees the better course, to pursue the worst.
--Spinoza, Ethics, Part 4 (Emotions), Opening lines.
Stoic belief was that every desire that was not morally good, could become dangerous if taken to the extremes. One example of this is the desire for money from the idea that wealth is good. This can lead to the excessive pleasure from acquiring money which is also known as greed. Living being driven by this passion leads to avarice. With the knowledge that we have no control over those things around us, the loss of the wealth can be devastating to an individual.
It is philosophy that can cure our minds of mental and spiritual
To seek the impossible is madness, but the foolish will always try.
Today I have removed myself from my problems, or rather have gotten rid of my problems; for they weren't outside of me, but inside and especially in the judgments of my mind.
are one of the forms that our passions take. With them, look at what the desire is, and recognize the craving. It is ourselves that we fool with them, and it is our fantasies that make us a fool. Marcus Aurelius had the following passage to calm the mind
and erase the fantasies - "It is in my power not to allow evil into my soul; to keep out any desire or disturbance, since by looking I can see into the nature of all things and use each according to its worth."