Plato writes in dialogue form in which at least two people are engaging in a conversation, and we are introduced into a discussion which is already taking place in Plato’s Phaedo. There is no definitive arguments, however arguments lead us into further questioning. We are soon introduced to the role of pleasure and pain and what the good life is in this book. In Plato’s Phaedo it is stated that pleasure is often accompanied by pain. Pleasure is short lasting or short lived. It includes things such as food, violence, sex, intellect, beauty, drugs, and accomplishments. Too much pleasure, such as massive consumption of alcohol or massive consumption of chocolate cake, will cause us pain, such as a hangover or a stomachache. Not everything that gives us satisfaction is a good thing. Pleasure is a temporary feeling which is considered as an “in the moment” type of deal. If we were to only experience pleasure without any pain our lives would not be a cohesive whole, but just a series of events punctured by moments of pleasure and temporality. Pleasure affects only one part of the body and is regulated only to certain aspects of our body, therefore pleasure is associated with locality and is short term allowing us to experience which part of our body it is satisfying. For example, drugs are associated with short term intellectual pleasures. Therefore, in order to live a whole or good life (happiness) we must live in totality, which is different from mediocre pleasure.
Similarly, Epictetus is basically an advice giving handbook on how to live life in a practical manner. The stoic philosophy is the Epictetus philosophy (50-130 C.E.) and it focuses on ideas such as: thinking not the way we wish it would be but the way it is, aligning our thinking with nature, no dissatisfaction will result in one living the best possible life, our desires are unlimited/limitless and we do not have the ability to satisfy all of our desires because we have a short lifespan, and not to alter the external world to fit our lifestyle but to align our desires to work with the external world. Determinism is the idea that nature is a patterned organic whole where things are set in a way that they could not have occurred in any other way. If we can accept determinism it will lead us to the ideal life. For example, if you feel pain you are supposed to adapt to it because that is the pattern of the world and it could not have happened any other way, therefore one should not be dissatisfied. Stoicism can be related to the quote, “It is what it is.” Determinism leads us to the ideal life because we act in the condition we find ourselves in actually. This philosophy is also applicable to every human whether an emperor or a slave because it will lead any individual to the ideal life. This philosophy brings about a universal ethic on how to live an ideal life because it focuses on not how we wish the world to be, but how the world is and how to shape our lives in order to adapt to it. Ethics is a strategy for avoiding disturbances, in other words ataraxia or peace of mind. The highest good for stoics is ataraxia or peace of mind. In avoiding disturbances we come to see/recognize that nature is a patterned