1. The key to successful living (sometimes called happiness) is freedom from the violent feelings.
2. The key to freedom from the violent feelings is living in accordance with virtue.
3. The key to virtue is living consistently in agreement with nature.
4. The things called good by most people, such as life, health, possessions, good reputation, and the like, are often in accord with our nature.
5. But they are not consistently in accord with our nature, as they are sometimes purchased or preserved at the expense of a person's integrity.
6. Virtue and successful living are not inborn but result from deliberate choice and continuous attention to what is in our power and what is not.
November 18, 1999
* I will readily admit that others may be able to compose a different short list that is just as valuable and just as representative of classical Stoic ideas as this list. By no means do I wish to deny that for the classical Stoics, especially the classical Greek Stoics, the "sciences" of physics and logic were just as important as ethics. Still, most people today come to Stoicism for its ethical ideas, so an ethics-focused list is justified as an appetizer.--J.G.