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My New Goal: Ataraxia

I get the Word of the Day in my inbox every day and if this one isn’t emblematic of what I desperately need right now, I don’t know what is.

Ataraxia “impassiveness, calmness” is best known from and associated with the ethics of the Athenian philosopher Epicurus (341–270 b.c.). It is acquired by shunning politics and obnoxious people, by paying no attention to the gods or an afterlife, and by devoting oneself to trustworthy friends and a simple life.  Ataraxia was important to the Stoic philosophers, also, but for them the final goal was apatheia, which means not “apathy” in the modern sense but “calmness,” imperturbability gained from the pursuit of virtue. Ataraxia (spelled atarxie) entered English in the early 17th century.

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