Main Interests of the Character Styles

Keith Seddon (30) has introduced use of the ideas of "interests" and "projects" into Stoic practice:

"We need to distinguish between our interests and projects on the one hand, and the way we carry on the business of pursuing our interests and furthering our projects on the other. Everything that we engage in in daily life will further some project which in turn satisfies some interest we have. Interests would include earning an income, gaining an education, staying healthy, raising children, etc., etc. A project is some activity we perform which furthers an interest, such as taking a course at a local college, or taking up a new diet. Notice that interests and projects concern indifferent things (with the singular and unique exception of our interest to perfect our characters and thereby to fully flourish and live happily). But the way we carry out our projects — noting that the way we act in pursuit of something is entirely distinct from the project itself — concerns our capacity to act virtuously, to act in ways characteristic of the person who has perfected their character. This, say the Stoics, is what is good or bad, and this is what is of supreme importance."

The table below contains intuitions of the 'main interests' of the character styles. If you pursue any of these interests, and you wish to fully flourish and live happily, pursue them 'with reservation' and virtuously.

Main Interests of the Character Styles

Character Style Main Interest
Conscientious achieving things
Sensitive being accepted
Vigilant maintaining autonomy
Dramatic getting attention
Aggressive exercising power
Idiosyncratic nonconforming
Inventive gaining status
Solitary finding solitude
Leisurely doing as you please
Serious working
Self-Sacrificing helping others
Devoted being helped
Self-Confident being successful
Adventurous facing challenges
Mercurial maintaining relationships
Exuberant enjoying pleasurable experiences

Keith Seddon (2007).Stoic Serenity: A Practical Course on Finding Inner Peace. United Kingdom:

___________ A Guide to Stoic Living: A Practical Course on Finding Inner Peace



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