PTypes - Personality Types
PTypes Basic Passions Stoic Psychotherapy

The Primary Passions

Long and Sedley (pg. 411) have translated Andronicus, On Passions I (SVF 3.391, part):

[Reporting Stoic definitions:] (1) Distress is an irrational contraction, or a fresh opinion that something bad is present, at which people think it right to be contracted [i.e. depressed]. (2) Fear is an irrational shrinking [aversion], or avoidance of an expected danger. (3) Appetite is an irrational stretching [desire], or pursuit of an expected good. (4) Pleasure is an irrational swelling, or a fresh opinion that something good is present, at which people think it right to be swollen [i.e. elated].

Long, A. A., Sedley, D. N. (1987). The Hellenistic Philosophers: vol. 1. translations of the principle sources with philosophical commentary. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Stoics on the passions.
The Stoics on why we should strive to be free of the passions

This essay by Dr. Keith H. Seddon is easily the best explanation on the web of the Stoic doctrine on passion.

The Passions according to the Stoa by Dr. Jan Garrett.

Cicero on the passions in the Tusculan Disputations


IV. XXXI. 65. For my part I think that the whole train of reasoning which is concerned with disorder of the soul turns upon the one fact that all disorders are within our control, are all acts of judgment, are all voluntary (403).

IV. VI. This then is Zeno's definition of disorder which he terms παθος [pathos], that it is an agitation of the soul alien from right reason and contrary to nature. Certain philosophers more briefly define disorder as a too violent longing, but by too violent they mean the longing which is removed too far from the equability of nature. They hold furthermore that there are divisions of disorder originating in two kinds of expected good and two of expected evil, with the result that there are four in all: lust and delight, in the sense of delight in present good; fear and distress, they consider, originate in what is evil, fear in future and distress in present evil. For events whose coming is feared also cause distress by their presence. Delight and lust on the other hand rest upon belief of prospective good, since lust kindled by temptation is hurried away to the apparent good, and delight shows itself in exuberant transport at having at length secured some coveted object: for by a law of nature all men pursue apparent good and shun its opposite; for which reason, as soon as the semblance of any apparent good presents itself, nature of itself prompts them to secure it. Where this takes place in a equable and wise way the Stoics employ the term Βουλησις [Boulêsis]for this sort of longing, we should employ the term wish. That, they think, is found in the wise man alone and they define it in this way: wish is a rational longing for any thing. Where, however, wish is alien from reason and is too violently aroused, it is lust or unbridled desire, which is found in all fools. And also, where we are satisfied that we are in possession of some good, this comes about in two ways: for when the soul has this satisfaction rationally and in a tranquil and equable way, then the term joy is employed; when on the other hand the soul is in a transport of meaningless extravagance, then the satisfaction can be termed exuberant or excessive delight and this they define as irrational excitement of the soul. And since we naturally desire good in the same manner as we naturally turn away from evil, and such a turning away, when rational, would be called precaution, and is consequently found in the wise man only; but when dissociated from reason and associated with mean and abject pusillanimity, it would be named fear; therefore fear is precaution alien from reason. The wise man, however, is not subject to the influence of present evil; fools are subject to distress and feel its influence in the face of expected evil, and their souls are downcast and shrunken together in disobedience to reason. And consequently the first definition of distress is that it is a shrinking together of the soul in conflict with reason. Thus there are four disorders, three equable states [ευπαθειαι, eupatheiai], since there is no equable state in opposition to distress.

IV. VII. But all disorders are, they think, due to judgment and belief. Consequently they define them more precisely, that it may be realized not only how wrong they are but to what extent they are under our control. Distress then is a newly formed belief of present evil, the subject of which thinks it right to feel depression and shrinking of soul; delight is a newly formed belief of present good, and the subject of it thinks it right to feel enraptured; fear is a belief of threatening evil which seems to the subject of it insupportable; lust is a belief of prospective good and the subject of this thinks it advantageous to possess it at once upon the spot. But they do not think that only the disorders depend upon the judgments and beliefs from which disorders, as I have said, come, but that on them also depend the results of the disorders; and so it is that distress results in some sting as it were of pain, fear in a kind of withdrawal and flight of the soul, delight in extravagant gaiety, lust in unbridled longing. Moreover the act of belief which we have included in all previous definitions they hold to be a weak acquiescence [συνκαταθεσις, sunkatathesis].

But numerous subdivisions of the same class are brought under the head of the separate disorders, as for instance under the head of distress come invidentia, "envy" (for we must employ the less usual word for the sake of clearness, since invidia is used not only of the person who feels envy but also of the person of whom envy is felt), rivalry, jealousy, compassion, anxiety, mourning, sadness, troubling, grief, lamenting, depression, vexation, pining, despondency and anything of the same kind. Under the head of fear moreover are brought sluggishness, shame, fright, timidity, consternation, pusillanimity, bewilderment, faintheartedness; under pleasure malice (taking delight in another's evil), rapture, ostentation and the like; under lust anger, rage, hatred, enmity, wrath, greed, longing, and the rest of this kind.

IV. VIII. These moreover they define in this way: envy they say is distress incurred by reason of a neighbor's prosperity, though it does no harm to the envious person; for if anyone were to be grieved by the prosperity of one by whom he conceives himself injured, he would not rightly be described as envious, as for instance if Agamemnon were said to envy Hector; anyone however who, without being at all injured by his neighbor's advantages, is yet grieved at his enjoyment of them would assuredly be envious. But rivalry is for its part used in a twofold way, so that it has both a good land a bad sense. For one thing, rivalry is used of imitation of virtue (but this sense we make no use of here, for it is praiseworthy); and rivalry is distress, should another be in possession of the object desired and one has to go without it oneself. Jealousy on the other hand is what I understand to be the meaning of ζηλοτυπια [zêlotupia], distress arising from the fact that the thing one has coveted oneself is in the possession of the other man as well as one's own. Compassion is distress arising from the wretchedness of a neighbor in undeserved suffering, for no one is moved by compassion for the punishment of a murderer or a traitor. Anxiety is oppressive distress; mourning is distress arising from the untimely death of a beloved object; sadness is tearful distress; trouble is burdensome distress; deep grief is torturing distress; lamenting is distress accompanied by wailing; depression is distress accompanied by brooding; vexation is lasting distress; pining is distress accompanied by bodily suffering; despondency is distress without any prospect of amelioration. The divisions under the head of fear are defined in this way: sluggishness as fear of ensuing toil [shame as fear causing diffusion of blood] [trans.]; fright as paralyzing fear which causes paleness, trembling and chattering of teeth, just as blushing is caused by shame; timidity as the fear of approaching evil; consternation as fear upsetting the mental balance: and hence the line of Ennius:

Consternation drives all wisdom from my nerveless bosom forth;

pusillanimity as fear following on the heels of fright like an attendant; confusion as fear paralyzing thought; faintheartedness as lasting fear.

IV. IX. Further the divisions of pleasure are described in this way, that malice is pleasure derived from a neighbor's evil which brings no advantage to oneself; that rapture is pleasure soothing the soul by charm of the sense of hearing, and similar to this pleasure of the ear are those of sight and touch and smell and taste which are all of one class resembling liquefied pleasures, if I may say so, to steep the soul in. Ostentation is pleasure shown in outward demeanor and puffing oneself out extravagantly. The divisions again under the head of lust are defined in such a way that anger is the lust of punishing the man who is thought to have inflicted an undeserved injury; rage on the other hand is anger springing up and suddenly showing itself, termed in Greek Θυμωσις [thumosis]: hate is inveterate anger; enmity is anger watching as opportunity for revenge; wrath is anger of greater bitterness conceived in the innermost heart and soul; greed is insatiable lust; longing is the lust of beholding someone who is not present. They distinguish another sense of longing and make it also mean lust of the predicates affirmed of a person or persons (the terms used by the logicians being κατηγορηματα [katêgorêmata]), as for instance a man longs to have riches, to obtain distinctions; while greed is lust of the actual things, as for instance of distinctions, of money. Further, they say that the fountain-head of all disorders is intemperance, which is a revolt from all guidance of the mind and right reason, so completely alien from the control of reason that the cravings of the soul cannot be guided or curbed. Therefore just as temperance allays the cravings and causes them to obey right reason, and maintains the well-considered judgments of the mind, so intemperance its enemy kindles, confounds and agitates the whole condition of the soul, with the result that from it come distress and fear and all other disorders (339-351).

IV. XXXVIII. But now that the cause of disorders is discovered, all of which originate in judgments based upon beliefs and upon consent of the will, let us at last put an end to this discussion. Besides we ought to know, now that the limits of good and evil, so far as they are discoverable by human powers, are discovered, that nothing either more important or more useful can be hoped from philosophy than the subjects which have occupied our four days' discussion. For, after death had been made of little account and pain alleviated so as to be endurable, we added the assuagement of distress, and man has no greater evil to cope with than distress. For although all distress of soul is burdensome and does not greatly differ from loss of mind, we are nevertheless accustomed to say in all the other cases where men are involved on some disorder either of fear or delight or desire, that they are merely agitated and disordered; but where they have surrendered themselves to distress we call them wretched, cast down, victims of trouble and ruin. And so your suggestion does not seem made accidently but with good reason, that we should discuss separately the question of distress and all other disorders; for in distress is the fountain-head of wretchedness. But there is one method of healing both distress and all other diseases of the soul, namely to show that all are matters of belief and consent of the will and are submitted to simply because such submission is thought to be right. This deception, as being the root of all evil, philosophy promises to drag out utterly. Let us surrender ourselves therefore to its treatment and suffer ourselves to be cured; for when these evils settle upon us, not merely is it impossible to be happy but we cannot be in a sound state either. Let us then either deny that reason has its perfect work, although on the contrary the fact is that nothing can be done aright without reason, or inasmuch as philosophy consists in the collection of rational arguments, let us, if we wish to be both good and happy, seek to gain from it all aid and support for leading a good and happy life. (421, 423).

Cicero, Marcus Tullius (1945 c.1927). Cicero : Tusculan Disputations (Loeb Classical Library, No. 141) 2nd Ed. trans. by J. E. King. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard UP.

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