Ariston of Chios: What makes a healthy soul

Anyone who has ever gone through a difficult time knows how important it is to be able to rely on yourself. But how do you learn to stand firm in life? In this article we will look at Ariston of Chios' opinion on this subject.

Ariston of Chios was a direct disciple of Zeno of Kition and is one of the founders of Stoic philosophy. His teachings were particularly characterized by the indifference of all things. Saying that nothing is better or worse than something else.

"Virtue is the health of the soul".

Ariston of Chios

According to Ariston of Chios virtue is supposed to be the health of the soul, but what is virtuous in the first place and how can the health of the soul depend on it?

The word Virtue as we use it today dates back to the Middle Ages. However, one can assume that the quote from Ariston has nevertheless been translated in a sensible way. The medieval word Virtue was derived from the word fitness or efficiency. The virtue is thus the character trait that is considered desirable.

The list of virtues is a very long one. To give you a little insight, I will now list some of the virtues that are most important to me: Patience, humility, Goodwill, loyalty, courage, truth, hospitality, independence, discipline, diligence, perseverance, Neatness, thrift, cleanliness, punctuality and Self-criticism.

With the help of some of these exemplary virtues, I will now explain why the lack of these virtues leads to an unhealthy character and therefore, conversely, the possession of said virtues promotes a healthy character.

Who is in Patience can also endure long waits for a really longed-for event. On the other hand, if you are impatient, you can't even wait for your meal in a restaurant without snapping at the waitress. So, if you practice patience, you will be able to master the inner frustration better in the long run. Those who can cope well with inner frustration have a healthy soul.

Goodwill is the character trait that allows one to wish good to another without gaining personal advantage. Who does not see himself as the navel of the world, has already understood a lot. Even if it is not always easy. But if you don't begrudge others anything because you have it so hard yourself, you will often get upset about the injustice of life.

Who self-critical quickly learns that we ourselves are not free of mistakes either. Often we just don't see our own mistakes because we never take the time or simply don't think about the fact that we ourselves are not free of mistakes. In order to see oneself self-critically, a certain inner greatness is needed. People who never look at themselves self-critically will never find their own mistakes and thus cannot work on them.

With the Neatness I always had big problems myself. I rarely tidied my room, let alone cleaned the bathroom or otherwise really helped a lot in the household, however, it is much easier to have a clear mind when your own environment is also clear, respectively tidy. After all, there are significantly fewer distractions in a tidy and clean environment.

To come back to the quote: The health of the soul depends on how we deal with it. Whether we take care of it or let it vegetate. By cultivating virtues and practicing them, we can shape our soul and keep it healthy. So if you permanently feel a sense of inner turmoil, pick out a few virtues, practice them and see what happens.

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