On occurrence of any unexpected event, a foolish person keep constantly thinking about it and loses his mind. A foolish person, should think that all the events that occurs in life, happens to teach something, and to make one wiser. The wise men accept every event as outside of their direct control, and choose not to perpetuate them further.
In Seneca’s, ‘On Anger’, he describes the mind movement in three stages:-
- The first movement, arises involuntarily as a ‘preparation of emotion’, an automatic reaction triggered by external impressions or bodily sensations, such as shock in response to sudden startling noise.
- In the ‘second movement’, we give ‘assent’ to the initial disturbing impression fusing it with the value judgement that it concerns something absolutely ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘helpful’ or ‘harmful’, from which further judgements follow about what it is appropriate to do.
- In the ‘third movement’, we lose control, get ‘carried away’ into excessive, irrational and unhealthy desires and emotions, which seek to have their way at all costs, even at the expense of wisdom and virtue.
An ancient writer called Aulus Gellius tells a related story in his Attic nights. During a stormy trip at sea, a philosopher was seen to become pale and nervous. Once ashore, Gellius asked how a philosopher, who is supposed to have no emotions, grew so pale in the storm. The philosopher explained himself that ‘Epictetus says that when a terrifying sound surprises us, such as thunder or a falling building, or when we are suddenly confronted by some unexpected news, even the wise man is necessarily disturbed, because the initial impressions forces itself on our mind, and he may grow pale and shrink back automatically for a moment. However the wise man will not give his ‘assent’ to these terrifying impressions, by making corresponding value judgements. He rejects them completely, judging there to be no reason continue being afraid. This is the key difference between the wise men and ordinary people. The foolish person assents to his initial impressions of danger or impending harm, ‘confirming them with his judgement’ and concludes that he is right to cower in fear.
To conclude, any incident that seems outside of one’s control, think what wise man would do in same situation. “The wise man is affected only superficially and momentarily, but he remains consistent in his philosophical judgement that things that appear terrifying are actually ‘indifferent’ and don’t deserve to be feared. A wise man always embrace, what happens inside his volition is God’s favor, and opposite is God’s will. They are ‘empty terror’ like someone wearing a frightening mask that might startle as at first until we realize that it’s just a mask and nothing genuinely terrifying. So, firm faith in God, gives meaning and purpose to human society.