The Stoics are notorious for their ideas about perspective of mind, as well as their emphasis on the internal and external. According to Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor, we do not indeed need much to be ‘happy’. Particularly in today’s society where more is seen as necessary and having very much is seen as equal to happiness-more stuff equals more happiness. The Stoics would resent this deeply. Rather than more, it is in fact less which leads to greater serenity and peace of mind. Seneca wrote about being satisfied with little, as did the poet Tibullus, and it is a Stoic idea to place little value on the external while placing great value on the internal since, according to the Stoics, it is the internal, and only the internal, which can make us happy. The Stoics encourage us to ask ourselves: why do you spend so much time looking for peace of mind outside, in possessions, status, and wealth, when the very thing you are looking out for is in fact inside your own mind?
I will be developing on Stoic ideas in the next post which will discuss further the ideas of Epictetus.