william b. irvine

Many of us have been persuaded that happiness is something that someone else, a therapist or a politician, must confer on us. Stoicism rejects this notion. It teaches us that we are very much responsible for our happiness as well as our unhappiness. It also teaches us that it is only when we assume responsibility for our happiness that we will have a reasonable chance of gaining it. This, to be sure, is a message that many people, having been indoctrinated by therapists and politicians, don’t want to hear.
—  William B. Irvine
A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
By contemplating the impermanence of everything in the world, we are forced to recognise that every time we do something could be the last time we do it, and this recognition can invest the things we do with a significance and intensity that would otherwise be absent. We will no longer sleepwalk through our life.
—  William B. Irvine
By contemplating the impermanence of everything in the world, we are forced to recognize that every time we do something could be the last time we do it, and this recognition can invest the things we do with a significance and intensity that would otherwise be absent. We will no longer sleepwalk through our life.
—  William B. Irvine, A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

You are currently experiencing desire; otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading these words. Even if you are reading them at the behest of someone else, you are motivated by your desire to please that person. And if you stop reading, you will do so not because you have stopped desiring but because your desires have changed.

Wiliam B. Irvine, ON DESIRE, Why we want what we want

By contemplating the impermanence of everything in the world, we are forced to recognise that every time we do something, it could be the last time we do it, and this recognition can invest the things we do with a significance and intensity that would otherwise be absent. We would no longer sleepwalk through our life.
—  William B. Irvine
Why is it important to have a philosophy [of life]? Because without one, there is a danger that you will mislive— that despite all your activity, despite all the pleasant diversions you might have enjoyed while alive, you will end up living a bad life. There is, in other words, a danger that when you are on your deathbed, you will look back and realize that you wasted your one chance at living. Instead of spending your life pursuing something genuinely valuable, you squandered it because you allowed yourself to be distracted by the various baubles life has to offer.
—  William B. Irvine, A Guide to the Good Life