5. Thinking, Life, Stress and Depression: Pt 4

These commentaries are based on Dr Gillman’s peer reviewed scientific papers, see Publications

Asides and Quotes on Life & Happiness

Epictetus, Stoic Philosopher

Epictetus was a ‘Stoic’ Philosopher in the 1st c AD [1], the quotes below will seem familiar to those who have knowledge of CBT.

People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of those things.

The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.

Wealth consists, not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.

There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.

Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.

François, Duke de La Rochefoucauld

Before we set our hearts too much on anything, let us examine how happy are those who already possess it.

We should earnestly desire but few things, if we clearly knew what we desired.

Few things are needed to make a wise man happy, nothing can make a fool content. That is why most men are miserable.

If we never flattered ourselves, we should have but insufficient pleasure.

We all have strength enough to endure the misfortunes of others (cf. Bierce)

The truest way to be deceived is to think oneself more knowing than others.

Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle

It is a great obstacle to happiness to expect too much.

Frederick Keonig

We tend to forget that happiness does not come as a result of getting something we do not have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.

Samuel Johnson

There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern.

H L Menchen

Puritanism: the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.


How many things are there for which I do not want. Socrates

If we only wanted to be happy, it would be easy: but we want to be happier than other people, and that is almost always difficult, since we think others happier than they are. Montesquieu.

When a man forgets his ideals he may hope for happiness, but not till then. John Oliver Hobbs

We grow weary of those things (and perhaps the soonest) which we most desire. Samuel Butler

Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it. Kierkegaard

Happiness: an agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another. Ambrose Bierce.


1.. Epictetus, Encheiridion of Epictetus. Handbook 6, (trans. Oldfather), 55-135 AD: p. http://www.iep.utm.edu/e/epictetu.htm#SH2b http://www.btinternet.com/~k.h.s/epictetustranslations.htm.

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