On Preconceptions

I will let better men argue about whether we are born with our ideas about good and evil or that we develop them as we grow. For myself I only care that I have them and that they influence how I deal with the world.

Epictetus is right in my opinion that all of the worlds ills come down to how we apply preconceptions. I have seen it in my kids fighting over the bathroom in the morning and I have seen it splayed out across my television screen as I watch whatever war is going on right now. In either case it comes down to how we apply preconceptions.

As someone who once studied human communications I know that conflicts are essentially a set of competing goals. And those goals are rooted in what we think is advantageous to us. That thought is where the application of preconceptions come in. If my goal is obtain money or power and yours is the same then we will be in conflict. This is because we have judged money and power as something advantageous to us. Something good if you will. We will have misapplied a preconception of what is good.

As a Stoic my preconception of good should always be applied to what is virtuous only. This may mean that I loose both money and power. But it also means I avoid conflict over things which often are not worth the trouble.