By saying that a Stoic is someone who lives within God's, or nature's eternal laws, Pies offers the metaphor of the two handles. If the cucumber is bitter, don't eat it. If the bramble is in the path, walk around it. Does it make sense to question the creator on these matters?
"Stoics would say people create unreal expectations," Pies said.
In the course of this compact and insightful work, Pies tells us a little about what happiness is, and a lot about how to achieve it. The book is an extended meditation on how we might avoid letting things touch our souls too much.
"In this breathtaking tour of ancient wisdom, Ron Pies, M.D., makes the philosophy of the Stoics come alive for the modern reader," said Richard M. Berlin, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School; poet and columnist Psychiatric Times. "Touching on our most urgent contemporary problems - the meaning of happiness, the role of pleasure, the importance of wisdom, friendship, balance, harmony, and anger - the Stoics provide a surprisingly fresh and instructive set of principles about how to live."
"With numerous examples from the world's philosophical and religious traditions, as well as vignettes about people struggling to understand their lives in the 21st century, Pies has created a guide filled with warmth, clear thinking, strong values, and the deep pleasure that comes from our recognition of the enduring truths," Berlin said.
Pies splits his time between Cazenovia and Lexington, MA where he teaches at Tufts University. He is the author of several books including collections of poetry and short stories. He lives with his wife Nancy Butters and together they recently bought a house on Farnham Street.
"I'm a little bit of a newcomer," Pies said. "We're very happy with the town."