The ancient Stoic Epictetus conceived these seven elements of the mind as ones that should be used when the mind is functioning properly. But clearly Epictetus lacked the marketing savvy of today’s social media savants, since his list creates the less-than-easy-to-remember acronym of CRYRPPA (although in fairness, I couldn’t jumble it to do much better).
Nevertheless, it is an excellent checklist to assess one’s thinking about any ethical or decision-making stand on just about anything. These seven are timely in assessing the actions and decisions of our political leaders in these bizarre times, although if they brought home the report card to show Mom & Dad, I suspect most would be grounded for a long time due to poor grades.
A quick overview of the seven tasks:
- Choice (do and think right)
- Refusal (avoid temptation)
- Yearning (to better oneself)
- Repulsion (of any negativity, bad influence or things not true)
- Preparation (ready for what’s ahead including what might happen)
- Purpose (one’s guiding principles and highest priority)
- Assent (stay deception free from internal or external influences, focusing on what we can control, and ready to accept what we can’t)
Anything beyond this (per Epictetus) is not what the mind’s meant to do: “What then can pollute and clog the mind’s proper functioning? Nothing but its own corrupt decisions.”