The concept of ataraxia It is used in the philosophy to refer to calm and serene mood. Various philosophical currents defend ataraxia as the mental disposition that leads the person to get away from disturbances to achieve happiness.
Ataraxia requires regulating passions and be strong enough in the face of adversity to lead a balanced and placid life. This calm is achieved when the individual achieves avoid unnecessary pleasures, which cause intense pain after initial satisfaction.
The Epicureanism, for example, distinguished between pleasures natural and necessary (linked to subsistence); the pleasures that, despite being natural, are unnecessary (since they suppose superficial alterations of the necessary pleasures); and pleasures that are neither natural nor necessary (arising from ego or ambition). Ataraxia as a way to happiness requires only obeying the first type of pleasures (the natural and necessary ones), discarding the rest.
According to the vision of the skeptical, ataraxia is achieved by suspending judgment about things. When a person he does not believe in anything, avoids conflicts and manages to keep his spirits calm.
The stoicsFor their part, they believed that ataraxia was a consequence of a life governed by virtue and reason. Stoicism was the last major school of philosophy, and it existed until 529 AD. C., when the School of Athens was closed by the emperor Justiniano. He too buddhism promotes ataraxia, holding that the absence of desire prevents the pain.
Ataraxia, on the other hand, is the name of a comic, of a song from the Chilean group Dr. Vena and of an Italian band of gothic music.
From a physical point of view, medicine calls ataraxia to a condition that can appear as a result of having received a strong blow to the front of the head or having suffered a stroke (a access morbid that takes place violently and suddenly; some examples are “epileptic stroke” and “apoplectic”).
It is curious that while philosophy presents the concept as a method to achieve happiness and fulfillment, medicine uses the same term to give a name to a problem of Health. In both cases, the word imperturbable seems to be key, either because of having achieved absolute serenity or because of the lack of response to external stimuli.
For Greek philosophy, ataraxia is synonymous with imperturbability, a state of the soul and mind that does not admit the entry of suffering or emotions disturbing, such as anger.
In the case of ataraxia caused by a stroke, medicine explains that patients do not know or accept limits and rules, since they lose that capacity and act in a way that does not take into account the consequences. Of course, this does not come alone: often those affected by ataraxia are haunted by feelings of guilt because of their actions.
While ataraxia as a result of trauma carries with it inability to feel frustration, there is a very particular contradiction, since there is room for nervousness and anxiety, and not for joy and spontaneity.
Returning to ataraxia in the philosophical sense, the Greeks considered it a spiritual goal to reach a state of passivity and apathy that would allow them to live in absolute calm. For this, as mentioned above, it is necessary to avoid both actions and feelings, at least everything that can disturb us and make us lose concentration on our goal.