When Hercules was a young man, he found himself at an isolated fork in the road, where he sat to contemplate his future. Uncertain which path to take in life he found himself confronted by two goddesses.
One, a very beautiful and alluring woman, was called Kakia, although, she claimed that her friends called her Happiness (Eudaimonia). She charged in front to ensure she spoke first, promising Hercules that her path was 'easiest and pleasantest'. and that it provided a short-cut to happiness. She claimed he would avoid hardship and enjoy luxury beyond most men's wildest dreams, living like a king by the labour of others.
Hercules was then approached by the second goddess, called Arete, a plain-dressed and humble woman, though naturally beautiful. To his surprise, she told him that her path would require hard work from him and it would be long and difficult. Hercules would face danger, he would be tested by many hardships, perhaps more than any man who had lived before, and would have to endure great loss and suffering along the way. 'Nothing that is really good and admirable', said Arete, 'is granted by the gods to men without some effort and application.'
However, Hercules would have the opportunity to face each adversity with courage and self-discipline, and to show wisdom and justice despite great danger. He would earn true happiness by fulfilling his natural potential as a hero and reflecting on the knowledge of his own praiseworthy and honourable deeds.
Hercules chose the path of Arete (or virtue) and was not seduced by Kakia (or Vice). He faced continual persecution from the goddess Hera, and was forced to undertake the legendary Twelve Labours, including slaying the Hydra and ultimately entering Hades, the Underworld itself, to capture the monster Cerberus with his bare hands. He died in extreme agony, poisoned by clothing soaked in the Hydra's blood.
However, Zeus was so impressed by the greatness of his actions and purity of his soul that he elevated him to the status of a God in his own right.
I read this story in an introduction to a book I've been reading on stoicism. I can definitely see comparisons between what we do with nofap, compared to the colossal waves of vice, pleasure and easy rewards the world promises us, and has been promising us since the dawning of our adolescence and sexual maturity. This path isn't as pleasant, nor as easy as our old routine of daily PMO'ing just as the deadlift, pull-up and bench press are not as enjoyable as lying down in bed for half the day. The difference between both sets of activities is that one prepares you for adversity and hardship in the randomness that is life, while the other set of activities keep you trapped in a bubble of pleasure and glutton like a fetus in the warmth of a womb. All until the hard, brutal world bursts this bubble you depend on with a rusty nail.
Virtue over Vice Fapstronauts, Virtue over vice.
If you enjoyed this story and want to learn more about Stoicism, check out "Stoicism and the Art of Happiness" By Donald Robertson.