OIESIS is ‘self-regard’. Other translations of this ancient Greek word are ‘vanity’, ‘self-admiration’, ‘conceit’, ‘self-deception’, ‘illusion’ and even ‘arrogant opinion’.
According to Epiktetos (Epictetus), we all have the primary task of removing self-deception and mistrust (<apistia>) from ourselves. Herakleitos (Heraclitus) describes self-deception as “an awful disease” (in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers, 9.7). Furthermore, the Stoics offer their practices for trying and overcome it. Therefore, <oiesis> does not enjoy a good reputation among our favorite philosophers. In fact, one of the priorities of our philosophy is self-awareness and not self-regard. In other words, we must work on ourselves not in order to enflate our ego but in order to take care of our life. It is not always simple to distinguish between <care of self> and self-regard. Hence, the guidance of a wise philosopher could be indispensable. However, the point is mantaining the focus on the soul without incurring in self-aggrandizement. Humility and decency are values to preserve and safeguard in any circumstance.
<Oiesis> is ‘self-regard’. And this attitude needs a correction, a counterbalance, a critical view of oneself in association with the “exercises” for the soul. This review of one’s defects is important, not just for ethical reason, but for one’s survival as well. In fact, people with too big an ego are likely to suddenly fall in disgrace. They easily lose realism and they frequently think everything is possible for them. Such an interpretation of daily reality might become a trap in which they fall even without realizing what they are doing. The healing of a disease needs first the knowledge that one is ill. Then it is crucial to pinpoint the characteristics of the illness. Same for the inflation of the ego. One has to acknowledge his state of imperfection and then has to impute it to ‘self-regard’.