The Enchiridion by Epictetus (Audio Book)

this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit the enchiridion by Epictetus translated by Elizabeth Carter one some things are in our control and others not things in our control our opinion pursuit desire aversion and in a word whatever are our own actions things not in our control our body property reputation command and in one word whatever are not our own actions the things in our control are by nature free unrestrained unhindered but those not in our control are weak slavish restrained belonging to others remember then that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free and that what belongs to others is your own then you will be hindered you will lament you will be disturbed and you will find fault both with gods and men but if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own and what belongs to others such as it really is then no one will ever compel you or restrain you further you will find fault with no one or accuse no one you will do nothing against your will no one will hurt you you will have no enemies and you will not be harmed aiming therefore at such great things remember that you must not allow yourself to be carried even with a slight tendency towards the attainment of lesser things instead you must entirely quit some things and for the present postpone the rest but if you would both have these great things along with power and riches then you will not gain even the latter because you aim at the former too but you will absolutely fail of the former by which alone happiness and freedom are achieved work therefore to be able to say to every harsh appearance you are but an appearance and not absolutely the thing you appear to be and then examine it by those rules which you have and first and chiefly by this whether it concerns the things which are in our control or those which are not and if it concerns anything not in our control be prepared to say that it is nothing to you to remember that following desire promises the attainment of that of which you are desirous and aversion promises the avoiding that to which you are averse however he who fails to obtain the object of his desire is disappointed and he you incur the object of his aversion wretched if then you confine your aversion to those objects only which are contrary to the natural use of your faculties which you have in your own control you will never incur anything to which you are averse but if you are averse to sickness or death or poverty you will be wretched remove a version then from all things that are not in our control and transfer it to things contrary to the nature of what is in our control but for the present totally suppressed desire for if you desire any of the things which are not in your own control you must necessarily be disappointed and of those which are and which it would be laudable to desire nothing is yet in your possession use only the appropriate actions of pursuit and avoidance and even these lightly and with gentleness and reservation 3 with regard to whatever objects give you delight are useful or are deeply loved remember to tell yourself of what general nature they are beginning from the most insignificant things if for example you are fond of a specific ceramic cup remind yourself that it is only ceramic cups in general of which you are fond then if it breaks you will not be disturbed if you kiss your child or your wife say that you only kiss things which are human and thus you will not be disturbed if either of them dies for when you are going about any action remind yourself what nature the action is if you are going to bathe picture to yourself the things which usually happen in the bath some people splash the water some push some use abusive language and others steal thus you will more safely go about this action if you say to yourself I will now go bathe and keep my own mind in a state conformable to nature and in the same manner with regard to every other action for thus if any hindrance arises in bathing you will have it ready to say it was not only to bathe that I desired but to keep my mind in a state conformable to nature and I will not keep it if I'm bothered at such things that happen five men are disturbed not by things but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things death for instance is not terrible else it would have appeared so to Socrates but the terror consists in our notion of death that it is terrible when therefore we are hindered or disturbed or grieved let us never attribute it to others but to ourselves that is to our own principles and uninstructed person will lay the fault of his own bad condition upon others someone just starting instruction will lay the fault on himself someone who is perfectly instructed will place blame neither on others nor on himself 6 don't be prideful with any excellence that is not your own if a horse should be prideful and say I am handsome it would be supportable but when you are prideful and say I have a handsome horse know that you are proud of what is in fact only the good of the horse what then is your own only your reaction to the appearances of things thus when you behave conformably to nature and reaction to how things appear you will be proud with reason for you will take pride in some good of your own seven consider one on a voyage your ship is anchor'd if you go on shore to get water you may along the way amuse yourself with picking up a shellfish or an onion however your thoughts and continual attention ought to be bent towards the ship waiting for the captain to call onboard you must then immediately leave all these things otherwise you'll be thrown into the ship bound neck and feet like a sheep so it is with life if instead of an onion or a shellfish you are given a wife or child that is fine but if the captain calls you must run to the ship leaving them and regarding none of them but if you are old never go far from the ship lest when you are called you should be unable to come in time eight don't demand that things happen as you wish but wish that they happen as they do happen and you will go on well nine sickness is a hindrance to the body but not to your ability to choose unless that is your choice lameness is a hindrance to the leg but not to your ability to choose say this to yourself with regard to everything that happens then you will see such obstacles as hindrances to something else but not to yourself 10 with every accident ask yourself what abilities you have for making a proper use of it if you see an attractive person you will find that self-restraint is the ability you have against your desire if you are in pain you will find fortitude if you hear unpleasant language you will find patience and thus habituated the appearances of things will not hurt you away along with them 11 never say of anything I have lost it but I have returned it is your child dead it is returned is your wife dead she is returned is your estate taken away well and is not that likewise returned but he who took it away is a bad man what difference is it to you who the giver assigns to take it back while he gives it to you to possess take care of it but don't view it as your own just as travellers view a hotel 12 if you want to improve reject such reasonings as these if I neglect my affairs I'll have no income if I don't correct my servant he will be bad for it is better to die with hunger exempt from grief and fear and to live in affluence with perturbation and it is better your servant should be bad than you unhappy begin therefore from little things is a little oil spilt a little wine stolen say to yourself this is the price paid for apathy for tranquillity and nothing is to be had for nothing when you call your servant it is possible that he may not come or if he does he may not do what you want but he is by no means of such importance that it should be in his power to give you any disturbance 13 if you want to improve be content to be thought foolish and stupid with regard to external things don't wish to be thought to know anything and even if you appear to be somebody important to others distrust yourself for it is difficult to both keep your Faculty of choice in a state conformable to nature and at the same time acquire external things but while you are careful about the one you must of necessity neglect the other 14 if you wish your children and your wife and your friends to live forever you are stupid for you wish to be in control of things which you cannot you wish for things that belong to others to be your own so likewise if you wish your servant to be without fault you are a fool for you wish vice not to be vice but something else but if you wish to have your desires undisciplined air for what is in your control he is the master of every other person who is able to confer or remove whatever that person wishes either to have or to avoid whoever then would be free let him wish nothing let him decline nothing which depends on others else he must necessarily be a slave 15 remember that you must behave in life as at a dinner party is anything brought around to you put out your hand and take your share with moderation does it pass by you don't stop it is it not yet come don't stretch your desire towards it but wait till it reaches you do this with regard to children to a wife to public posts to riches and you will eventually be a worthy partner of the feasts of the gods and if you don't even take the things which are said before you but are able even to reject them then you will not only be a partner at the feasts of the gods but also of their Empire for by doing this Diogenes Heraclitus and others like them deservedly became and were called divine 16 when you see anyone weeping in grief because his son has gone abroad or is dead or because he has suffered in his affairs be careful that the appearance may not misdirect you instead distinguish within your own mind and be prepared to say it's not the accident that just stresses this person because it doesn't distress another person it is the judgment which he makes about it as far as words go however don't reduce yourself to his level and certainly do not moan with him do not moan inwardly either 17 remember that you are an actor in a Drama of such a kind as the author pleases to make it if short of a short one if long of a long one if it is his pleasure you should act a poor man a cripple a governor or a private person see that you acted naturally for this is your business to act well the character assigned to you to choose it is in others 18 when a raven happens to croak unluckily don't allow the appearance hurry you away with it but immediately make the distinction to yourself and say none of these things are foretold to me but either to my paltry body or property or reputation or children or wife but to me all almonds are lucky if I will for whichever of these things happens it is in my control to derive advantage from it 19 you may be unconquered ball if you enter into no combat in which it is not in your own control to conquer when therefore you see anyone eminent in honors or power or in high esteem on any other account take heed not to be hurried away with the appearance and to pronounce him happy for if the essence of good consists in things in our own control there will be no room for envy or emulation but for your part don't wish to be a general or a senator or a consul but to be free and the only way to do this is a contempt of things not in our own control 20 remember that not he who gives ill language or a blow insults but the principle which represents these things as insulting when therefore anyone provokes you be assured that it is your own opinion which provokes you try therefore in the first place not to be hurried away with the appearance for if you once gain time and respite you will more easily command yourself 21 let death and exile and all other things which appear terrible be daily before your eyes but chiefly death and you will never entertain any abject thought nor too eagerly covet anything 22 if you have an earnest desire of attaining to philosophy prepare yourself from the very first to be laughed at to be sneered by the multitude to hear them say he has returned to us a philosopher all at once and whence this supercilious look now for your own part don't have a supercilious look indeed but keep steadily to those things which appear best to you as one appointed by God to this station for remember that if you adhere to the same point those very persons who had first ridiculed will afterwards admire you but if you are conquered by them you will incur a double ridicule 23 if you ever happen to turn your attention to externals so as to wish to please anyone be assured that you have ruined your scheme of life be contented then in everything with being a philosopher and if you wish to be thought so likewise by anyone appear so to yourself and it will suffice you 24 don't allow such considerations as these distress you I will live in dishonor and be nobody anywhere for if dishonor is an evil you can no more be involved in any evil by the means of another then be engaged in anything base is it any business of yours then to get power or to be admitted to an entertainment by no means how then after all is this a dishonor and how is it true that you will be nobody anywhere when you ought to be somebody in those things only which are in your own control in which you may be of the greatest consequence but my friends will be unassisted what do you mean by unassisted they will not have money from you nor will you make them Roman citizens who told you then that these are among the things in our own control and not the affair of others and who can give to another the things which he has not himself well but get them then that we too may have a share if I can get them with the preservation of my own honor and fidelity and greatness of mind show me the way and I will get them but if you require me to lose my own proper good that you may gain what is not good consider how inequitable and foolish you are besides which would you rather have a sum of money or a friend of fidelity and honour rather assist me then to gain this character than require me to do those things by which I might lose it well but my country say you as far as depends on me will be unassisted here again what assistance is this you mean it will not have porticoes nor Baths of your providing and what signifies that why neither does a Smith provide it with shoes or a shoemaker with arms it is enough if everyone fully performs his own proper business and were you to supply it with another citizen of honor and fidelity would not he be of use to it yes therefore neither are you yourself useless to it what place then say you will I hold in the state whatever you can hold with the preservation of your fidelity and honor but if by desiring to be useful to that you lose these of what use can you be to your country when you are become faithless and void of shame 25 is anyone preferred before you at an entertainment or in a compliment or in being admitted to a consultation if these things are good you want to be glad that he has gotten them and if they are evil don't be grieved that you have not gotten them and remember that you cannot without using the same means which others do to acquire things not in our control expect to be thought worthy of an equal share of them for how can he who does not frequent the door of any great man does not attend him does not praise him have an equal share with him who does you are unjust then and insatiable if you are unwilling to pay the price for which these things are sold and would have them for nothing for how much is lettuce sold 50 cents for instance if another then paying 50 cents takes the lettuce and you not paying it go without them don't imagine that he has gained any advantage over you for as he has the lettuce so you have the 50 cents which you did not give so in the present case you have not been invited to such a persons entertainment because you have not paid him the price for which a supper is sold it is sold for praise it is sold for attendance give him then the value if it is for your advantage but if you would at the same time not pay the one and yet received the other you are insatiable and a blockhead have you nothing then instead of the supper yes indeed you have the knot praising him whom you don't like to praise the knot bearing with his behavior at coming in 26 the will of nature may be learned from those things in which we don't distinguish from one another for example when our neighbours boy breaks a cup or the like we are presently ready to say these things will happen be assured then that when your own cup likewise is broken you ought to be affected just as one another's cup was broken apply this in like manner to greater things is the child or wife of another dead there is no one who would not say this is a human accident but if anyone's own child happens to die it is presently alas how wretched am i but it should be remembered how we are affected in hearing the same thing concerning others 27 as a mark is not set up for the sake of missing the aim so neither does the nature of evil exist in the world 28 if a person gave your body to any stranger he met on his way you would certainly be angry and do you feel no shame in handing over your own mind to be confused and mystified by anyone who happens to verbally attack you 29 in every affair consider what precedes and follows and then undertake it otherwise you will begin with spirit but not having thought of the consequences when some of them appear you will shamefully desist I would concur at the Olympic Games but consider what precedes and follows and then if it is to your advantage engage in the affair you must conform to rules submit to a diet refrain from dainty's exercise your body whether you choose it or not at a stated hour in heat and cold you must drink no cold water nor sometimes even wine in a word you must give yourself up to your master as to a physician then in the combat you maybe thrown into a ditch dislocate your arm turn your ankle swallow dust be whipped and after all lose the victory when you have evaluated all this if your inclination still holds then go to war otherwise take notice you will behave like children who sometimes play like wrestlers sometimes gladiators sometimes blow a trumpet and sometimes act a tragedy when they have seen and admired these shows thus you too will be at one time a wrestler at another a gladiator now a philosopher then an orator but with your whole soul nothing at all like an ape you mimic all you see and one thing after another sure to please you but is out of favor as soon as it becomes familiar for you have never entered upon anything considerately nor after having viewed the whole manner on all sides or made any scrutiny into it but rashly and with a cold inclination thus some when they have seen a philosopher and heard a man speaking like Euphrates though indeed who can speak like him have a mind to be philosophers to consider first man what the matter is and what your own nature is able to bear if you would be a wrestler consider your shoulders your back your thighs for different persons are made for different things do you think that you can act as you do and be a philosopher that you can eat and drink and be angry and discontented as you are now you must watch you must labor you must get the better of certain appetites must quit your acquaintances be despised by your servant be laughed at by those you meet come off worse than others in everything in magistracies and honors and courts of Judicature when you have considered all these things round approach if you please if by parting with them you have a mind to purchase apathy freedom and tranquillity if not don't come here don't like children be one while a philosopher than a publican than an orator than one of Caesars officers these things are not consistent you must be one man either good or bad you must cultivate either your own ruling faculty or externals and apply yourself either to things within or without you that is be either a philosopher or one of the Volk 30 duties are universally measured by relations is anyone a father if so it is implied that the children should take care of him submit to him in everything patiently listened to his reproaches his correction but he is a bad father are you naturally entitled then to a good father no only to a father is a brother unjust well keep your own situation towards him consider not what he does but what you are to do to keep your own Faculty of choice in a state conformable to nature for another will not hurt you unless you please you will then be hurt when you think you are hurt in this manner therefore you will find from the idea of a neighbor a citizen a general the corresponding duties if you accustom yourself to contemplate the several relations 31 be assured that the essential property of piety towards the Gods is to form right opinions concerning them as existing and as governing the universe with goodness and justice and fix yourself in this resolution to obey them and yield to them and willingly follow them in all events as produced by the most perfect understanding for thus you will never find fault with the gods nor accuse them as neglecting you and it is not possible for this to be affected any other way than by withdrawing yourself from things not in our control and placing good or evil in those only which are for if you suppose any of the things not in our control to be either good or evil when you are disappointed of what you wish or incur what you would avoid you must necessarily find fault with and blame the author's for every animal is naturally formed to fly and abour things that appear hurtful and the causes of them and to pursue and admire those would seem beneficial and the causes of them it is impractical then that one who supposes himself to be hurt should be happy but the person who he thinks hurts him just as it is impossible to be happy about the hurt itself hence also the father is reviled by the son when he does not impart to him the things which he takes to be good and supposing Empire to be a good made polyneices and eteocles mutually enemies on this account the husbandmen the sailor the merchant on this account those who lose wives and children revile the gods for where interest is there to is piety placed so that whoever is careful to regulate his desires and aversions as he ought is by the very same means careful of piety likewise but it is also incumbent on every one to offer libations and sacrifices and firstfruits conformably to the customs of his country with purity and not in a slovenly manner nor negligently nor sparingly nor beyond his ability 32 when you have recourse to divination remember that you know not what the event will be and you come to learn it of the diviner but of what nature it is you know before you come at least if you are a philosopher for if it is among the things not in our control it can by no means be either good or evil don't therefore bring either desire or aversion with you to the diviner else you will approach him trembling but first acquire a distinct knowledge that every event is indifferent nothing to you of whatever sword it may be for it will be in your power to make a right use of it and this no one can hinder then come with confidence to the gods as your counselors and afterwards when any counsel has given you remember what counsellors you have assumed and whose advice you will neglect if you disobey coming to the divination as Socrates prescribed in cases of which the whole consideration relates to the event and in which no opportunities are afforded by reason or any other art discover the thing proposed to be learned when therefore it is our duty to share the danger of a friend or of our country we ought not to consult the Oracle whether we will share it with them or not for though the diviner should forewarn you that the victims are unfavorable this means no more than that either death or mutilation or exile is portended but we have reason within us and it directs even with these hazards to the greater diviner the Pythian God who cast out of the temple the person who gave no assistance to his friend while another was murdering him 33 immediately prescribed some character and form of conduct to yourself which you may keep both alone and in company be for the most part silent or speak merely what is necessary and in few words we may however enter those sparingly into discourse sometimes when occasion calls for it but not on any of the common subjects of gladiators of horse races or athletic champions or feasts the vulgar topics of conversation but principally not of men so as either to blame or praise or make comparisons if you are able then by your own conversation bring over that of your company to proper subjects but if you happen to be taken among strangers be silent don't allow your laughter to be much nor on many occasions nor profuse avoid swearing if possible altogether if not as far as you are able avoid public and vulgar entertainments but if ever an occasion calls you to them keep your attention upon the stretch that you may not imperceptibly slide into vulgar manners for be assured that if a person be ever so sound himself yet if his companion be infected hue converses with him will be infected likewise provide things relating to the body no further than mere use as meat drink clothing house family but strike off and reject everything relating to show and delicacy as far as possible before marriage keep yourself pure from familiarities with women and if you indulge them let it be lawfully but don't therefore be troublesome and full of reproofs to those who use these liberties nor frequently boast that you yourself don't if anyone tells you that such a person speaks ill of you don't make excuses about what is said of you but answer he does not know my other faults LC would not have mentioned only these it is not necessary for you to appear often at public spectacles but if ever there is a proper occasion for you to be there don't appear more solicitous for anyone than for yourself that is wish things to be only just as they are and him only to conquer who is the Conqueror for thus you will meet with no hindrance but abstain entirely from declamations and derision and violent emotions and when you come away don't discourse a great deal on what is past and what does not contribute to your own amendment for it would appear by such discourse that you were in moderately struck with the show go not of your own accord to the rehearsals of any authors nor appear at them readily but if you do appear keep your gravity and sedateness and at the same time avoid being morose when you are going to confer with anyone and particularly those in a superior station represent to yourself how Socrates or Zeno would behave in such a case and you will not be at the loss to make proper use of whatever may occur when you are going to any of the people in power represent to yourself that you will not find him at home that you will not be admitted that the doors will not be open for you that he will take no notice of you if with all this it is your duty to go bear what happens and never say to yourself it was not worth so much for this is vulgar and like a man dazed by external things in parties of conversation avoid a frequent and excessive mention of your own actions and dangers for however agreeable it may be to yourself to mention the risks you have run it is not equally agreeable to others to hear your adventures avoid likewise and endeavor to excite laughter for this is a slippery point which may throw you into vulgar manners and besides maybe apt to lessen you in the esteem of your acquaintance approaches to indecent discourse are likewise dangerous whenever therefore anything of this sort happens if there be a proper opportunity rebuke him who makes advances that way or at least by silence and blushing and a forbidding look show yourself to be displeased by such talk 34 if you are struck by the appearance of any promised pleasure guard yourself against being hurried away by it but let the affair wait your leisure and procure yourself some delay then bring to your mind both points of time that in which you will enjoy the pleasure and that in which you will repent and reproach yourself after you have enjoyed it and set before you in opposition to these how you will be glad and applaud yourself if you abstain and even though it should appear to you a seasonable gratification take heed that its enticing and agreeable and attractive force may not subdue you but set in opposition to this how much better it is to be conscious of having gained so great a victory 35 when you do anything from a clear judgment that it ought to be done never shun the being seen to do it even though the world should make a wrong supposition about it for if you don't act right shun the action itself but if you do why are you afraid of those who censure you wrongly thirty-six as the proposition either it is day or this night is extremely proper for a disjunctive argument but quite improper in a conjunctive one so at a feast to choose the largest share is very suitable to the bodily appetite but utterly inconsistent with the social spirit of an entertainment when you eat with another then remember not only the value of those things which are set before you to the body but the value of that behavior which ought to be observed towards the person who gives the entertainment 37 if you have assumed any character above your strength you have both made an ill figure in that and quitted one which you might have supported 38 when walking you are careful not to step on a nail or turn your foot so likewise be careful not to hurt the ruling Faculty of your mind and if we were to guard against this in every action we should undertake the action with the greater safety 39 the body is to everyone the measure of the possessions proper for it just as the foot is of the shoe if therefore you stop at this you will keep the measure but if you move beyond it you must necessarily be carried forward as down a cliff as in the case of a shoe if you go beyond its fitness to the foot it comes first to be gilded than purple and then studded with jewels for to that which once exceeds a due measure there is no bound 40 women from 14 years old are flattered with the title of mistresses by the men therefore perceiving that they are regarded only as qualified to give the men pleasure they began to adorn themselves and in that to place ill their hopes we should therefore fix our attention on making them sensible that they are valued for the appearance of decent modest and discreet behavior 41 it is a mark of want of genius to spend much time in things relating to the body has to be long and our exercises in eating and drinking and in the discharge of other animal functions these should be done incidentally and slightly and our whole attention being gauged in the care of the understanding 42 when any person harms you or speaks badly of you remember that he acts or speaks from a supposition of its being his duty now it is not possible that he should follow what appears right to you but what appears so to himself therefore if he judges from a wrong appearance he is the person hurt since he too is the person deceived for if anyone should suppose a true proposition to be false the proposition is not hurt but he who is deceived about it setting out them from these principles you will meekly bare a person who reveals you for you will say upon every occasion it seems so to him 43 everything has two handles the one by which it may be carried the other by which it cannot if your brother acts unjustly don't lay hold on the action by the handle of his injustice for by that it cannot be carried but the opposite that he is your brother that he was brought up with you and thus you will lay hold on it as it is to be carried 44 these reasonings are unconnected I am richer than you therefore I am better I am more eloquent than you therefore I am better the connection is rather this I am richer than you therefore my property is greater than yours I am more eloquent than you therefore my style is better than yours but you after all are neither property nor style 45 does anyone bathe in a mighty little time don't say that he does it ill but in a mighty little time does anyone drink a great quantity of wine don't say that he does ill that he drinks a great quantity for unless you perfectly understand the principle from which anyone acts how should you know if he acts ill thus you will not run the hazard of assenting to any appearances but such as you fully comprehend 46 never call yourself a philosopher nor talk a great deal among the unlearned about theorems but act conformably to them thus at an entertainment don't talk how persons ought to eat but eat as you ought for remember that in this manner Socrates also universally avoided all ostentation and when persons came to him and desired to be recommended by him to philosophers he took and recommended them so well did he bear being overlooked but that if ever any talk should happen among the unlearned at concerning philosophic theorems be you for the most part silent for there is great danger and immediately throwing out what you have not digested and if anyone tells you that you know nothing and you are not metaled at it then you may be sure that you have begun your business for sheep don't throw up the grass to show the Shepherd's how much they've eaten but inwardly digesting their food they outwardly produce wool and milk thus therefore do you likewise not show theorems to the unlearned but the actions produced by them after they have been digested 47 when you have brought yourself to supply the necessities of your body at a small price don't peak yourself upon it nor if you drink water be saying upon every occasion I drink water but first consider how much more sparing and patient of hardship the poor are than we but if at any time you would in your yourself by exercise to labour and bearing hard trials do it for your own sake and not for the world don't grasp statues but when you are violently thirsty take a little cold water in your mouth and spurt it out and tell nobody forty-eight the condition and characteristic of a vulgar person is that he never expects either benefit or hurt from himself but from externals the condition and characteristic of a philosopher is that he expects all hurt and benefit from himself the marks of a proficient are that he censures no one praises no one blames no one accuses no one says nothing concerning himself as being anybody or knowing anything when he is in any instance hindered or restrained he accuses himself and if he is praised he secretly laughs at the person who praises him and if you censured he makes no defence but he goes about with the caution of sick or injured people dreading to move anything that is set right before it is perfectly fixed he suppresses all desire and himself he transfers his aversion to those things only which thought the proper use of our own Faculty of choice the exertion of his active powers towards anything is very gentle if he appears stupid or ignorant he does not care and in a word he watches himself as an enemy and one in ambush 49 when anyone shows himself overly confident inability to understand and interpret the works of cruciferous say to yourself unless chrysippus had written obscurely this person would have had no subject for his vanity but what do I desire to understand nature and follow her I ask then who interprets her finding cruciferous does I have recourse to him I don't understand his writings I seek therefore one to interpret them so far there is nothing to value myself upon and when I find an interpreter what remains is to make use of his instructions this alone is the valuable thing but if I admire nothing but merely the interpretation what do I become more than a grammarian instead of a philosopher except indeed that instead of Homer I interpret chrysippus when anyone therefore desires me to read chrysippus to him I rather blush when I cannot show my actions agreeable and consonant to his discourse 50 whatever moral rules you have deliberately proposed to yourself abide by them as they were laws and as if you would be guilty of impiety by violating any of them don't regard what anyone says of you for this afterall is no concern of yours how long then will you put off thinking yourself worthy of the highest improvements and follow the distinctions of Reason you have received the philosophical theorems with which you ought to be familiar and you have been familiar with them what other master then do you wait for to throw upon that the delay of reforming yourself you are no longer a boy but a grown man if therefore you will be negligent and slothful and always add procrastination to procrastination purpose to purpose and fix day after day in which you will attend to yourself you will insensibly continue without proficiency and living and dying persevere in being one of the vulgar this instant then think yourself worthy of living as a man grown up and a proficient let whatever appears to be the best be to you an inviolable law and if any instance of pain or pleasure of glory or disgrace is set before you remember that now is the combat now the olympia don nor can it be put off by once being defeated and giving way proficiency is lost or by the contrary preserved thus Socrates became perfect improving himself by everything attending to nothing but reason and though you are not yet a Socrates you ought however to live as one desirous of becoming a Socrates 51 the first and most necessary topic in philosophy is that of the use of moral theorems such as we all not lie the second is that of demonstrations such as what is the origin of our obligation not to lie the third gives strength and articulation to the other – such as what is the origin of this as a demonstration for what is demonstration what is consequence what contradiction what truth what falsehood the third topic then is necessary on account of the second and the second on the account of the first but the most necessary and that we're on we ought to rest is the first but we act just on the contrary for we spend all our time on the third topic and employ all our diligence about that and entirely neglect the first therefore at the same time that we lie we are immediately prepared to show how it is demonstrated that lying is not right 52 upon all occasions we ought to have these Maxim's ready at hand conduct me Jove and you know destiny wherever your decrees have fixed my station clean thiis I follow cheerfully and did I not wicked and wretched I must follow still whoever yields properly to fate is deemed wise among men and knows the laws of heaven Euripides fragment 965 and this third oak right oh if it thus pleases the gods thus let be Anytus and Meletus may kill me indeed but hurt me they cannot Plato's cryto an apology and the enchiridion by epictetus this recording is in the public domain

25 thoughts on “The Enchiridion by Epictetus (Audio Book)

  1. It seems a lot of people in this comment section have trouble with the part about the death of the wife/child. He isn't saying you shouldn't care about the people in your life, just that they will die, and when they do any time you spent pleading for them to come back is wasteful, harmful. Just as with an object, when they are gone, you accept that and move on. Stoicism is about strength of mind, and controlling your emotions, not necessarily removing them entirely. With that said, I think stoicism puts too much emphasis on fate, and not enough on the fact that we have more control over our lives than we think. Embracing stoicism too strongly may sap away any agency you have and force you into a smaller and smaller box of what you can control, however at least you'll be happy in that box.

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  3. 2:33 chapter 2
    3:47 chapter 3
    4:23 chapter 4
    5:14 chapter 5
    6:00 chapter 6 ~ coincidence? I think NOT
    6:37 chapter 7
    7:30 chapter 8

  4. 'If you kiss your child or your wife, say that you only kiss things which are human, and thus you will not be disturbed if either of them dies' – Epictetus

    As much as i respect the wisdom that can be found in stoicism, surely such an attitude as this is self-delusional at best, and a completely erroneous pathway in life at worst. This may work for the ceramic cup mentioned, for the material goods of this life, but for our loved ones? come on.

    What value does a life have if you are so frightened to lose what you love, that you pretend they have less value than they actually do? We're going to die anyway, we may as well love with passion, not this lukewarm attitude which is purely designed to save us from pain, what a limp and monochrome life such would be, if we feel nothing for the most important things.

  5. I don't like his reasoning, is he wise, sure but to compare broken ceramic bowls, to your own children dying is psychotic.

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