A Selection from the Discourses of Epictetus with the Encheiridion eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 220 pages of information about A Selection from the Discourses of Epictetus with the Encheiridion.


Seek not that the things which happen should happen as you wish; but wish the things which happen to be as they are, and you will have a tranquil flow of life.


Disease is an impediment to the body, but not to the will, unless the will itself chooses.  Lameness is an impediment to the leg, but not to the will.  And add this reflection on the occasion of everything that happens; for you will find it an impediment to something else, but not to yourself.


On the occasion of every accident (event) that befalls you, remember to turn to yourself and inquire what power you have for turning it to use.  If you see a fair man or a fair woman, you will find that the power to resist is temperance (continence).  If labor (pain) be presented to you, you will find that it is endurance.  If it be abusive words, you will find it to be patience.  And if you have been thus formed to the (proper) habit, the appearances will not carry you along with them.


Never say about anything, I have lost it, but say I have restored it.  Is your child dead?  It has been restored.  Is your wife dead?  She has been restored.  Has your estate been taken from you?  Has not then this also been restored?  But he who has taken it from me is a bad man.  But what is it to you, by whose hands the giver demanded it back?  So long as he may allow you, take care of it as a thing which belongs to another, as travellers do with their inn.


If you intend to improve, throw away such thoughts as these:  if I neglect my affairs, I shall not have the means of living:  unless I chastise my slave, he will be bad.  For it is better to die of hunger and so to be released from grief and fear than to live in abundance with perturbation; and it is better for your slave to be bad than for you to be unhappy.  Begin then from little things.  Is the oil spilled?  Is a little wine stolen?  Say on the occasion, at such price is sold freedom from perturbation; at such price is sold tranquillity, but nothing is got for nothing.  And when you call your slave, consider that it is possible that he does not hear; and if he does hear, that he will do nothing which you wish.  But matters are not so well with him, but altogether well with you, that it should be in his power for you to be not disturbed.


If you would improve, submit to be considered without sense and foolish with respect to externals.  Wish to be considered to know nothing; and if you shall seem to some to be a person of importance, distrust yourself.  For you should know that it is not easy both to keep your will in a condition conformable to nature and (to secure) external things:  but if a man is careful about the one, it is an absolute necessity that he will neglect the other.

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A Selection from the Discourses of Epictetus with the Encheiridion from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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