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.

When any person treats you ill or speaks ill of you, remember that he does this or says this because he thinks that it is his duty.  It is not possible then for him to follow that which seems right to you, but that which seems right to himself.  Accordingly if he is wrong in his opinion, he is the person who is hurt, for he is the person who has been deceived; for if a man shall suppose the true conjunction to be false, it is not the conjunction which is hindered, but the man who has been deceived about it.  If you proceed then from these opinions, you will be mild in temper to him who reviles you; for say on each occasion, It seemed so to him.

XLIII.

Everything has two handles, the one by which it may be borne, the other by which it may not.  If your brother acts unjustly, do not lay hold of the act by that handle wherein he acts unjustly, for this is the handle which cannot be borne; but lay hold of the other, that he is your brother, that he was nurtured with you, and you will lay hold of the thing by that handle by which it can be borne.

XLIV.

These reasonings do not cohere:  I am richer than you, therefore I am better than you; I am more eloquent than you, therefore I am better than you.  On the contrary, these rather cohere:  I am richer than you, therefore my possessions are greater than yours; I am more eloquent than you, therefore my speech is superior to yours.  But you are neither possession nor speech.

XLV.

Does a man bathe quickly (early)? do not say that he bathes badly, but that he bathes quickly.  Does a man drink much wine? do not say that he does this badly, but say that he drinks much.  For before you shall have determined the opinion how do you know whether he is acting wrong?  Thus it will not happen to you to comprehend some appearances which are capable of being comprehended, but to assent to others.

XLVI.

On no occasion call yourself a philosopher, and do not speak much among the uninstructed about theorems (philosophical rules, precepts); but do that which follows from them.  For example, at a banquet do not say how a man ought to eat, but eat as you ought to eat.  For remember that in this way Socrates also altogether avoided ostentation.  Persons used to come to him and ask to be recommended by him to philosophers, and he used to take them to philosophers, so easily did he submit to being overlooked.  Accordingly, if any conversation should arise among uninstructed persons about any theorem, generally be silent; for there is great danger that you will immediately vomit up what you have not digested.  And when a man shall say to you that you know nothing, and you are not vexed, then be sure that you have begun the work (of philosophy).  For even sheep do not vomit up their grass and show to the shepherds how much they have eaten; but when they have internally digested the pasture, they produce externally wool and milk.  Do you also show not your theorems to the uninstructed, but show the acts which come from their digestion.

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