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 at a small cost you are supplied with everything for the body, do not be proud of this; nor, if you drink water, say on every occasion, I drink water.  But consider first how much more frugal the poor are than we, and how much more enduring of labor.  And if you ever wish to exercise yourself in labor and endurance, do it for yourself, and not for others.  Do not embrace statues; but if you are ever very thirsty, take a draught of cold water and spit it out, and tell no man.


The condition and characteristic of an uninstructed person is this:  he never expects from himself profit (advantage) nor harm, but from externals.  The condition and characteristic of a philosopher is this:  he expects all advantage and all harm from himself.  The signs (marks) of one who is making progress are these:  he censures no man, he praises no man, he blames no man, he accuses no man, he says nothing about himself as if he were somebody or knew something; when he is impeded at all or hindered, he blames himself; if a man praises him he ridicules the praiser to himself; if a man censures him he makes no defence; he goes about like weak persons, being careful not to move any of the things which are placed, before they are firmly fixed; he removes all desire from himself, and he transfers aversion ([Greek:  echchlisin]) to those things only of the things within our power which are contrary to nature; he employs a moderate movement towards everything; whether he is considered foolish or ignorant he cares not; and in a word he watches himself as if he were an enemy and lying in ambush.


When a man is proud because he can understand and explain the writings of Chrysippus, say to yourself, If Chrysippus had not written obscurely, this man would have had nothing to be proud of.  But what is it that I wish?  To understand nature and to follow it.  I inquire therefore who is the interpreter? and when I have heard that it is Chrysippus, I come to him (the interpreter).  But I do not understand what is written, and therefore I seek the interpreter.  And so far there is yet nothing to be proud of.  But when I shall have found the interpreter, the thing that remains is to use the precepts (the lessons).  This itself is the only thing to be proud of.  But if I shall admire the exposition, what else have I been made unless a grammarian instead of a philosopher? except in one thing, that I am explaining Chrysippus instead of Homer.  When, then, any man says to me, Read Chrysippus to me, I rather blush, when I cannot show my acts like to and consistent with his words.


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