EppsNet Archive: Epictetus

You were a fool, and set your thoughts on uncertainties. Why then do you not accuse yourself, instead of sitting crying like young girls? — Epictetus, Discourses, Book IV, Ch. 10

What Would Heracles Have Been?


What would Heracles have been if he had said, “How am I to prevent a big lion from appearing, or a big boar, or brutal men?” What care you, I say? If a big boar appears, you will have a greater struggle to engage in; if evil men appear, you will free the world from evil men. “But if I die thus?” You will die a good man, fulfilling a noble action. — Epictetus, Discourses, Book IV, Ch. 10 Read more →

Not Even a God Can Save You


What greater good do you look for than this? You were shameless and shall be self-respecting, you were undisciplined and shall be disciplined, untrustworthy and you shall be trusted, dissolute and you shall be self-controlled. If you look for greater things than these, go on doing as you do now, not even a god can save you. — Epictetus, Discourses, Book IV, Ch. 9 Read more →

You Are at Peace With All Men


Why do you not come forward and openly proclaim that you are at peace with all men, whatever they do, and that you laugh above all at those who think that they are harming you? saying, “These slaves do not know who I am, nor where to find what is good or bad for me, for they have no way of getting at my position.” — Epictetus, Discourses, Book IV, Ch. 5 Read more →

There is But One Way to Peace of Mind


There is but one way to peace of mind (keep this thought by you at dawn and in the daytime and at night) — to give up what is beyond your control, to count nothing your own, to surrender everything to heaven and fortune. — Epictetus, Discourses, Book IV, Ch. 4 Read more →

What is Not Given You


Ought you to desire what is not given you, or to be ashamed if you do not attain to it? Is this all the habit you acquired when you studied philosophy, to look to others and to hope for nothing from yourself and your own acts? — Epictetus, Discourses, Book III, Ch. 26 Read more →

The True Cynic


“Look at me, I have no house or city, property or slave: I sleep on the ground, I have no wife or children, no miserable palace, but only earth and sky and one poor cloak. Yet what do I lack? Am I not quit of pain and fear, am I not free? When has any of you ever seen me failing to get what I will to get, or falling into what I will to avoid? When did I blame God or man, when did I accuse any? Has any of you seen me with a gloomy face? How do I meet those of whom you stand in fear and awe? Do I not meet them as slaves? Who that sees me but thinks that he sees his king and master?” There you have the true Cynic’s words; this is his character, and scheme of life. — Epictetus, Discourses Ch.… Read more →

In What Then Does the Good Reside?


It is where you think not, and will not seek for it. For if you had wished you would have found it in yourselves and would not have wandered outside and would not have sought the things of others as your own. — Epictetus, Discourses, Book III, Ch. 22 Read more →

Do Not Withhold the Truth


Did Laius obey Apollo? Did he not go away in his drunken stupor and dismiss the oracle from his mind? What then? Did Apollo withhold the truth from him for that reason? Indeed I do not know whether you will obey me or not, but Apollo knew most certainly that Laius would not obey, and yet he spoke. Why did he speak? Nay, why is he Apollo, why does he give oracles, why has he set himself in this position, to be a Prophet and a Fountain of truth, so that men from all the world come to him? Why is “Know thyself” written up over his shrine, though no one understands it? — Epictetus, Discourses, Book III, Ch. 1 Read more →

I Am the 99 Percent


But I’m not clear on what constitutes a win with regard to the Top 1 Percent? What if we take away everything they have and leave them with nothing? Then the Top 2 Percent roll up to become the Top 1 Percent and we’d have to stage another round of protests against them, right? Why can’t we just count our blessings and enjoy what we have? You think you’d be happier with a lot of money? You wouldn’t. Where’s the evidence? The guy making a million a year wants to make 2 million a year. The guy making 2 million wants to make 10 million. The guy making 10 million is in jail for trying to steal an extra 10 million. As Epictetus used to say, “None of these objects that men admire and set their hearts on is of any use to those who get them, though those who… Read more →

Slaves of Things


I adjure you by the gods, cease to admire material things, cease to make yourselves slaves, first of things, and next, for their sake, of men who can acquire them or take them away. — EPICTETUS, Discourses, Book III, Ch. 20 When we moved recently, having to pick up everything we own and transport it from Point A to Point B confirmed something I’d long suspected, which is that we’ve accumulated way too much junk and clutter in our lives. And if I were to walk away from here with nothing but the clothes I’m wearing, how much of it would I really miss? Answer: Not much. Read more →