EppsNet Archive: Philosophy

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 →

A Labyrinth of Illusion and Doubt


Indeed, you will see that the whole history of the spirit of religion is only the history of the errors of the human mind, which, placed in a world that it does not comprehend, endeavors nevertheless to solve the enigma; and which, beholding with astonishment this mysterious and visible prodigy, imagines causes, supposes reasons, builds systems; then, finding one defective, destroys it for another not less so; hates the error that it abandons, misconceives the one that it embraces, rejects the truth that it is seeking, composes chimeras of discordant beings; and thus, while always dreaming of wisdom and happiness, wanders blindly in a labyrinth of illusion and doubt. — C.F. Volney, The Ruins, or, Meditation on the Revolutions of Empires and the Law of Nature Read more →

The Common Good


Therefore the Master says: I let go of the law, and people become honest. I let go of economics, and people become prosperous. I let go of religion, and people become serene. I let go all desire for the common good, and the good becomes common as grass. — Tao Te Ching Read more →

Plato in 90 Minutes


I’ve never gotten anything out of trying to read Plato, and yet you keep hearing that he’s essential to an understanding of man’s existence, so I thought I’d check out a secondary source for guidance: Plato in 90 Minutes by Paul Strathern. I’m on page 10 when my son says, “That’s taken you longer than 90 minutes.” He looks over to see how far I’ve gotten. “Page 10,” he scoffs. “It’s not 90 minutes from when you buy the book,” I say. “You understand that, right? You have to give me some time to actually read it.” Read more →

Twitter: 2010-08-24


RT @Jesus_M_Christ: How do I know Adam and Eve were white? When’s the last time you seen a black man give up a rib? # RT @eddiepepitone: Tweets of Nietzche’s wife- God isn’t as dead as our sex life! # RT @pattonoswalt: In the future, everyone will be obscure for fifteen minutes. # Read more →

Between Stimulus and Response


Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. — Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning Read more →

Twitter: 2010-07-03


Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. — Zen proverb # Read more →



Libertarianism rests on two bedrock beliefs: human freedom is a great good and the public sector tends to screw things up. The first belief is based more on faith than empirical result; the second derives from millennia of human experience. — Edward L. Glaeser Read more →

Twitter: 2010-03-15


The soul of man is a far country, which cannot be approached or explored. — Heraclitus # Read more →

Unable to Make Anything Easier


Out of love for mankind, and out of despair at my embarrassing situation, seeing that I had accomplished nothing and was unable to make anything easier than it had already been made, and moved by a genuine interest in those who make everything easy, I conceived it as my task to create difficulties everywhere. . . . — Søren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript Read more →

The Renaissance Man


I’m looking at these last few posts where I’ve strung together W.H. Auden, John Dewey, Meat Loaf and Franz Kafka, not with any sense of purpose, just things I’ve read or listened to on my winter break. What a renaissance man I am! Why, if you were here, we could talk about poetry, education, philosophy, sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll, existentialism . . . and we’d have a good time too, considering we’re all going to die . . . Read more →



He looks up the trail trying to see what’s ahead even when he knows what’s ahead because he just looked a second before. He goes too fast or too slow for the conditions and when he talks his talk is forever about somewhere else, something else. He’s here but he’s not here. He rejects the here, is unhappy with it, wants to be farther up the trail but when he gets there will be just as unhappy because then it will be “here.” What he’s looking for, what he wants, is all around him, but he doesn’t want that because it is all around him. Every step’s an effort, both physically and spiritually, because he imagines his goal to be external and distant. — Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Read more →

My Wife’s Philosophy


You win some, you lose some, but I prefer to win them all. Read more →

Marcus Aurelius on Sean Penn


The dictator and the useful idiot Keep before you the swift onset of oblivion, and the abysses of eternity before us and behind; mark how hollow are the echoes of applause, how fickle and undiscerning the judgements of professed admirers, and how puny the arena of human fame. For the entire earth is but a point, and the place of our own habitation but a minute corner in it; and how many are therein who will praise you, and what sort of men are they? — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, IV.3 Read more →

Obviously Aurelius


I’m reading Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations when my son, referring to the cover photo above the author’s name, says, “Who’s that? Zeus?” “No,” I say. “Caesar?” “No. It’s Marcus Aurelius.” “Hmmm. That seemed too obvious.” Read more →

Miyamoto Musashi


On second thought, we have a family member who perceives things that cannot be seen, so #7 may be more indicative of mental illness than enlightenment . . . Read more →

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