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Epictetus


Greek Stoic philosopher.
Epictetus
Try to enjoy the great festival of life with other men. (3).
Epictetus quotes
In theory there is nothing to hinder our following what we are taught; but in life there are many things to draw us aside.
Epictetus
When one maintains his proper attitude in life, he does not long after externals. What would you have, O man?




Epictetus quotes
Knowest thou what kind of speck you art in comparison with the Universe?—That is, with respect to the body; since with respect to Reason, thou art not inferior to the Gods, nor less than they. For the greatness of Reason is not measured by length or height, but by the resolves of the mind. Place then thy happiness in that wherein thou art equal to the Gods. (33)
Epictetus
Give thyself more diligently to reflection: know thyself: take counsel with the Godhead; without God put thine hand into nothing. (115)
Epictetus quotes
Everything has two handles, the one by which it may be carried, the other by which it cannot. If your brother acts unjustly, don't lay hold on the action by the handle of his injustice, for by that it cannot be carried; but by the opposite, that he is your brother, that he was brought up with you; and thus you will lay hold on it, as it is to be carried. (43).
Epictetus
To a reasonable creature, that alone is insupportable which is unreasonable; but everything reasonable may be supported.
Epictetus quotes
It is difficulties that show what men are.
Epictetus
But God hath introduced Man to be a spectator of Himself and of His works; and not a spectator only, but also an interpreter of them. Wherefore it is a shame for man to begin and to leave off where the brutes do. Rather he should begin there, and leave off where Nature leaves off in us: and that is at contemplation, and understanding, and a manner of life that is in harmony with herself. See then that ye die not without being spectators of these things. (13).
Epictetus
When you have decided that a thing ought to be done, and are doing it, never shun being seen doing it, even though the multitude should be likely to judge the matter amiss. For if you are not acting rightly, shun the act itself; if rightly, however, why fear misplaced censure? (172).
Epictetus
It is more necessary for the soul to be cured than the body; for it is better to die than to live badly.




Epictetus quotes
Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things. (5).
Epictetus
Friend, bethink you first what it is that you would do, and then what your own nature is able to bear. (104)
Epictetus quotes
Were I a nightingale, I would act the part of a nightingale; were I a swan, the part of a swan.
Epictetus
Thou shalt not blame or flatter any. (6).
Epictetus quotes
And are all profited by what they hear, or only some among them? So that it seems that there is an art of hearing as well as one of speaking. (81)
Epictetus
You have not stirred my spirit. For what can I see in you to stir me, as a spirited horse will stir a judge of horses? Your body? That you maltreat. Your dress? That is luxurious. Your behavior, your look?—Nothing whatsoever. (81)
Epictetus quotes
What wouldst thou be found doing when overtaken by Death? If I might choose, I would be found doing some deed of true humanity, of wide import, beneficent and noble. But if I may not be found engaged in aught so lofty, let me hope at least for this—what none may hinder, what is surely in my power—that I may be found raising up in myself that which had fallen; learning to deal more wisely with the things of sense; working out my own tranquillity, and thus rendering that which is its due to every relation of life…. If death surprise me thus employed, it is enough if I can stretch forth my hands to God and say, “The faculties which I received at Thy hands for apprehending this thine Administration, I have not neglected. As far as in me lay, I have done Thee no dishonour. Behold how I have used the senses, the primary conceptions which Thou gavest me. Have I ever laid anything to Thy charge? Have I ever murmured at aught that came to pass, or wished it otherwise? Have I in anything transgressed the relations of life? For that Thou didst beget me, I thank Thee for that Thou hast given: for the time during which I have used the things that were Thine, it suffices me. Take them back and place them wherever Thou wilt! They were all Thine, and Thou gavest them me.”—If a man depart thus minded, is it not enough? What life is fairer or more noble, what end happier than his? (189).
Epictetus
But in the present condition of things, which resembles an Army in battle array, ought not the Cynic to be free from all distraction and given wholly to the service of God, so that he can go in and out among men, neither fettered by the duties nor entangled by the relations of common life? For if he transgresses them, he will forfeit the character of a good man and true; whereas if he observe them, there is an end of him as the Messenger, the Spy, the Herald of the Gods! (116)
Epictetus
If we are not stupid or insincere when we say that the good or ill of man lies within his own will, and that all beside is nothing to us, why are we still troubled?


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