Thursday

June 11

WHEN you are going to any one of the great, remember there is another, who sees from above what passes; and whom you ought to please rather than man. He therefore asks you:

In the school, what did you use to call exile, and prison, and chains, and death, and defamation?

I? Indifferent things.

What, then, do you call them now? Are they at all changed? — No.

Are you changed, then? — No.

Tell me, then, what things are indifferent.

Things independent on choice.

Tell me the consequence too.

Things independent on choice, are nothing to me.

Tell me, likewise, what appeared to us to be the good of man.

A right choice and a right use of the appearances of things,

What his end?

To follow thee.

Do you say the same things now, too?

Yes, I do say the same things, even now.

Well, go in, then, boldly, and mindful of these things: and you will see what a youth, who hath studied what he ought, is among men who have not. I protest, I imagine you will have such thoughts as these: " Why do we provide so many and great qualifications for nothing? Is the power, the antechamber, the attendants, the guards, no more than this? Is it for these that I have listened to so many dissertations? These are nothing: and I had qualified myself as for some great encounter."

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book i. §30.

2 comments:

  1. All of the things he is talking about are the external trappings....

    To live in harmony with nature is the goal. The externals are nothing... look at what you have internally in your true nature and that is what you have attained. Not the status or outer trappings of so called "success". That is why we study, to perfect our true nature. While the outer trappings are not to be avoided, they are not to be valued.

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  2. What do we qualify ourselves for in living the Stoic path? We are but one string, on one instrument, in a universal orchestra. We can choose the harmony, even it is sometimes a descant. The chords always resolve. And we can be part of that.

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