Thursday

June 25

BE willing to approve yourself to yourself. Be willing to appear beautiful in the sight of God: be desirous to converse in purity with your own pure mind, and with God; and then, if any such appearance strikes you, Plato directs you: "Have recourse to expiations: go a suppliant to the temples of the averting deities." It is sufficient, however, if you propose to yourself the example of wise and good men, whether alive or dead; and compare your conduct with theirs.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book ii. §18. ¶4

5 comments:

  1. This appears to be an almost humanist perspective. Compare thyself with Goodly Men both present and past...

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  2. I like this. A lot. Epictetus counsels us to reach to the highest peaks that humanity has reached. We should be urging each other on, to higher and better things, more virtuous behaviour.

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  3. We all need personal Heroes. People both present and past who represent qualities that we wish to emulate in our own lives. Examples throughout public and personal history that encourage us to achieve more and act more virtuously. Let us strive to live closer to their example on a daily basis.

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  4. Each of us is a Sage. Not a mystical, ephemeral state of being, but a real, concrete potential self, the best 'us' that is possible. If we are not already aware of it, how do we know what this perfectly wise version of ourselves looks like? We need simply look to the people we admire, those we hold in high regard, our heroes, mentors and teachers. Try to understand which quality or skill they possess that we find attractive, for this is the mirror of our own potential. We admire behaviour that is integral to our own psyche. Then, through study, practice and effort, seek to emulate them. If you do only this, then you will begin to uncover your true self.

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  5. Find mentors, people you admire, who have lived the lives you see yourself in, at least in part, and ask yourself, what did they do to get there? What did they lose? What did it cost? Then, with virtue in mind, do likewise.

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