Thursday

December 17

THUS Demetrius said to Nero: "You sentence me to death and nature, you!" If I place my admiration on body, I give myself up for a slave; if on an estate, the same; for I immediately betray myself how I may be taken. Just as when a snake pulls in his head, I say, strike that part of him which he guards: and be you assured, that whatever you show a desire to guard, there your master will attack you. Remember but this, whom will you any longer flatter or fear?

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book i. §25, ¶3.

"BUT your head will be taken off." And will his own always remain on; or yours, who obey him? — "But you will be thrown out unburied." If I am the corpse, I shall be thrown out; but if I am something else than the corpse, speak more handsomely, as the thing is, and do not think to fright me. These things are frightful to children and fools.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iv. §7, ¶5.

2 comments:

  1. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:21. This is why understanding that only Virtue is good and desirable is at the core of Stoicism. It is truly the only thing that we can be sure of keeping to our deaths. And beyond, if there is aught else after death.

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  2. Once again we are on the theme of death and it's inevitability in nature. I see another theme creeping into these readings though, that of desire and deifying certain aspects and "things" in our life. If we hold things to have too much value we can be "attacked" by the deprivation of those things.

    We need to hold things as having value but not a value that is out of balance with reality. The only things that have true worth are virtue and principles that hold our moral compass to true North. It is when the desire for possessions over comes our desire for righteous action and living that we are undone and debased in our character.

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