“Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things. Death, for instance, is not terrible,…But the terror consists in our notion of death that it is terrible. When therefore we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved, let us never attribute it to others, but to ourselves; that is, to our own principles. An uninstructed person will lay the fault of his own bad condition upon others. Someone just starting instruction will lay the fault on himself. Some who is perfectly instructed will place blame neither on others nor on himself.” – Epictetus, Enchiridion, 135 A.D.
I’d like to thank my brother-in-law, A.J. for turning me on to Epictetus and Stoicism, it is a fascinating philosophy and has helped me round out my own views that I found reflected in many of the core concepts. Truth is everywhere and all truth belongs to the Saints; we do ourselves an eternal injustice by willingly limiting our exposure to knowledge. That said, Epictetus wasn’t 100% doctrinally correct, but there are many great nuggets of wisdom.
First off, let me help you with the pronunciation, first we’ve got Epictetus (e-peek-ti-tos) and then Enchiridion (en-kahy-rid-ee-uh) which is “often shortened to simply “The Handbook”, is a short manual of Stoic ethical advice compiled by Arrian, who had been a pupil of Epictetus at the beginning of the 2nd century.” [via Wiki]
Read and enjoy!
1. Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one wordRead Full Post
Below is an excerpt of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” with a few minor edits I’ve introduced.
[Socrates] And now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened: – Behold! human beings living in carpeted caves of their own making, which has a front door open towards the light and reaching all down the hallway; here they have been from their childhood, and have their hands chained to remote controls, video game controllers, computers and mobile devices and can only see what is directly before them. Above and behind them are broadcasters disseminating information at a distance, and between these broadcasters and the prisoners – I mean, people – there is a screen, much like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets.
[Glaucon] I see.
[Socrates] And do you see, I said, men, women, animals, sports, pornography, preachers, programming, games and entertainment all appear on these screens.
[Glaucon] You have shown me a strange image, and they are strange prisoners, er, people.
[Socrates] Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only pixels, appearing on their screens as intended by the broadcasters.
[Glaucon] True, he said; how could they see anything but the pixelsRead Full Post