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The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness

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Epictetus was born into slavery about 55 C.E. in the eastern outreaches of the Roman Empire. Sold as a child and crippled from the beatings of his master, Epictetus was eventually freed, rising from his humble roots to establish an influential school of Stoic philosophy. Stressing that human beings cannot control life, only how they respond to it, Epictetus dedicated his life to outlining the simple way to happiness, fulfillment, and tranquility. By putting into practice the ninety-three witty, wise, and razor-sharp instructions that make up The Art of Living, readers learn to successfully meet the challenges of everyday life and face life's inevitable losses and disappointments with grace.

Epictetus's teachings rank among the greatest wisdom texts of human civilization. Sharon Lebell presents this esteemed philosopher's invaluable insights for the first time in a splendidly down-to-earth rendition. The result is the West's first and best primer for living the best possible life -- as helpful in the twenty-first century as it was in the first.

128 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 125

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Epictetus

340 books1,659 followers
Epictetus was a Greek Stoic philosopher. He was probably born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia (present day Pamukkale, Turkey), and lived in Rome until his exile to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece, where he lived most of his life and died. His teachings were noted down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses. Philosophy, he taught, is a way of life and not just a theoretical discipline. To Epictetus, all external events are determined by fate, and are thus beyond our control, but we can accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. Individuals, however, are responsible for their own actions which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline. Suffering arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable, or from neglecting what is within our power. As part of the universal city that is the universe, human beings have a duty of care to all fellow humans. The person who followed these precepts would achieve happiness.

Other language versions:
Epictète
Epícteto
Epiktet

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Profile Image for Amir Tesla.
161 reviews655 followers
February 10, 2021
Stoic philosophy is concerned with preserving our serenity and happiness regardless of any situation or circumstances. Be it loosing your fame and wealth or you beloved ones ...

This book which present the teachings of stoic philosopher "Epictetus", is filled with practical wisdom, many of which constitute the foundation of many books I've read or many sayings you and I have heard. Not only books and sayings, teachings of Epictetus I can't help but to notice is the foundation of prominent fields such as "Cognitive Therapy" and "Positive Psychology".

Stoic Philosophy, I've come to believe is an effective recipe for a happy and tranquil life. The thing that makes me more oriented towards stoic philosophy with respect to its similar Eastern teachings (Zen Buddhism) is their emphasis on employing logic and reason.

-How do I live a happy, fulfilling life?
-How can I be a good person?
These were to questions with which Epictetus was obsessed and this book envelops his life-long earned wisdom to answer them.

The art of living, embodies the teachings of Epictetus whose original material were presented in his works: "The Discourses" and "Enchiridion" while the translator aims at simplifying the language to capture the modern audience.
Here are some nuggets of wisdom I found compelling:

I. Know what you can control and what you can't
This principle is the essence of stoicism. There are things we have control over and things we do not (like our look, conditions are life, family etc.) and roots of suffering lies in focusing on the things we have no control over.

II. Stick to your own business
Focus your attention entirely on what is truly your own concern.
You will be truly free and effective, for you efforts will be put to good use and won't be foolishly squandered finding fault with or opposing others.
III. See things for what they are
This is one of my favorites in which it is advised: Events happen as they do. People behave as they are. Embrace what you actually get.
When something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it; you can either accept it or resent it. What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them. It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance.
IV. Events don't hurt us, but our views of them can
We cannot choose our external circumstance, but we can always choose how we respond to them.

VI. Make full use of what happens to you
This is a great one. Each and every one of us have amazing potential laying dormant within us. The trials and hardships we endure can and should introduce us to our strength.
On the occasion of an accidental event, don’t just react in a haphazard fashion: Remember to turn inward and ask what resources you have for dealing with it. Dig deeply. You possess strengths you might not realize you have. Find the right one. Use it


VII. Confirm your wishes to reality
Another favorite of mine.
We are ultimately controlled by that which bestows what we seek or removes what we don’t want. If it’s freedom you seek, then wish nothing and shun nothing that depends on others, or you will always be a helpless slave.
Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control ...

VIII. No one can hurt you
If someone irritates you, it is only your own response that is irritating you. Therefore, when anyone seems to be provoking you, remember that it is only your judgment of the incident that provokes you. Don't let your emotions get ignited by mere appearances.

IX. Make the will of nature your own
This is another major principle stoicism. Behaving in accordance with the will of nature. But what does it mean? We must first lean it, Study and pay attention to it then make it our own.
The will of nature is revealed to us through everyday experiences common to all people. For example, if a neighbor’s child breaks a bowl, or some similar thing, we readily say, “These things happen.” When your own bowl breaks, you should respond in the same way as when another person’s bowl breaks.
.Remember how you feel when you hear the same thing concerning other people. Transfer that feeling to your own current circumstances. Learn to accept events, even death, with intelligence.

X. Don't defend your reputation or intentions
Don't be afraid of verbal abuse or criticism. Only the morally weak feel compelled to defent or explain themselves to others. Let the quality of your deeds speak on your behalf.

XI. Other selected nuggets of wisdom
- When we succumb to whining, we diminish our possibilities.

- Arrogance is the banal mask for cowardice.
- Clear thinking and self-importance cannot logically coexist.

- Don't listen to what people say. Watch what they do and evaluate the attendant consequences.
- Don't just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person.

- One of two things will happen when you socialize with others. You either become like your companions, or you bring them over to your own ways.

- Forgive yourself over and over and over again. Then try to do better next time ... :)
- Goodness in and of itself is the practice and the reward.




The final word
All in all, this was a book filled with timeless, practical wisdom, practice of which ensures, happiness, tranquility and prosperity. This book is a manual that must be at hand and reviewed from time to time. I profoundly enjoyed it and definitely recommend to all my beloved friends. Actually, I'm going to hunt down the translation of this book in Persian and give it as invaluable gift to my dear friends. Finally, bare in mind that "Living wisdom is more important than knowing about it."
Profile Image for Valeriu Gherghel.
Author 6 books1,149 followers
December 28, 2021
Ceea ce frapează în preceptele celor doi filosofi stoici este simplitatea lor, bunul simț, naturalețea. Toată lumea exclamă cu grăbire: „Dar știu deja aceste îndemnuri triviale, nu e nevoie să-i citesc pe Epictet, pe Seneca, pe Marcus Aurelius, mă descurc și fără ei...”. Și atunci - mă întreb - de ce nu le urmează? Ce-i împiedică să devină niște „stoici” practicanți?

Așadar, problema nu e că toată lumea știe despre ce e vorba în scrierile stoicilor, problema e că nimeni, dar nimeni, nu încearcă să le asimileze și, firește, să le pună în practică. Oare de ce? Mai simplu nu se poate: pentru că multe îndemnuri implică (totuși, totuși...) o schimbare semnificativă a modului comun de a gîndi și de a fi, o ieșire din obiceiurile nocive (devenite, de mult, rutină confortabilă). Să citim două fragmente.

Mai întîi, unul din Manualul lui Epictet (50 - 135):

„Aceasta este poziția și caracterul omului de rînd: niciodată nu așteaptă folosul sau paguba de la el însuși, ci de la cei din afară. Poziția și felul de a fi al filosofului este să aștepte orice folos și pagubă de la el însuși. Caracteristicile celui care face progrese în înțelepciune:
- Nu critică pe nimeni,
- Nu învinuiește pe nimeni,
- Nu vorbește nimic despre el, considerîndu-se cineva [o somitate, un influencer, n. m.] sau trăind cu impresia că știe ceva.
- Ori de cîte ori se află într-o încurcătură sau în fața unei piedici, se consideră numai pe el responsabil.
- Chiar dacă îl laudă vreunul, el rîde în sinea lui de cel care îl laudă [și îl lingușește]...
- Chiar dacă îl critică cineva, nu se apără.
- Se supraveghează sub toate aspectele, întocmai ca oamenii slăbiți de boală...
- Smulge orice dorință exagerată din el,
- Își urmează dorințele cu moderație.
- Iar dacă este considerat prost sau ignorant, nu se neliniștește.
- Într-un cuvînt, se păzește de el însuși ca de un dușman dornic să-l atragă în cursă” (Manualul, 71, traducere de D. Burtea, pp.33-34, am modificat ușor versiunea lui Burtea, pentru a face textul mai limpede).

În fine, cîteva fraze din Marcus Aurelius (121 - 180):

„Cînd vei încerca oare bucuria că ești un om simplu? Cînd vei prețui cu adevărat măreția pe care ți-o dă demnitatea [unui adevărat înțelept]? Cînd vei gusta mulțumirea produsă de cunoaștere?

Un păianjen se mîndrește că a vînat o muscă, un om că a prins un sărman iepure, un altul că a reușit să pescuiască o biată zglăvoacă [pește mic, de culoare cenușie, cu capul turtit, fără solzi, care trăiește în apele de munte, n. m.], un altul că a vînat un porc mistreț, altul fiindcă vînează urși... Dacă ai analiza minuțios felul de a gîndi al fiecărui individ, nu i-ai socoti pe toți niște tîlhari?” (Către sine, X: 9-11; p.208, traducere de M. Peucescu și D. Burtea - ușor modificată).

„Începe o dată pentru totdeauna să fii om...” (Către sine, XI: 18, p.229).
Profile Image for فؤاد.
1,032 reviews1,677 followers
April 2, 2017
کتابچه ای کوتاه مشتمل بر اندرزهای اپیکتتوس، فیلسوف رواقی معروف.
تازگی ها به رواقی ها علاقه مند شدم، به خاطر موضوعات مورد علاقه شون، که خیلی شبیه موضوعات مورد علاقه ی شوپنهاوره: این که چطور می تونیم زندگی بدون رنج، و با آرامش خاطری داشته باشیم. هر چند بعضی از روش هاشون عجیب و غریبه، اما اون قدر واقعگران که آدم رو متحیر می کنن.
این کتاب نمونه ای عالی از این واقعگرایی و ژرف بینیه.

این کتاب شاید سخت گیر بیاد. به خاطر همین نسخه ای که خودم خوندم رو میذارم اینجا، برای ��ستفاده ی دوستان.
دانلود کتاب اندرزهای اپیکتتوس
Profile Image for Valeriu Gherghel.
Author 6 books1,149 followers
May 9, 2022
Există cărți de citit (cele mai multe) și există cărți de re-citit (foarte puține). Manualul lui Epictet face parte, neîndoielnic, din grupul cărților de re-citit.

Epictet a fost un filosof oral. Ca și Socrate, n-a scris nimic. Se deosebește de Seneca, înaintașul lui, care a fost obsedat de vanitatea scrisului și de admirația publicului. Epictet a detestat zarva (acum se numește glorie), Seneca nu s-a ferit de ea. A căutat-o dinadins. În schimb, Epictet a urmat un îndemn venerabil: „Trăiește bine cel care știe să se ascundă bine / Trăiește bine cel care preferă obscuritatea / Trăiește bine cel care își păstrează anonimatul” (un vers din Tristia lui Ovidiu sună precum urmează: „bene qui latuit bene vixit”).

Printr-un hazard, deținem preceptele lui Epictet. Unul dintre auditorii lui, Flavius Arrian, le-a consemnat. Deși oriental (din Asia Mică), Epictet a trăit multă vreme la Roma, l-a ascultat pe filosoful Musonius Rufus, îl citise cu siguranță pe Seneca. Pentru el limba filosofiei a rămas, totuși, greaca. Manualul (encheiridion de la substantivul feminin χείρ, χειρός, ἡ = mînă) e redactat în grecește.

Încă din timpul lui Nero, în Roma s-a constituit o „opoziție stoică”. Reacția lui Nero n-a întîrziat. Gînditorii stoici au fost exilați (ca Musonius Rufus) sau condamnați la moarte (ca Seneca ori Thrasea Poetus). Nici Vespasian nu a fost mai blînd. În fine, printr-un decret celebru (semnat în anul 94 e.n.), Domitian i-a alungat pe toți filosofii din oraș. Epictet s-a retras în Epir și a înființat o „școală” la Nikopolis. Ucenicii nu plăteau nici o taxă. Fiecare contribuia cu ce putea. Epictet păstra pentru sine, o saltea de paie și o băncuță. Pentru a fi senin și împăcat, nu ai nevoie de mai mult.

Învățăturile lui Epictet (ca și cele ale lui Seneca sau Musonius Rufus) sînt exprimate, adesea, la imperativ. A trăi bine constituie o urgență pentru toți. Nu mai e timp de silogisme, de jocuri logice, de sofisme (îl iritau și pe Seneca). Filosofia trebuie adusă din ceruri pe pămînt, cum a procedat Socrate. Așa se explică mulțimea preceptelor și frecvența lui „trebuie” în textele stoicilor.

Principiul de bază e formulat încă de la început: „Din toate cele ce sînt, unele depind de noi, altele nu depind de noi. De noi depind gîndul, avîntul, pornirea, respingerea şi, într-un cuvînt, cîte sînt lucrurile noastre; nu depind de noi trupul, proprietatea, faima, funcţiile şi, într-un cuvînt, cîte nu sînt lucrurile noastre” (p.14).

Prin urmare, nu depind de noi: anul și locul nașterii, culoarea ochilor, inteligența, ce cred și ce spun alții despre persoana nostră, ziua morții etc. De noi depind buna dispoziție, cumpătarea, liniștea sufletească, imaginea de sine, indiferența cu care trebuie să întîmpinăm nenorocirile, privirea critică, scepticismul. Mai mult: de noi depinde simțămîntul de a fi liberi. Deși un astfel de principiu pare simplu și pe înțelesul tuturor, prea puțini îl aplică.

În încheiere, aș mai cita un îndemn: „De vrei să mergi înainte, mulţumeşte-te să pari fără minte şi sărac cu duhul, să nu vrei să pari deştept: iar dacă cineva te crede deştept, îndoieşte-te de tine” (p.22).
Profile Image for Valeriu Gherghel.
Author 6 books1,149 followers
November 22, 2022
Învățăturile stoicului Epictet (50 - 135) au fost consemnate de ucenicii lui: s-au păstrat notele lui Arrian. Sclav eliberat (de Epaphroditos, unul dintre secretarii lui Nero), Epictet a trăit din lecțiile date discipolilor. Cînd filosofii au fost izgoniți din Roma (în anul 93), s-a stabilit într-o localitate din Grecia. În această însemnare, mă voi mărgini să citez și să comentez una dintre „dogmele” stoicilor:

„Din toate cele ce sînt, unele depind de noi, altele nu. De noi depind opinia, impulsul de a acționa, dorința, aversiunea; într-un cuvînt, cele ce sînt ale noastre. Nu depind de noi trupul, posesiunile, judecățile celorlalți despre noi, faima, demnitățile...”, așadar, cele ce nu sînt ale noastre. E atît de simplu...

Nu știm niciodată cît de puțin posedăm. Și nici nu acceptăm asta. Faptul că acumulăm fără noimă bunuri materiale ne dă impresia că totul ar fi în puterea noastră. Din păcate, nici măcar viața noastră nu este cea mai sigură posesie. Sîntem consecința unui hazard (n-am hotărît în ce veac să ne naștem și nici în ce loc de pe globul pămîntesc) și nu rezultatul necesității, chiar dacă Nietzsche, în Ecce homo, se considera o „ființă necesară”. Nu ne ocrotește nici un destin.

Totul ne scapă. Nu putem opri venirea nopții, a bătrîneții, nu putem schimba ordinea anotimpurilor. Și, mai ales, nu sîntem în stare să modificăm părerile celorlalți despre noi. Tot ceea ce avem se rezumă la opiniile noastre cu privire la noi înșine. E bine să ne ferim de a-i judeca pe ceilalți. E o pierdere de vreme. Iar părerea lor despre noi e treaba lor, nicidecum a noastră.
Profile Image for Amira Mahmoud.
618 reviews8,113 followers
February 10, 2017
سأخبركم سرًا؛ أنا أكره كل ما هو مثاليّ وكل ما يسعى إلى أن يكون كذلك، كل ما هو كامل وكل ما يسعى إلى أن يكون كذلك.
كل فلسفة/أيدلوجية/مذهب/ديانة تسعى إلى هدف واحد وهو جعل العالم أفضل ولو قليلاً مما هو عليه الآن، هذه الفلسفات تحترمها، تأخذها على محمل الجد، تقرأ كل منها وتنقدها وتفاضل بينها وبين الأخريات بينما تلك التي تسعى إلى جعل العالم هو "الأفضل" آراها كمأساة!
هذا العالم، تلك اليوتيوبيا التي نحلم أن يتحول لها يومًا لن تحدث، سيظل العالم يحمل كل الأضداد بداخل أحشاؤه، سيظل يتصارع بداخله كل ما هو خيّر وكل ما هو شرير، وسيظل هذا هو ما يجعل له معنى حتى لو لم يتصارع كل منهما بتوازن وحتى وإن انتصر الشر كما يقولون، تلك هي طبيعة العالم وذلك هو قانونه، حين تأتي لتخبرني أن كسر هذا ا��قانون، ومقاومة هذه الطبيعة سيجعل من العالم هو "الأفضل" لا تنتظر مني حتى مجرد النقد، لا شيء إلا السخرية.

لا أعلم الكثير عن الفلسفة الرواقية، ولا عن فلاسفتها فلم اقرأ عنها سوى فصل كتبه راسل في كتابه تاريخ الفلسفة الغربية؛ الفلسفة القديمة ثم فصل عن سينيكا في كتاب عزاءات الفلسفة، وبخلاف اقتراحات الأصدقاء للقراءة لماركوس إيريليوس التي بدأت تنهال عليّ منذ بدأت قراءة المختصر لإبكتيتوس فلم يكن لديّ من المعرفة عنها الكثير وبعد ما قرأت لا أرغب حتى في تكوين تلك المعرفة لذا سأكتفي بنقد أفكار أبكتيتوس، ولن أدعي أن نقدي هذا يشمل الفلسفة الرواقية ككل فالبعض يقول أن الفلسفة الرواقية عنده لم تكن بالنضج الكافي.

يقول أبكتيتوس أنه عليك ألا ترغب في تلك الأشياء التي ليس بيديك الحصول عليها، ألا تحزن حين تفقد شيئًا أو حين يعوزك شيئًا ولا تستطيع الحصول عليه؛ وألا تحزن حين تبتلى وألا تجزع.
ذلك الذي يجعل من الإنسان جماد، لا غرائز ورغبات، ولا حتى مجرد شعور؛ يرغب في أن يحمله ثقل أكثر مما يحتمل.
ذلك لن يجعلك منك قديسًا، ولن يجعل منك إنسانًا خيّر، هو فقط سيجعلك شخص بهواجس شتى يرغب في كبحها والتخلص منها، شخص غير سويّ لا يتقبل رغباته كجزء لا يتجزأ منه عليه ألا يستسلم لها بشكل مطلق وألا يكبحها بشكل مطلق، ستجعلك تلك الفلسفة إنسان يصارع رغباته وعيوبه كما لو كان يصارع شيطان مجسد.

في كثير من المواضع تنطلق نصائح أبكتيتوس من دافع ديني، ذلك الذي جعلني في كثير من المواضع أشعر كما لو أنني أقرأ مزيج من اللاهوت المسيحي والصوفية الإسلامية بخلاف أن ها هنا الإله هو زيوس حينًا وحينًا آخر هو الآلهة لكن تبقى فلسفة التقشف، التواكل، النظر إلى الحياة بنظرة لامبالية يعتقد هؤلاء أنها تُسمى زهد هي فلسفة رديئة إلى الحد الذي أخجل فيه حين أعتبرها فلسفة.

ترجمة عادل مصطفى جيدة كلغة، جيدة في إيصال المعنى بشكل سهل الهضم حتى أنه يدل على هضمه هو نفسه للمضمون لكنه مترجم سيء في عرض المحتوى بشكل منظم وجيد؛ الكثير من التكرار على مدار محتوى الكتاب الصغير، والكثير من اقتباسات وجمل إسلامية وعربية لم أستسيغ وجودها حتى وإن كانت ملائمة للغاية للموضوع.
عشوائية السرد؛ تارة تجده يتحدث وتارة أخرى تجد الحديث على لسان أبكتيتوس، وتارة يتداخل الأثنان بشكل تشعر معه بالتيه.

أحببت بعض الأقتباسات حين اقتطعتها من سياق فلسفتها الرديء في نظري.

وفي رأيي؛ تلك الفلسفة للمساكين!

تمّت
Profile Image for أيمن العتوم.
Author 29 books11.8k followers
August 15, 2018
من أمتع الكتب التي قرأتُها للفيلسوف الرواقي "إبكيتيتوس"
يفلسف الموت والحياة وموقف الإنسان منهما، والسيّد والعبد، وهو مليء بالحكمة التي تبدو كمنارةٍ في ظلمات الحياة، يتسامَى بالنفس حتى ترى كل عرضٍ زائلاً لم يكنْ يومًا لها.
يبدو كل شيءٍ في الحياة وديعةً مُستردّة، وأمانةً سوف نُسْأَل عنها. إبكيتيتوس في (المختصر) و (المحادثات) وماركوس أوريليوس في (التأمّلات) من أهمّ الفلاسفة الذين تلمذتُ لهم.
Profile Image for Marcus.
311 reviews288 followers
July 29, 2009
Stoicism according to Epictetus, is:
Don't demand that things happen as you wish, but wish that they happen as they do happen, and you will go on well.

and:
If you ever happen to turn your attention to externals, so as to wish to please anyone, be assured that you have ruined your scheme of life.

My favorite quote, maybe because it's so personally relevant and so incisive, is, and bear with Epictetus, this one is a bit long-winded:
In every affair consider what precedes and follows, and then undertake it. Otherwise you will begin with spirit; but not having thought of the consequences, when some of them appear you will shamefully desist. "I would conquer at the Olympic games." But consider what precedes and follows, and then, if it is for your advantage, engage in the affair. You must conform to rules, submit to a diet, refrain from dainties; exercise your body, whether you choose it or not, at a stated hour, in heat and cold; you must drink no cold water, nor sometimes even wine. [...:] When you have evaluated all this, if your inclination still holds, then go to war. Otherwise, take notice, you will behave like children who sometimes play like wrestlers, sometimes gladiators, sometimes blow a trumpet, and sometimes act a tragedy when they have seen and admired these shows. Thus you too will be at one time a wrestler, at another a gladiator, now a philosopher, then an orator; but with your whole soul, nothing at all. Like an ape, you mimic all you see, and one thing after another is sure to please you, but is out of favor as soon as it becomes familiar.

At other times, his advice is a little harder to swallow:
If, for example, you are fond of a specific ceramic cup, remind yourself that it is only ceramic cups in general of which you are fond. Then, if it breaks, you will not be disturbed. If you kiss your child, or your wife, say that you only kiss things which are human, and thus you will not be disturbed if either of them dies.

The overall approach to life reminds me a lot of Eastern philosophy's non-striving which I've found to be practical and beneficial. I think Epictetus captures well the balance between a complete lack of ambition and allowing ambition and materialism to consume you.
Profile Image for Moeen Sahraei.
29 reviews23 followers
December 11, 2021
This is a wonderful concise book written by one of the most wisest stoics, or we can even say one of the most wisest people who have ever lived, Epictetus. Being a slave for a noticeable share of his life, he experienced so many personal and social irritating situations which made him to think about how we can live a good,happy and decent life in spite of numerous difficulties and disappointments in life. Epictetus-like other stoics sages- found out that we are damaged mostly not by external events, but from our interpretations and judgements about them. Same events can produce so many different feelings in people with different personalities. Some people see difficulties in their lives as challenges, while others interpret them as obstacles. Some people can cope easily with defeat and maintain their confidence, while others are always moaning about their frustrations and blaming external conditions. We have seen innumerable cases which proves this idea that our positive emotions such as long-term happiness, satisfaction and ... or negative emotions like anxiety, depression, anger, sadness and etc are generated from within, not from outside events alone. So your financial or social status don’t determine your inner condition, but you do.
Epictetus advise us to train our minds and our souls to be independent from external events and make satisfaction from within. By doing this we achieve two highly precious outcomes. The first is that we can obtain inner serenity and tranquility because when you keep practicing stoicism you will eliminate more and more negative emotions from your daily life and this alone can bring you a happy life with a peaceful mind. The second outcome is that you can use your days in the best way possible, because if you adopt the right attitude toward life, you won’t waste your time pursuing what just appear good but inherently detrimental, such as fame and fortune and you also won’t waste your time moaning or thinking about your disappointments. When you become free from these negative thoughts and false desires, you are able to follow what is truly valuable, which is ethical and spiritual progress and by doing that you can benefit yourself and everyone you are related to. This is the most valuable life anyone can experience. A life full of integrity, tranquility, kindness, helping people, and spiritual progress.
I recommend this book to literally everyone.


Profile Image for Vaishali.
1,025 reviews256 followers
February 13, 2018
I maintain the oldest writings are the absolute best. A fantastic collection of 52 maxims (#29 seems to be missing), as timeless as they are wise.

Some quotes:
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#1. Some things are in our control and others are not. Work, therefore, to be able to say to every harsh appearance, “You are but an appearance, and not absolutely the thing you appear to be.”

#5. Do not be proud of any excellence that is not yours. If a horse thinks “I am handsome”, that is acceptable. But if you the owner boasts “I have a handsome horse”, know that you are elated only on the merit of the horse. Take pride, then, only in some good of your own.

#8. Do not demand that things happen as you wish. Wish them to happen as they do happen, and you will be well.

#9. Sickness is an impediment to the body, but not to the will… Say this with regard to everything.

#11. Never say of anything “I lost it”. Say instead “I restored it.” Has your child died? It is restored. Someone else permits you to have it, so hold it as if it is not yours, like travelers at an inn.

#12. Say to yourself, “This is the price paid for peace and tranquility, and nothing is free.”

#15. Always behave like you are at a banquet. Take a moderate share. Has something not come yet? Do not yearn for it; wait for it to come to you.

#16. You are an actor in a drama. If you should enact a poor man, see that you act it well… or a cripple, or a ruler, or a private citizen.

#18. Say “Whatever happens, it is up to me to derive advantage from it.”

#26. "When the neighbor’s boy has broken a cup, you at once say “Such things happen.” When your own cup breaks, you should react likewise. Apply this to bigger things. Has another’s wife or child died? All say “That’s life.” But when our own child dies, why say “How wretched am I!” ?

#27. A target is not set up for the goal of missing an aim.

#30. Another cannot hurt you, unless you so please.

#32. First clearly understand that every event is indifferent, and nothing to you, for it is always in your power to make right use of it, and this no one can hinder.

#33. Begin by prescribing to yourself some character or demeanor that you may preserve both alone and in company. Be mostly silent, speaking only what is needful, in a few words. Avoid public and vulgar entertainment. Be assured that a throughly pure person can be contaminated by conversing with a corrupt person. It is unnecessary to make public appearances, but if you must, do not appear solicitous for anything other than yourself. Wish only that things be as they are, and that the best man wins. In society, avoid frequently mentioning your actions.

#38. While walking we are careful not to step on a nail or sprain our foot, so likewise take care not to hurt the ruling faculty of the mind. If we were to guard against this in each act, we’d enter events more safely.

#41. Is is a mark of the inferior intellect to spend too much time on the body, being immoderate in exercise, eating, drinking, and other animalistic functions. Such things should be done incidentally, and our main strength applied to reason.

#44. These statements have no interrelation: “I am richer than you, thus your superior.” “I am more eloquent than you, thus your superior.” The true, logical connections are : “I am richer than you, thus my possessions must exceed yours.” “I am more eloquent than you, thus my style must exceed yours.” But you yourself consist of neither property nor style.

#55. Does anyone drink too much? Do not say that he does ill, but that he drinks a great deal. For unless you perfectly understand his motives, how can you know if he acts ill? Thus you will not risk yielding to any appearances that you do not fully comprehend.

#56. Do not make much talk among the ignorant about your principles, but show them in action. For sheep do not vomit grass to show the shepherd how much they’ve eaten, but inwardly digest food and outwardly produce wool and milk.

#47. Consider how more frugal the poor are than we, how much more patient of hardship.

#50. Do not regard what anyone says of you; it is no concern of yours. What other master do you await as an excuse for delaying self-reformation? You will be negligent and slothful, always adding procrastination to procrastination, purpose to purpose, empty day after empty day, and thus you will accomplish nothing, living and dying and of vulgar mind. This instant, then, think yourself an adult. Make whatever appears to be the best an inviolable law.


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Profile Image for Jon Nakapalau.
4,754 reviews635 followers
May 19, 2018
Better than any self help book available today - so very powerful because of the simplicity of the message - focus only on that which you can control and avoid control over that which is beyond you influence.
Profile Image for Sean.
355 reviews40 followers
July 22, 2017
Great read. Felt like I highlighted practically the entire book:

First, say to yourself what you would be; then do what you have to do.

Keep your attention focused entirely on what is truly your own concern, and be clear that what belongs to others is their business and none of yours. If you do this, you will be impervious to coercion and no one can ever hold you back. You will be truly free and effective, for your efforts will be put to good use and won't be foolishly squandered finding fault with or opposing others. In knowing and attending to what actually concerns you, you cannot be made to do anything against your will; others can't hurt you, you don't incur enemies or suffer harm.

Things themselves don't hurt or hinder us. Nor do other people. How we view these things is another matter. It is our attitudes and reactions that give us trouble. Therefore even death is no big deal in and of itself. It is our notion of death, our idea that it is terrible, that terrifies us. There are so many different ways to think about death. Scrutinize your notions about death—and everything else. Are they really true? Are they doing you any good? Don't dread death or pain; dread the fear of death or pain.

Small-minded people habitually reproach others for their own misfortunes. Average people reproach themselves. Those who are dedicated to a life of wisdom understand that the impulse to blame something or someone is foolishness, that there is nothing to be gained in blaming, whether it be others or oneself.

Small-minded people habitually reproach others for their own misfortunes. Average people reproach themselves. Those who are dedicated to a life of wisdom understand that the impulse to blame something or someone is foolishness, that there is nothing to be gained in blaming, whether it be others or oneself.

Never depend on the admiration of others. There is no strength in it. Personal merit cannot be derived from an external source. It is not to be found in your personal associations, nor can it be found in the regard of other people. It is a fact of life that other people, even people who love you, will not necessarily agree with your ideas, understand you, or share your enthusiasms. Grow up! Who cares what other people think about you!

It's much better to die of hunger unhindered by grief and fear than to live affluently beset with worry, dread, suspicion, and unchecked desire.

Spiritual progress requires us to highlight what is essential and to disregard everything else as trivial pursuits unworthy of our attention. Moreover, it is actually a good thing to be thought foolish and simple with regard to matters that don't concern us. Don't be concerned with other people's impressions of you. They are dazzled and deluded by appearances. Stick with your purpose. This alone will strengthen your will and give your life coherence.

Refrain from trying to win other people's approval and admiration. You are taking a higher road. Don't long for others to see you as sophisticated, unique, or wise. In fact, be suspicious if you appear to others as someone special. Be on your guard against a false sense of self-importance.

As you think, so you become. Avoid superstitiously investing events with power or meanings they don't have. Keep your head. Our busy minds are forever jumping to conclusions, manufacturing and interpreting signs that aren't there. Assume, instead, that everything that happens to you does so for some good. That if you decided to be lucky, you are lucky. All events contain an advantage for you — if you look for it!

Freedom is the only worthy goal in life.

Your happiness depends on three things, all of which are within your power: your will, your ideas concerning the events in which you are involved, and the use you make of your ideas.

Implant in Yourself the Ideals You Ought to Cherish Attach yourself to what is spiritually superior, regardless of what other people think or do. Hold to your true aspirations no matter what is going on around you.

Many people who have progressively lowered their personal standards in an attempt to win social acceptance and life's comforts bitterly resent those of philosophical bent who refuse to compromise their spiritual ideals and who seek to better themselves. Never live your life in reaction to these diminished souls. Be compassionate toward them, and at the same time hold to what you know is good.

Evil does not naturally dwell in the world, in events, or in people. Evil is a by-product of forgetfulness, laziness, or distraction: it arises when we lose sight of our true aim in life. When we remember that our aim is spiritual progress, we return to striving to be our best selves. This is how happiness is won.

If someone were to casually give your body away to any old passerby, you would naturally be furious. Why then do you feel no shame in giving your precious mind over to any person who might wish to influence you? Think twice before you give up your own mind to someone who may revile you, leaving you confused and upset.

A half-hearted spirit has no power. Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Average people enter into their endeavors headlong and without care.

Just as certain capacities are required for success in a particular area, so too are certain sacrifices required. If you wish to become proficient in the art of living with wisdom, do you think that you can eat and drink to excess? Do you think you can continue to succumb to anger and your usual habits of frustration and unhappiness? No. If true wisdom is your object and you are sincere, you will have work to do on yourself. You will have to overcome many unhealthy cravings and knee-jerk reactions. You will have to reconsider whom you associate with. Are your friends and associates worthy people? Does their influence—their habits, values, and behavior—elevate you or reinforce the slovenly habits from which you seek escape? The life of wisdom, like anything else, demands its price. You may, in following it, be ridiculed and even end up with the worst of everything in all parts of your public life, including your career, your social standing, and your legal position in the courts.

You can either put your skills toward internal work or lose yourself to externals, which is to say, be a person of wisdom or follow the common ways of the mediocre.

Most people tend to delude themselves into thinking that freedom comes from doing what feels good or what fosters comfort and ease. The truth is that people who subordinate reason to their feelings of the moment are actually slaves of their desires and aversions. They are ill-prepared to act effectively and nobly when unexpected challenges occur, as they inevitably will. Authentic freedom places demands on us. In discovering and comprehending our fundamental relations to one another and zestfully performing our duties, true freedom, which all people long for, is indeed possible.

The wise person knows it is fruitless to project hopes and fears on the future. This only leads to forming melodramatic representations in your mind and wasting time. At the same time, one shouldn't passively acquiesce to the future and what it holds. Simply doing nothing does not avoid risk, but heightens it.

First and foremost, think before you speak to make sure you are speaking with good purpose. Glib talk disrespects others. Breezy self-disclosure disrespects yourself. So many people feel compelled to give voice to any passing feeling, thought, or impression they have. They randomly dump the contents of their minds without regard to the consequences. This is practically and morally dangerous. If we babble about every idea that occurs to us —big and small—we can easily fritter away in the trivial currents of mindless talk ideas that have true merit. Unchecked speech is like a vehicle wildly lurching out of control and destined for a ditch.

It's not necessary to restrict yourself to lofty subjects or philosophy all the time, but be aware that the common babbling that passes for worthwhile discussion has a corrosive effect on your higher purpose. When we blather about trivial things, we ourselves become trivial, for our attention gets taken up with trivialities. You become what you give your attention to.

Most of what passes for legitimate entertainment is inferior or foolish and only caters to or exploits people's weaknesses. Avoid being one of the mob who indulges in such pastimes. Your life is too short and you have important things to do. Be discriminating about what images and ideas you permit into your mind. If you yourself don't choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will, and their motives may not be the highest. It is the easiest thing in the world to slide imperceptibly into vulgarity. But there's no need for that to happen if you determine not to waste your time and attention on mindless pap.

Respect your body’s needs. Give your body excellent care to promote its health and well-being. Give it everything it absolutely requires, including healthy food and drink, dignified clothing, and a warm and comfortable home. Do not, however, use your body as an occasion for show or luxury.

Abstain from casual sex and particularly avoid sexual intercourse before you get married. This may sound prudish or old-fashioned, but it is a time-tested way by which we demonstrate respect for ourselves and others. Sex is not a game. It gives rise to very real enduring emotional and practical consequences. To ignore this is to debase yourself, and to disregard the significance of human relationships. If, however, you know someone who has had casual sex, don't self-righteously try to win them over to your own views. An active sex life within a framework of personal commitment augments the integrity of the people involved and is part of a flourishing life.

Don't be afraid of verbal abuse or criticism. Only the morally weak feel compelled to defend or explain themselves to others. Let the quality of your deeds speak on your behalf. We can't control the impressions others form about us, and the effort to do so only debases our character. So, if anyone should tell you that a particular person has spoken critically of you, don't bother with excuses or defenses. Just smile and reply, "I guess that person doesn't know about all my other faults. Otherwise, he wouldn't have mentioned only these."

Once you have deliberated and determined that a course of action is wise, never discredit your judgment. Stand squarely behind your decision. Chances are there may indeed be people who misunderstand your intentions and who may even condemn you. But if, according to your best judgment, you are acting rightly, you have nothing to fear. Take a stand.

Once we fall, however slightly, into immoderation, momentum gathers and we can be lost to whim.

Inner Excellence Matters More Than Outer Appearance Females are especially burdened by the attention they receive for their pleasing appearance. From the time they are young, they are flattered by males or evaluated only in terms of their outward appearance. Unfortunately, this can make a woman feel suited only to give men pleasure, and her true inner gifts sadly atrophy. She may feel compelled to put great effort and time into enhancing her outer beauty and distorting her natural self to please others. Sadly, many people—both men and women — place all their emphasis on managing their physical appearance and the impression they make on others. Those who seek wisdom come to understand that even though the world may reward us for wrong or superficial reasons, such as our physical appearance, the family we come from, and so on, what really matters is who we are inside and who we are becoming.

Put your principles into practice —now. Stop the excuses and the procrastination. This is your life! You aren't a child anymore. The sooner you set yourself to your spiritual program, the happier you will be. The longer you wait, the more you will be vulnerable to mediocrity and feel filled with shame and regret, because you know you are capable of better. From this instant on, vow to stop disappointing yourself. Separate yourself from the mob. Decide to be extraordinary and do what you need to do— now.

Inner confusion and evil itself spring from ambiguity.

The first steps toward wisdom are the most strenuous, because our weak and stubborn souls dread exertion (without absolute guarantee of reward) and the unfamiliar. As you progress in your efforts, your resolve is fortified and self-improvement progressively comes easier. By and by it actually becomes difficult to work counter to your own best interest.

Trust nothing and nobody but yourself. Be ceaselessly watchful over your beliefs and impulses.

Take care not to casually discuss matters that are of great importance to you with people who are not important to you. Your affairs will become drained of preciousness. You undercut your own purposes when you do this. This is especially dangerous when you are in the early stages of an undertaking. Other people feast like vultures on our ideas. They take it upon themselves to blithely interpret, judge, and twist what matters most to you, and your heart sinks. Let your ideas and plans incubate before you parade them in front of the naysayers and trivializers. Most people only know how to respond to an idea by pouncing on its shortfalls rather than identifying its potential merits. Practice self-containment so that your enthusiasm won't be frittered away.
Profile Image for Mohammad Ali Shamekhi.
1,096 reviews233 followers
June 7, 2016

تکیه ی این رساله چنانکه از نخستین بند آن نیز مشخص است، تأکید بر محدودیت توانایی بشری است - به بیان دیگر امور از دو دسته خارج نیستند یا در دستان مایند یا خارج از توان ما؛ آنچه حقیقتا در سلطه ی ما قرار دارد امور درونی - یعنی نیات و آرزوها و ... - است و نه امور بیرونی - تن و مال و ... . آدمی باید دلبستگی و تعلق خاطر و آرزو نسبت به آنچه از آن او نیست را از وجود خود حذف کند تا بتواند با آرامش خاطر ب�� زندگی ادامه دهد. با دلبریدن از امور خارج از خود می توان مقرون به آزادی و آسایش زیست و این همان زندگی حکیمانه است. مبنای این سخن آن است که امور به خودی خود تشویش برانگیز نیستند بلکه مواجهه ی ما با آنها است که تشویش زایشان می کند. در همین راستا اپیکتتوس منکر وجود شر ذاتی در جهان است - دلیل او آن است که هر چیزی غایتی دارد و هیچ چیز را توان عدول از غایتش نیست پس آنچه شر می دانیم در واقع در حال طی مسیر طبیعی خود است

نادان، شوربختیِ خویش را از دیگران داند و آنکه پای در طریق معرفت نهاده باشد نیک و بد را از خود شناسد؛ اما آنکه عارف کامل است نه خود را گناهکار و مسئول شناسد و نه دیگران را


هرگز از یاد مبر که تو شاگرد بازیگری و هر کار که استاد ترا فرمود همانت باید کرد؛ کوتاه خواهد کوتاه؛ دراز خواهد دراز. اگر گفته است بازی گدایان کن به گدایی رضا ده و اگر فرموده است لنگ باش یا حکمران یا مردی عادی باش، همان باش! بر تو است که بازی خویش نیکو به انجام رسانی؛ گزیدن بازی و تعیینِ کارِ هر یک از بازیگران با دیگری است

آدمی تنها باید از امور خلاف طبیعت کراهت داشته باشد، آن هم فقط در مورد چیزهایی که در سلطه ی اویند. ممکن است پرسیده شود امر طبیعی چیست؟ اپیکتتوس امر طبیعی را آن احکامی می داند که در قضاوت خود در مورد دیگران از آن بهره می بریم - مثلا می بینیم کسی مرده و برای تسلی به بازماندگان می گوییم مرگ حق است؛ پس اگر مثلا همسر خودمان هم مرد باید همان حرف را به خود بزنیم و بدانیم که این چیزی است طبیعی. این تعریف از امر طبیعی شباهت هایی با قاعده ی طلائی مشهور دارد اما ظاهرا یکی نیست

اپیکتتوس بر دوگانگی روح و تن تأکید دارد؛ چنانکه می گوید ضعف اراده ارتباطی با بیماری بدن ندارد و می توان بیمار بود و اراده بر پذیرفتن سختی ها داشت. اصولا او معتقد است همه ی اموری که از آن ما نیستند - که تن را نیز شامل است - تنها اماناتی نزد مایند. از همین رو اگر از دستشان دادیم تنها باید بگوییم صاحبشان آنها را پس گرفته است

بدان که اراده ی خویش را بر وفاق طبیعت داشتن و در کار معاش نیز مراقبت کردن، بهم راست نیایند و ضرورتا به هر یک که روی آری، آن دیگر از دست بشود

اپیکتتوس بنیاد مهمی برای این خوشبینی ها نسبت به طبیعت دارد و آن اینکه خدایانی عادل در پس این جهان حکم رانی می کنند. او به نظام احسن بودن عالم معتقد است. او حتی عمل به اقتضای طبیعت را نوعی وظیفه ی الهی می داند. البته او معتقد نیست که فیلسوف مقام هادی جامعه را نیز داشته باشد - به این معنا که می گوید فیلسوف نباید از فلسفه اش حرفی بزند بلکه باید بدان عمل کند. فیلسوف تنها باید برای خود فیلسوف باشد و بقیه تنها ثمرات فلسفه اش را ببینند. او معتقد است نفس وجود فیلسوف خویشتن دار برای جامع مفید است و نباید او کار دیگری انجام دهد

مگر پنداری که چون در سلک حکیمان درآیی همچنان توانی خورد و توانی خفت، و میل و کراهیت تو به همان چیزها باشد که پیش تر بودی؟ هیهات! باید بی خوابی ها و رنج های گران و فراق اهل و عیال تحمل کنی و از غلامی حقیر اهانت بینی و رهگذران ترا افسوس کنند و همه جا زیردست باشی چه در جاه و مخفرت چه در محضر قضات و غیره... بعبارة اخری فیلسوف بودن و فیلسوف نبودن در شقاقند و بهم نتوانند آمد

تقدیرگرایی نسبی از یک سو و اذعان به فهم ناقص مردمان از سوی دیگر، اپیکتتوس را به تسامح و تساهل می کشاند. او معتقد است نباید مردمان را به گونه ای اخلاقی قضاوت کرد بلکه صرفا باید به توصیف واقعیت ها پرداخت زیرا ما از علل انجام امور توسط مردم ناآگاهیم و چه بسا کاری خاص از دید کسی معقول و از دید کس دیگری نامعقول باشد؛ حکم واقعی کردن به جای حکم اخلاقی بدان معنا است که مثلا دزد یا زناکار یا ... را آدم بدی ندانیم بلکه بگوییم این دزدی یا زنا یا ... فلان تبعات را دارد

او فلسفه را سه بخش می داند: نخست، عمل اخلاقی؛ دوم علم به علل اخلاقی بودن یا نبودن امور - چیزی مثل فلسفه ی اخلاق -؛ و سوم علم به چگونگی استدلال و شرایط آن - چیزی همچون منطق. او صراحتا بخش نخست را مهم ترین بخش می شمارد و معتقد است سومی در خدمت دومی و دومی در خدمت اولی است. برای همین به کسانی که به دو مرحله ی آخری اکتفا کرده اند اما عمل اخلاقی ندارند می تازد. او به طعنه به کسانی اشاره می کند که به خود می بالند زیرا می توانند مشکلات کتاب خروسیپوس - فیلسوف رواقی مشهور - را دریابند؛ اپیکتتوس معتقد است اگر خروسیپوس کتابش را قابل فهم تر می نوشت چنین توهماتی را شاهد نبودیم. البته در عین حال او خروسیپوس را می ستاید و او را ترجمان طبیعت می داند

رفتار و اخلاق کسی که فیلسوف نیست: وی سود و زیان از خویش نجوید و از برون خواهد. رفتار و اخلاق فیلسوف: وی سود و زیان خویش جز از خویش چشم ندارد

او این سخنان را مبتنی بر عقل می داند و شخصیت بارز و پیشوای این طریق از نظر او سقراط است. از همین روست که اشاره ی او به ضرورت تعقل در مورد مقدمات و نتایج کارها قبل از انجامشان، آن سخن سقراط را به ذهن می آورد که می گوید زندگی نیازموده ارزش زیستن ندارد

اگر ... تکلیف خویش را در رفتن دانی برو و با هر پیش آمدی بردباری پیشه کن و هرگز در دل مگو: "کاشکی نیامدمی!"؛ چه این قولِ کسی است که فیلسوف نباشد و از وقایع خارجی به خشم آید

در پندهای عملی خود نیز، با اتکا به آموزه ی فاصله ی روح و تن، اکتفا به حداقل ها در زندگی را ترویج می کند و معتقد است حتی اندکی فرا رفتن از حداقل ها به معنای ورود تشویش ها و تنش ها به زندگی است و علاوه بر آن آزادی آدمی در پی آن از او سلب می شود. او فیلسوفان را از حشر و نشر با غیرفیلسوفان تحذیر و رفتن به مهمانی هایشان را تقبیح می کند

او همچنین در نکته ای به اخلاق مسیحی-کانتی نزدیک می شود، آنجا که می گوید قاعده ی طبیعت کلی است و قید ندارد از همین رو مثلا احترام به پدر یا کمک به دوست مقید به آن نیست که آنها انسان های خوبی باشند. طبیعت احترام و کمک را به طور مطلق خواسته است و آدمی نیز باید مطلقا آن را انجام دهد. او این قوانین مطلق را کمکی برای حفظ نسبت ها می داند مثل نسبت پدری یا نسبت دوستی - در فکر مسیحی نسبت فرزند خدا بودن و در جهان کانتی نسبت میان سوژه ی آزاد با سوژه ی آزاد دیگر

او در جایی بی اعتنایی به طعنه های مردم را خواستار می شود و به دو مورد از طعنه های مردم به فیلسوف - در واقع فیلسوف رواقی - اشاره می کند. به نظرم این دو مورد برای نزدیک شدن به فیلسوفان رواقی مفیدند؛ یکی از این دو آن است که مردم این فیلسوفان را فیلسوفانی نورسیده می دانند - کسانی که یک روزه فیلسوف شده اند - و دیگری آنکه مردم آنها را آدمیانی ناخرسند - و احتمالا عبوس - می شمارند. این هر دو چیزی است که عموم مردم در این فیلسوفان می دیدند: کسانی که بدون حضور در جلسات درس و آکادمی ها دعوی حکمت داشتند و همواره حالتی ناخرسند و عبوس را در چهره هایشان حفظ می کردند

اوریپیدس: کسی که طوعا - به اختیار و بدون زور - جیر را گردن نهد، به اعتقاد ما خردمند است و اسرار خدائی می داند
سقراط: اما ای کریتون! اگر خدایان چنین خواسته اند چنین باد! آنیتوس و ملیتوس - دو سخنران مخالف سقراط در دادگاه - مرا توانند کشت اما مرا رنجی نتوانند رسانید

Profile Image for Jake Adelstein.
14 reviews120 followers
January 5, 2019
No man is free who is not master of himself. -Epictetus
It's something worth remembering on the 4th of July. Independence Day.

"Forgive Over and Over and Over.""Never suppress a generous impulse." One of the greatest books of philosophy I've ever read. It is more of a reinterpretation of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus than a straight academic translation but it wonderfully conveys the wisdom of a a great philosopher who was born a slave. If you ever find yourself at a point in your life when everything is out of your control, this book is wonderfully soothing. We can't control all the events in our lives, but we can choose how we react to them. Sometimes, that's the only freedom we have left.

This was my favorite passage in the entire book. I've pondered it often. Of course, there are some people it's very hard to forgive. Usually when they try to have you killed it does put a strain on one's generosity but in ordinary circumstances sound advice.

FORGIVE OVER AND OVER AND OVER
Generally, we're all doing the best we can.
When someone speaks to you curtly, disregards what you say, performs what seems to be a thoughtless gesture or even an outright evil act, think to yourself, "If I were that person and had endured the same trials, borne the same heartbreaks, had the same parents, and so on, I probably would have done or said the same thing." We are not privy to the stories behind people's actions, so we should be patient with others and suspend our judgment of them, recognizing the limits of our understanding. It does not mean we condone evil deeds or endorse the idea that different actions carry the same moral weight.
When people do not act as you would wish them to, exercise the muscles of your good nature by shrugging your shoulders and saying to yourself "Oh well." Then let the incident go.
Try, also, to be as kind to yourself as possible. Do not measure yourself against others or even against your ideal self. Human betterment is a gradual, two-steps-forward, one-step-back effort.
Forgive others for their misdeeds over and over again. This gesture fosters inner peace. Forgive yourself over and over and over again. Then try to do better next the time.
Profile Image for Rahma.Mrk.
704 reviews1,159 followers
August 31, 2020
حين أنهيت قراءة كتاب قلق السعي إلى مكانة
و أثناء نقاش مسائي قال أحد أصدقاء أن مؤلف الكتاب آلان ينتمي الى الفلسفة الرواقية.
أثارت إنتباهي هذه ملاحظة .
ثم اقترح عليك كتاب يعتبر تلخيصًا لافكارهم...
..
وكان الكتاب مختصرًا رائع و مشجع و مفيد..
جذب إنتباهي ثلاث نقاط في هذه الفلسفة :
🖇إن اغلب رواد التنمية البشرية يستعملون نفس مصطلحات و المفاهيم هذه المدرسة
مثل:
لا تجعل انطباعاتك تؤثر على الفعل
لا تبالغ في رد فعلك
..
🖇نقطة الثانية اتفاق بينهم و بين الغلاة المتصوفة التي تنادي
بوحدة الوجود و تقبل كل اساءات بهدوء أقرب الى السلبية و اللامبالاة..
تشابه بينها و بين الموقف الاسلامي من نبذ السعي الى المكانة لاجل عيون الآخرين
الرياء)

16/juillet/20🏖🏖
Profile Image for Bob Nichols.
870 reviews283 followers
July 1, 2010
Favorable commentary on Epictetus lodges this collection of sayings within a wider, deeper Stoic philosophy. In a nutshell, the cosmos operates by natural law that is beyond our control. Things in the cosmos are transitory and permanent attachment is not possible. The task for the Stoic philosopher, such as Epictetus, is to focus only on those actions that are within one's power to control and to act without attachment. This is the law of the cosmos that we know through our rationality, which becomes the guide for our actions and the source of our wisdom. Cultivation of reason and cultivation of actions that are in accord with the law of the cosmos is, therefore, the path to personal happiness.

The problem with this approach is apparent in this sample of Epictetus' philosophy. First, his widely regarded practical philosophy leans heavily on social manners and making a good impression ("let not your laughter be much...nor excessive.") The self thereby adjusts to external standards, but this conformity leads to the loss of individuality. Second, and similarly, truth is secondary to keeping peace with others ("defer to opinions of superiors" and "agree with equals...to avoid quarrelsomeness".) Third, in accentuating the highest human virtue, reason, our animal emotions are not just to be controlled, but denied (We should punish our appetites;we should not suffer mentally with another; and we should accept death of a loved one as part of the order of things). Self-denial and cutting off feelings toward another or toward ourselves may be denying a deeper essence to our humanity and may not be conducive to our psychological health. Fourth, his philosophy leads to a slave mentality. Imposition on the self is accepted because it's the order of things. Resignation and acceptance not active resistance is the advice of Epictetus. Fifth, he has an uneasy relationship with things of the world. One can desire, but not desire too much. Reason puts the break on attachment. What this says about love - and holding oneself back - is one concern. But, importantly, an obvious question is why should the self not want what the self wants? Intuitively, we sense a contradiction here that makes his philosophical advice unconvincing.

What is missing in Epictetus is an acceptance of a vigorous circuit of energy between the self and the world. Epictetus either holds the self back from the world or merges the self too much with it. He appropriately tells us that we have two things in our power: Our movement toward the world (desire) and our movement away from the world (aversion). This means the self is free to engage that world and to resist that world when it imposes on the self. The imposition of others on the self denies the self's freedom to pursue objects of desire and, therefore, the self's power to control its own destiny. Likewise, to impose the self on others is to deny their freedom. Reason, combined with socially imposed controls, keeps self and other in balance. Individuality is compatible with order. It's o.k. to seek objects of desire. Self-denial is counter to our desiring nature and denial of our feelings denies us of what is real inside and denies us of our humanity. The restraint on our desire comes from a recognition that it must not come at the expense of the other. There's an implicit social contract that lies at the heart of the self-other relationship. This circuit of energy between the self and the world is an active and reciprocal relationship, and it also reflects nature's law.
Profile Image for Virginia Cornelia.
182 reviews84 followers
November 21, 2020
Manualul este o carte-carnetel, de vreo 60 de pagini, cu o introducere foarte interesanta , realizata de Andrei Plesu, cu cateva pagini albe, unde iti poti scrie gandurile/reflectiile si cu cateva pagini la sfarsit, de prezentare a lui Epictet.
Am aflat astfel ca Epictet nu este un nume propriu-zis, ci o porecla prin care se defineste ststutul de sclav : epictetos inseamna dobandit".
Mi a facut placere sa o citesc, si avand in vedere cat este de mica, o sa o iau cu mine in geanta, sa o deschid din cand in cand.

"Din toate cele ce sunt, unele depind de noi, altele nu depind de noi. De noi depind gandul, avantul, pornirea, respingerea si intr-un cuvant, cate sunt lucrurile noastre. Nu depind de noi trupul, propiretatea , faima, functiile si, intr-un cuvant, cate nu sunt lucrurile noastre".

"Pe oameni ii tulbura nu ce se intampla, ci gandurile lor legate de ce se intampla; nu este deloc inspaimantatoare, de pilda moartea, ci parerea in privinta mortii : pentru ca daca acessta este inspaimantatoare, atunci si moartea este."

" aminteste-ti ca invinuirile sau loviturile nu ofenseaza in sine, ci parerea ta despre ele resimte ofensa. Ori de cate ori cineva te infurie, sa stii ca gandul tau ti a adus supararea".
Profile Image for J.
194 reviews89 followers
March 6, 2021
And I thought philosophical pessimists would be bad at parties...This guy could put a damper on a party pretty quickly, or not even show up--more likely.

I also don't know why he was against drinking cold water. It's good for the metabolism!

Anyway, the tenets of this work are solid. The way they are presented is not as facile as Aurelius' Meditations, though the emperor owes quite a bit to Epictetus.

Stoicism is valuable, but adhering to some of it might prove difficult. Calmly bearing the death of your spouse or one of your children, though logical, is not possible for most. Stoicism must certainly be seen as akin to pessimism, no matter what modern stoics might say.
Profile Image for Karl Marberger.
260 reviews54 followers
April 30, 2021
There is some great wisdom and advice in this book. I was intrigued. Stoicism seems a philosophy worth learning about in this often superficial age.
Profile Image for persephone ☾.
432 reviews1,641 followers
February 5, 2023
"Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of things."
dealing with over-emotional outbursts with stoicism like the girlboss that I am <3
Profile Image for Julian Worker.
Author 32 books338 followers
March 1, 2022
Epictetus was one of only two slaves George Orwell stated he could remember the names of in his essay "Visions of a Totalitarian Future".

Epictetus became one of the three great Stoic philosophers of Rome along with Seneca and Marcus Aurelius.

This book is tremendous as it makes Stoic philosophy easily understandable to the layman.

Epictetus isn't trying to prove how clever he is in this book or make complicated arguments about his beliefs, he just tells you what to aim for in certain situations.

Some of my favourite lines:

It is not events that disturb people, it is their judgements concerning them.

Don't hope that events will turn out the way you want, welcome events in whichever way they happen: this is the path to peace.

Remember that you are an actor in a play, the nature of which is up to the director to decide.
Profile Image for Carlo Mascellani.
Author 16 books247 followers
May 18, 2021
La traduzione del Leopardi ci consente di avvicinare l'etica stoica in una delle più semplici, ma esaustive formulazioni. La ricerca dell'apatia, dell'atarassia, delle vie per liberarsi dalle passioni e dagli ostacoli che contrastano la serenità spirituale, viene racchiusa, in forma quanto mai concisa, in queste brevi pagine, che aprono non solo uno spiraglio sulle incertezze che contraddistinsero l'Età Ellenistica, ma anche sulla strenua ricerca che da sempre l'uomo compie nella speranza di porsi al riparo dalle avversità.
Profile Image for Vui Lên.
Author 1 book2,279 followers
April 2, 2020
Tiếp tục đi sâu vào chủ nghĩa khắc kỷ, mình đọc Nghệ thuật sống trong sự bình an lạ thường.

Triết lí khắc kỷ làm thay đổi khá nhiều góc nhìn của triết học phương Tây, vốn được cho là khô cứng, nhiều lí luận.

Mình thích cách mà Epictetus nói về sự tối hậu (thiên nhiên) ảnh hưởng thế nào tới với lối sống của con người. Và con người chỉ nên quan sát và hòa thuận với tự nhiên, để mang lại một cuộc sống bình an lâu dài về nội tâm.

Mình mua cuốn này hồi 2017, khi bắt đầu đọc các dòng sách tâm linh. Vậy mà tới tận hơn 3 năm sau mới có dịp đọc lại. Cũng hay. Hồi đó đọc chắc cũng không hiểu được gì nhiều cho lắm.
Profile Image for Luciana Nery.
132 reviews17 followers
August 4, 2014
The opening line reads like a secular mantra:

"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 word, whatever are not our actions".

Further along, what to do with this realization:

"Work, therefore, to be able to say to every harsh appearance, "You are but an appearance, and not absolutely the thing you appear to be". And then examine it by those rules which you have, and first, and chiefly, buy this: whether it concerns the things which are in our own control, or those which are not: and, if it concerns anything not in our control, be prepared to say that it is nothing to you."

In short, what Epictetus is saying is: be indifferent to what you can't control. Do not allow yourself to be harmed by what you can't control, then you will be strong and resilience, because no adversity that was not your doing can possibly hurt you.

The Enchiridion is nothing short of a guide for good living. It is also an excellent translation (I have sampled other versions and they ranged from incomprehensible to boring). Excellent book, one I'll be rereading often.
Profile Image for Zeyad Elmortada.
160 reviews98 followers
November 15, 2019

" أليس من العبودية أن تفعل شيئا ضد إرادتك ؟ - إبكتيتوس "

جمع الدكتور عادل مصطفي اغلب النصائح والمحادثات التي دارت بين إبكيتوس وتلاميذته او اشخاص وهميين اختلقهم ابكتيتوس نفسه لتوضيح وجهة نظره
إبكتيتوس هو احد اعمدة الفلسلفة الرواقية التي قامت علي الصبر والتسليم بالأمر الواقع والزهد في الحياة قد تكون الصوفية هي اقرب المدارس لها في الشرق الاوسط ، الفلسفة الرواقية لمن لا يعرفها هي فلسفة الاندماج مع الطبيعة والسير معها اي تقبل الخير والشر الواقع علي الإنسان علي انها عوامل خارجية ، ليس علي الفيلسوف ان يشغل تفكيره بها فكل ما هو خارجي - من فعل شخص اخر - هو خارج عن قدرة هذا الفيلسوف
الكتاب يحوي خلاصة اربع فصول وصلت لنا من محادثات إبكتيتوس زائد الشرح والتفصيل مقتبس من عدة كتابات لفلاسفة عرب
ساعدني في إتمام الكتاب والحصول علي صورة كاملة الإضافات التي أضافها الدكتور عادل مصطفي من مراجع
وتعليق علي النص اسفل كل جزء او واقعة تاريخية يذكرها إبكتيتوس
Profile Image for Jim.
2,004 reviews660 followers
March 7, 2015
This short and simple work of stoic philosophy is as valid as when it was first penned two thousand years ago. Epictetus started life as a Greek slave, but wound up in Rome. His Enchiridion distinguishes sharply between those things we can control and those we cannot:
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 word, whatever are not our own actions.
This type of stoicism requires reserves of strength most people do not have, as when they discover they have pancreatic cancer, or their beloved son has died, or they are slandered and have their reputations under attack. He continues:
Work, therefore, to be able to say to every harsh appearance, "You are but an appearance, and not absolutely the thing you appear to be." And then examine it by those rules which you have, and first and chiefly, by this: whether it concerns the things which are in our own control, or those which are not; and, if it concerns anything not in our control, be prepared to say that it is nothing to you.
Who is heroic enough to live like this? If I were, I would be immune to most if not all of the pain that human life is heir to.

Profile Image for blondie.
230 reviews
March 1, 2018
Στο Εγχειρίδιον ο Επίκτητος δίνει ρητές συμβουλές για το πώς πρέπει να ζούμε.
Κάποια πράγματα τα εξουσιάζουμε και άλλα όχι και πρέπει να μάθουμε την διαφορά. Της εξουσίας μας είναι η γνώμη μας, η διάθεσή μας, η επιθυμία να απολαύσουμε, η προσπάθεια να αποφύγουμε, όσα είναι δική μας ενέργεια. Δεν είναι της εξουσίας μας το σώμα, η περιουσία, οι δόξες, τα αξιώματα, όσα δεν είναι δικής μας ενέργειας.

- Μη ζη��άς τα γινόμενα να γίνονται όπως θέλεις, αλλά να θέλεις τα γινόμενα όπως γίνονται και θα ευροήσεις.
-Ανέχου και απέχου (να έχεις υπομονή και εγκράτεια)
-Αν θέλεις να σε επαινούν, μάθε πρώτα να λες καλά λόγια, και αφού μάθεις να λες καλά λόγια, να κάνεις καλές πράξεις, και τότε θα ακούς καλά λόγια για σένα.
-Κανείς δεν μπορεί να είναι ελεύθερος, αν δεν είναι κύριος του εαυτού του.
-Αν αναλάβεις κάποια θέση που ξεπερνά τις δυνάμεις σου, αφενός θα ρεζιλευτείς αφετέρου θα παραλείψεις να κάνεις αυτό που μπορείς.
-Όρισε στον εαυτό σου ένα χαρακτήρα και έναν τρόπο ζωής που θα τον κρατάς είτε είσαι μόνος σου είτε με άλλους.
Profile Image for عماد العتيلي.
Author 6 books541 followers
February 28, 2018
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لا أحبّ أن أبدأ المراجعة بذِكر سلبيات الكِتاب،
لذلك سوف أبدأ بالإيجابيات، وفي رأس هذه الإيجابيات: ترجمة (أو تعريب) الدكتور عادل مصطفى الموفقة جداً للكتاب. فقد أحسست من اللغة الرفيعة المُستخدمة أنني أقرأ لأحد الروائيين العرب العظماء من أمثال طه حسين ونجيب محفوظ!
ترجمة غاية في الإتقان .. والفصاحة .. والمُتعة.

ومن الإيجابيات أيضاً، هي بعض (و ضَعوا خطاً كبيراً تحت كلمة بعض) أفكار ونصائح الفيلسوف الرواقي إبكتيتوس. فقد اقتبست وأعجبت ووقفت أفكر طويلاً في عدّة حِكم كَتَبها أحسست أنها لامستني شخصياً.

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ولكن ..
كنظرة عامّة للفكر الرواقي كما تجسّده مجمل حِكم ونصائح هذا الكتاب، رأيتُ أن الرواقية متمثلة في إبكتيتوس تدعو بشكل واضح لقتل الانسانية بدعوى إحيائها.
فقد أحسست أن الدعوة لدفن أي شعور إنساني بحجّة أنه شعور "مبالغ فيه" .. مثل شعور الوالد بفقد ولده، أو شعور الحبيب بهجر حبيبه، هي دعوة لا تنتهي براحة البال كما يريد الرواقيّ، بل إلى البلادة و"التّمسحة" كما يُقال! فيتحوّل الإنسان بعد تطبيق هذه الدعوة من إنسان إلى حائط أصمّ لا يُرسل ولا يستقبل!

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ومن العجيب أن الدكتور عادل قد ذكر في تعقيبه وشرحه للكتاب في القسم الثاني حادثة للفيلسوف إبكتيتوس شخصياً، وهي عندما عذّبه أحدهم بلوي ساقه، فقال له إبكتيتوس ببرود منبّهاً: "سوف تكسر ساقي". فلم يكترث ذلك الشخص بتنبهه، واستمرّ بلوي ساقه حتى كسرها فعلاً. فلم يردّ الفيلسوف عليه بأكثر من أن قال: "ألم أقل لك أنك ستكسر ساقي"!

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وقد ذكر الدكتور عادل هذه الحادثة كمثال على صبر الفيلسوف ورباطة جأشه!
وأنا أعتقد أن هذه الحادثة متسقة مع دعواته المتبلّدة التي أشرتُ إليها سابقاً، وهي ليست دليلاً على صبره، بل على وصوله لمرحلة الحائط الأصم .. الذي لا يُرسل ولا يستقبل!

إن كانت هذه هي السعادة من وجهة نظر الفيلسوف الرواقي .. فما أتعسها من سعادة!
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Profile Image for Smitha Murthy.
Author 2 books238 followers
September 5, 2018
I haven’t really read much of Stoicism, and as the author of this new interpretation of Epictetus’ teachings, Sharon Lebell says, Stoicism has been given a bit of a bad rap. Or rather, all sorts of misunderstood memes. In this beautiful interpretation that is adapted to the modern, Western style of living, Lebell takes us through the basic tenets of what Epictetus taught: To lead a life of reason, grace, dignity, kindness, and virtue. Those are values we can do well in life irrespective of whether you subscribe to Stoicism or not.

If you have shied away from understanding Stoicism because you thought it was too ‘dry,’ this book is a wonderful companion to aiding that understanding. Simple, clear, and to the heart, you can make this a wonderful introduction to understanding a bit more of the world around and within us.
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