What do you think?
Rate this book
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
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
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
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
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 ...
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.
Don't demand that things happen as you wish, but wish that they happen as they do happen, and you will go on well.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.