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The Discourses The Discourses by Epictetus
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The Discourses Quotes Showing 1-21 of 21
“Τίς εἶναι θέλεις, σαυτῷ πρῶτον εἰπέ: εἶθ' οὕτως ποίει ἃ ποιεῖς. (First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.)”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“Demand not that things happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do, and you will go on well.”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“On the occasion of every accident that befalls you, remember to turn to yourself and inquire what power you have for turning it to use.”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of men's desires, but by the removal of desire.”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“-Who are those people by whom you wish to be admired? Are they not these whom you are in the habit of saying that they are mad? What then? Do you wish to be admired by the mad?”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free.”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“What would have become of Hercules do you think if there had been no lion, hydra, stag or boar - and no savage criminals to rid the world of? What would he have done in the absence of such challenges?

Obviously he would have just rolled over in bed and gone back to sleep. So by snoring his life away in luxury and comfort he never would have developed into the mighty Hercules.

And even if he had, what good would it have done him? What would have been the use of those arms, that physique, and that noble soul, without crises or conditions to stir into him action?”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“God save me from fools with a little philosophy—no one is more difficult to reach.”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“What then, is it not possible to be free from faults? It is not possible; but this is possible: to direct your efforts incessantly to being faultess. For we must be content if by never remitting this attention we shall escape at least a few errors. When you have said "Tomorrow I will begin to attend," you must be told that you are saying this: "Today I will be shameless, disregardful of time and place, mean;it will be in the power of others to give me pain, today I will be passionate and envious.

See how many evil things you are permitting yourself to do. If it is good to use attention tomorrow, how much better is it to do so today? If tomorrow it is in your interest to attend, much more is it today, that you may be able to do so tomorrow also, and may not defer it again to the third day.”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“The philosopher's school, ye men, is a surgery: you ought not to go out of it with pleasure, but with pain. For you are not in sound health when you enter.”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“Man, what are you talking about? Me in chains? You may fetter my leg but my will, not even Zeus himself can overpower.”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“Is then the fruit of a fig-tree not perfect suddenly and in one hour, and would you possess the fruit of a man's mind in so short a time and so easily?”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“What is death? A "tragic mask." Turn it and examine it. See, it does not bite. The poor body must be separated from the spirit either now or later, as it was separated from it before. Why, then, are you troubled, if it be separated now? for if it is not separated now, it will be separated afterward. Why? That the period of the universe may be completed, for it has need of the present, and of the future, and of the past. What is pain? A mask. Turn it and examine it. The poor flesh is moved roughly, then, on the contrary, smoothly. If this does not satisfy you, the door is open: if it does, bear. For the door ought to be open for all occasions; and so we have no trouble.”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“Supprime donc en toi toute aversion pour ce qui ne dépend pas de nous et, cette aversion, reporte-la sur ce qui dépend de nous et n’est pas en accord avec la nature. Quant au désir, pour le moment, supprime-le complètement. Car si tu désires une chose qui ne dépend pas de nous, tu ne pourras qu’échouer, sans compter que tu te mettras dans l’impossibilité d’atteindre ce qui est à notre portée et qu’il est plus sage de désirer. Borne-toi à suivre tes impulsions, tes répulsions, mais fais-le avec légèreté, de façon non systématique et sans effort excessif.”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“Dès qu’une image viendra te troubler l’esprit, pense à te dire : « Tu n’es qu’image, et non la réalité dont tu as l’apparence. » Puis, examine-la et soumets-la à l’épreuve des lois qui règlent ta vie : avant tout, vois si cette réalité dépend de nous ou n’en dépend pas ; et si elle ne dépend pas de nous, sois prêt à dire : « Cela ne me regarde pas. »”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“There are two things that must be rooted out in human beings - arrogant opinion and mistrust. Arrogant opinion expects that there is nothing further needed, and mistrust assumes that under the torrent of circumstance there can be no happiness.”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“Tis true I know what evil I shall do but passion overpowers the better council.”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“Thus Epicurus also, when he designs to destroy the natural fellowship of mankind, at the same time makes use of that which he destroys.

For what does he say? ‘Be not deceived, men, nor be led astray, nor be mistaken: there is no natural fellowship among rational animals; believe me. But those who say otherwise, deceive you and seduce you by false reasons.’—What is this to you? Permit us to be deceived.

Will you fare worse, if all the rest of us are persuaded that there is a natural fellowship among us, and that it ought by all means to be preserved? Nay, it will be much better and safer for you.

Man, why do you trouble yourself about us? Why do you keep awake for us? Why do you light your lamp? Why do you rise early? Why do you write so many books, that no one of us may be deceived about the gods and believe that they take care of men; or that no one may suppose the nature of good to be other than pleasure?

For if this is so, lie down and sleep, and lead the life of a worm, of which you judged yourself worthy: eat and drink, and enjoy women, and ease yourself, and snore.

And what is it to you, how the rest shall think about these things, whether right or wrong? For what have we to do with you?

You take care of sheep because they supply us with wool and milk, and last of all with their flesh. Would it not be a desirable thing if men could be lulled and enchanted by the Stoics, and sleep and present themselves to you and to those like you to be shorn and milked?

For this you ought to say to your brother Epicureans: but ought you not to conceal it from others, and particularly before every thing to persuade them, that we are by nature adapted for fellowship, that temperance is a good thing; in order that all things may be secured for you?

Or ought we to maintain this fellowship with some and not with others? With whom then ought we to maintain it?

With such as on their part also maintain it, or with such as violate this fellowship?

And who violate it more than you who establish such doctrines?

What then was it that waked Epicurus from his sleepiness, and compelled him to write what he did write?”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“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. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents.”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“Put up with being laughed at on occasion; look around you, and give yourself a good shaking to find out who you really are.”
Epictetus, The Discourses
“You see, then, that it is necessary for you to become a student, that
creature which every one laughs at, if you really desire to make an
examination of your judgements. But this, as you are quite aware,
is not the work of a single hour or day”
Epictetus, The Discourses