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Epictetus - The Enchiridion - 01

Identifier

013333

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

A description of the experience

        The Enchiridion

   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 word,

           whatever are not our own actions.

 

           The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained,

           unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish,

           restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you

           suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free,

           and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be

           hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will

           find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that

           only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to

           others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you

           or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or

           accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one

           will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be

           harmed.

 

           Aiming therefore at such great things, remember that you must

           not allow yourself to be carried, even with a slight tendency,

           towards the attainment of lesser things. Instead, you must

           entirely quit some things and for the present postpone the

           rest. But if you would both have these great things, along

           with power and riches, then you will not gain even the latter,

           because you aim at the former too: but you will absolutely

           fail of the former, by which alone happiness and freedom are

           achieved.

 

           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.

 

The source of the experience

Epictetus

Concepts, symbols and science items

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

References