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Observations placeholder

Epictetus - The Enchiridion - 19, 20, 21, 22, 23



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The Enchiridion

           19. You may be unconquerable, if you enter into no combat in

           which it is not in your own control to conquer. When,

           therefore, you see anyone eminent in honors, or power, or in

           high esteem on any other account, take heed not to be hurried

           away with the appearance, and to pronounce him happy; for, if

           the essence of good consists in things in our own control,

           there will be no room for envy or emulation. But, for your

           part, don't wish to be a general, or a senator, or a consul,

           but to be free; and the only way to this is a contempt of

           things not in our own control.


           20. Remember, that not he who gives ill language or a blow

           insults, but the principle which represents these things as

           insulting. When, therefore, anyone provokes you, be assured

           that it is your own opinion which provokes you. Try,

           therefore, in the first place, not to be hurried away with the

           appearance. For if you once gain time and respite, you will

           more easily command yourself.


           21. Let death and exile, and all other things which appear

           terrible be daily before your eyes, but chiefly death, and you

           win never entertain any abject thought, nor too eagerly covet



           22. If you have an earnest desire of attaining to philosophy,

           prepare yourself from the very first to be laughed at, to be

           sneered by the multitude, to hear them say,." He is returned

           to us a philosopher all at once," and " Whence this

           supercilious look?" Now, for your part, don't have a

           supercilious look indeed; but keep steadily to those things

           which appear best to you as one appointed by God to this

           station. For remember that, if you adhere to the same point,

           those very persons who at first ridiculed will afterwards

           admire you. But if you are conquered by them, you will incur a

           double ridicule.


           23. 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. Be contented, then, in everything with

           being a philosopher; and, if you wish to be thought so

           likewise by anyone, appear so to yourself, and it will suffice



The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Reducing desires
Squash the big I am