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The Discourses

By Epictetus
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The Discourses

By Epictetus

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Book Three
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Chapter 1

Of finery in dress

A certain young man a rhetorician came to see Epictetus, with his hair dressed more carefully than was usual and his attire in an ornamental style; whereupon Epictetus said: Tell me you do not think that some dogs are beautiful and some horses, and so of all other animals. "I do think so," the youth replied. Are not then some men also beautiful and others ugly? "Certainly." Do we, then, for the same reason call each of them in the same kind beautiful, or each beautiful for something peculiar? And you will judge of this matter thus. Since we see a dog naturally formed for one thing, and a horse for another, and for another still, as an example, a nightingale, we may generally and not improperly declare each of them to be beautiful then when it is most excellent according to its nature; but since the nature of each is different, each of them seems to me to be beautiful in a different way. Is it not so? He admitted that it was. That then which makes a dog beautiful, makes a horse ugly; and that which makes a horse beautiful, makes a dog ugly, if it is true that their natures are different. "It seems to be so." For I think that what makes a pancratiast beautiful, makes a wrestler to be not good, and a runner to be most ridiculous; and he who is beautiful for the Pentathlon, is very ugly for wrestling. "It is so," said he. What, then, makes a man beautiful? Is that which in its kind makes both a dog and a horse beautiful? "It is," he said. What then makes a dog beautiful? The possession of the excellence of a dog. And what makes a horse beautiful? The possession of the excellence of a horse. What then makes a man beautiful? Is it not the possession of the excellence of a man? And do you, then, if you wish to be beautiful, young man, labour at this, the acquisition of human excellence. But what is this? Observe whom you yourself praise, when you praise many persons without partiality: do you praise the just or the unjust? "The just." Whether do you praise the moderate or the immoderate? "The moderate." And the temperate or the intemperate? "The temperate." If, then, you make yourself such a person, you will know that you will make yourself beautiful: but so long as you neglect these things, you must be ugly, even though you contrive all you can to appear beautiful.

Further I do not know what to say to you: for if I say to you what I think, I shall offend you, and you will perhaps leave the school and not return to it: and if I do not say what I think, see how I shall be acting, if you come to me to be improved, and I shall not improve you at all, and if you come to me as to a philosopher, and I shall say nothing to you as a philosopher. And how cruel it is to you to leave you uncorrected. If at any time afterward you shall acquire sense, you will with good reason blame me and say, "What did Epictetus observe in me that, when he saw me in such a plight coming to him in such a scandalous condition, he neglected me and never said a word? did he so much despair of me? was I not young? was I not able to listen to reason? and how many other young men at this age commit many like errors? I hear that a certain Polemon from being a most dissolute youth underwent such a great change. Well, suppose that he did not think that I should be a Polemon; yet he might have set my hair right, he might have stripped off my decorations, he might have stopped me from plucking the hair out of my body; but when he saw me dressed like- what shall I say?- he kept silent." I do not say like what; but you will say, when you come to your senses and shall know what it is and what persons use such a dress.

If you bring this charge against me hereafter, what defense shall I make? Why, shall I say that the man will not be persuaded by me? Was Laius persuaded by Apollo? Did he and get drunk and show no care for the oracle? Well then, for this reason did Apollo refuse to tell him the truth? I indeed do not know, whether you will be persuaded by me or not; but Apollo knew most certainly that Laius would not be persuaded and yet he spoke. But why did he speak? I say in reply: But why is he Apollo, and why does he deliver oracles, and why has he fixed himself in this place as a prophet and source of truth and for the inhabitants of the world to resort to him? and why are the words "Know yourself" written in front of the temple, though no person takes any notice of them?

Did Socrates persuade all his hearers to take care of themselves? Not the thousandth part. But, however, after he had been placed in this position by the deity, as he himself says, he never left it. But what does he say even to his judges? "If you acquit me on these conditions that I no longer do that which I do now, I will not consent and I will not desist; but I will go up both to young and to old, and, to speak plainly, to every man whom I meet, and I will ask the questions which I ask now; and most particularly will I do this to you my fellow-citizens, because you are more nearly related to me." Are you so curious, Socrates, and such a busybody? and how does it concern you how we act? and what is it that you say? "Being of the same community and of the same kin, you neglect yourself, and show yourself a bad citizen to the state, and a bad kinsman to your kinsmen, and a bad neighbor to your neighbors." "Who, then are you?" Here it is a great thing to say, "I am he whose duty it is to take care of men; for it is not every little heifer which dares to resist a lion; but if the bull comes up and resists him, say to the bull, if you choose, 'And who are you, and what business have you here?'" Man, in every kind there is produced something which excels; in oxen, in dogs, in bees, in horses. Do not then say to that which excels, "Who, then, are you?" If you do, it will find a voice in some way and say, "I am such a thing as the purple in a garment: do not expect me to be like the others, or blame my nature that it has made me different from the rest of men."

What then? am I such a man? Certainly not. And are you such a man as can listen to the truth? I wish you were. But however since in a manner I have been condemned to wear a white beard and a cloak, and you come to me as to a philosopher, I will not treat you in a cruel way nor yet as if I despaired of you, but I will say: Young man, whom do you wish to make beautiful? In the first place, know who you are and then adorn yourself appropriately. You are a human being; and this is a mortal animal which has the power of using appearances rationally. But what is meant by "rationally?" Conformably to nature and completely. What, then, do you possess which is peculiar? Is it the animal part? No. Is it the condition of mortality? No. Is it the power of using appearances? No. You possess the rational faculty as a peculiar thing: adorn and beautify this; but leave your hair to him who made it as he chose. Come, what other appellations have you? Are you man or woman? "Man." Adorn yourself then as man, not as woman. Woman is naturally smooth and delicate; and if she has much hair (on her body), she is a monster and is exhibited at Rome among monsters. And in a man it is monstrous not to have hair; and if he has no hair, he is a monster; but if he cuts off his hairs and plucks them out, what shall we do with him? where shall we exhibit him? and under what name shall we show him? "I will exhibit to you a man who chooses to be a woman rather than a man." What a terrible sight! There is no man who will not wonder at such a notice. Indeed I think that the men who pluck out their hairs do what they do without knowing what they do. Man what fault have you to find with your nature? That it made you a man? What then? was it fit that nature should make all human creatures women? and what advantage in that case would you have had in being adorned? for whom would you have adorned yourself, if all human creatures were women? But you are not pleased with the matter: set to work then upon the whole business. Take away- what is its name?- that which is the cause of the hairs: make yourself a woman in all respects, that we may not be mistaken: do not make one half man, and the other half woman. Whom do you wish to please? The women?, Please them as a man. "Well; but they like smooth men." Will you not hang yourself? and if women took delight in catamites, would you become one? Is this your business? were you born for this purpose, that dissolute women should delight in you? Shall we make such a one as you a citizen of Corinth and perchance a prefect of the city, or chief of the youth, or general or superintendent of the games? Well, and when you have taken a wife, do you intend to have your hairs plucked out? To please whom and for what purpose? And when you have begotten children, will you introduce them also into the state with the habit of plucking their hairs? A beautiful citizen, and senator and rhetorician. We ought to pray that such young men be born among us and brought up.

Do not so, I entreat you by the Gods, young man: but when you have once heard these words, go away and say to yourself, "Epictetus has not said this to me; for how could he? but some propitious good through him: for it would never have come into his thoughts to say this, since he is not accustomed to talk thus with any person. Come then let us obey God, that we may not be subject to his anger." You say, "No." But, if a crow by his croaking signifies anything to you, it is not the crow which signifies, but God through the crow; and if he signifies anything through a human voice, will he not cause the man to say this to you, that you may know the power of the divinity, that he signifies to some in this way, and to others in that way, and concerning the greatest things and the chief he signifies through the noblest messenger? What else is it which the poet says:

For we ourselves have warned him, and have sent
Hermes the careful watcher, Argus' slayer,
The husband not to kill nor wed the wife. Was Hermes going to descend from heaven to say this to him? And now the Gods say this to you and send the messenger, the slayer of Argus, to warn you not to pervert that which is well arranged, nor to busy yourself about it, but to allow a man to be a man, and a woman to be a woman, a beautiful man to be as a beautiful man, and an ugly man as an ugly man, for you are not flesh and hair, but you are will; and if your will beautiful, then you will be beautiful. But up the present time I dare not tell you that you are ugly, for I think that you are readier to hear anything than this. But see what Socrates says to the most beautiful and blooming of men Alcibiades: "Try, then, to be beautiful." What does he say to him? "Dress your hair and pluck the hairs from your legs." Nothing of that kind. But "Adorn your will, take away bad opinions." "How with the body?" Leave it as it is by nature. Another has looked after these things: intrust them to him. "What then, must a man be uncleaned?" Certainly not; but what you are and are made by nature, cleanse this. A man should be cleanly as a man, a woman as a woman, a child as a child. You say no: but let us also pluck out the lion's mane, that he may not be uncleaned, and the cock's comb for he also ought to he cleaned. Granted, but as a cock, and the lion as a lion, and the hunting dog as a hunting dog.

Chapter 2

In what a man ought to be exercised who has made proficiency; and that we neglect the chief things

There are three things in which a man ought to exercise himself who would be wise and good. The first concerns the desires and the aversions, that a man may not fail to get what he desires, and that he may not fall into that which he does not desire. The second concerns the movements (toward) and the movements from an object, and generally in doing what a man ought to do, that he may act according to order, to reason, and not carelessly. The third thing concerns freedom from deception and rashness in judgement, and generally it concerns the assents. Of these topics the chief and the most urgent is that which relates to the affects; for an affect is produced in no other way than by a failing to obtain that which a man desires or a falling into that which a man would wish to avoid. This is that which brings in perturbations, disorders, bad fortune, misfortunes, sorrows, lamentations and envy; that which makes men envious and jealous; and by these causes we are unable even to listen to the precepts of reason. The second topic concerns the duties of a man; for I ought not to be free from affects like a statue, but I ought to maintain the relations natural and acquired, as a pious man, as a son, as a father, as a citizen.

The third topic is that which immediately concerns those who are making proficiency, that which concerns the security of the other two, so that not even in sleep any appearance unexamined may surprise us, nor in intoxication, nor in melancholy. "This," it may be said, "is above our power." But the present philosophers neglecting the first topic and the second, employ themselves on the third, using sophistical arguments, making conclusions from questioning, employing hypotheses, lying. "For a man must," as it is said, "when employed on these matters, take care that he is not deceived." Who must? The wise and good man. This then is all that is wanting to you. Have you successfully worked out the rest? Are you free from deception in the matter of money? If you see a beautiful girl, do you resist the appearance? If your neighbor obtains an estate by will, are you not vexed? Now is there nothing else wanting to you except unchangeable firmness of mind? Wretch, you hear these very things with fear and anxiety that some person may despise you, and with inquiries about what any person may say about you. And if a man come and tell you that in a certain conversation in which the question was, "Who is the best philosopher," a man who was present said that a certain person was the chief philosopher, your little soul which was only a finger's length stretches out to two cubits. But if another who is present "You are mistaken; it is not worth while to listen to a certain person, for what does he know? he has only the first principles, and no more?" then you are confounded, you grow pale, you cry out immediately, "I will show him who I am, that I am a great philosopher." It is seen by these very things: why do you wish to show it by others? Do you not know that Diogenes pointed out one of the sophists in this way by stretching out his middle finger? And then when the man was wild with rage, "This," he said, "is the certain person: I pointed him out to you." For a man is not shown by the finger, as a stone or a piece of wood: but when any person shows the man s principles, then he shows him as a man.

Let us look at your principles also. For is it not plain that you value not at all your own will, but you look externally to things which are independent of your will? For instance, what will a certain person say? and what will people think of you? will you be considered a man of learning; have you read Chrysippus or Antipater? for if you have read Archedemus also, you have everything. Why are you still uneasy lest you should not show us who you are? Would you let me tell you what manner of man you have shown us that you are? You have exhibited yourself to us as a mean fellow, querulous, passionate, cowardly, finding fault with everything, blaming everybody, never quiet, vain: this is what you have exhibited to us. Go away now and read Archedemus; then, if a mouse should leap down and make a noise, you are a dead man. For such a death awaits you as it did- what was the man's name?- Crinis; and he too was proud, because he understood Archedemus.

Wretch, will you not dismiss these things that do not concern you at all? These things are suitable to those who are able to learn them without perturbation, to those who can say: "I am not subject to anger, to grief, to envy: I am not hindered, I am not restrained. What remains for me? I have leisure, I am tranquil: let us see how we must deal with sophistical arguments; let us see how when a man has accepted an hypothesis he shall not be led away to anything absurd." To them such things belong. To those who are happy it is appropriate to light a fire, to dine; if they choose, both to sing and to dance. But when the vessel is sinking, you come to me and hoist the sails.

Chapter 3

What is the matter on which a good man should he employed, and in what we ought chiefly to practice ourselves

The material for the wise and good man is his own ruling faculty: and the body is the material for the physician and the aliptes; the land is the matter for the husbandman. The business of the wise and good man is to use appearances conformably to nature: and as it is the nature of every soul to assent to the truth, to dissent from the false, and to remain in suspense as to that which is uncertain; so it is its nature to be moved toward the desire of the good, and to aversion from the evil; and with respect to that which is neither good nor bad it feels indifferent. For as the money-changer is not allowed to reject Caesar's coin, nor the seller of herbs, but if you show the coin, whether he chooses or not, he must give up what is sold for the coin; so it is also in the matter of the soul. When the good appears, it immediately attracts to itself; the evil repels from itself. But the soul will never reject the manifest appearance of the good, any more than persons will reject Caesar's coin. On this principle depends every movement both of man and God.

For this reason the good is preferred to every intimate relationship. There is no intimate relationship between me and my father, but there is between me and the good. "Are you so hard-hearted?" Yes, for such is my nature; and this is the coin which God has given me. For this reason, if the good is something different from the beautiful and the just, both father is gone, and brother and country, and everything. But shall I overlook my own good, in order that you may have it, and shall I give it up to you? Why? "I am your father." But you are not my good. "I am your brother." But you are not my good. But if we place the good in a right determination of the will, the very observance of the relations of life is good, and accordingly he who gives up any external things obtains that which is good. Your father takes away your property. But he does not injure you. Your brother will have the greater part of the estate in land. Let him have as much as he chooses. Will he then have a greater share of modesty, of fidelity, of brotherly affection? For who will eject you from this possession? Not even Zeus, for neither has he chosen to do so; but he has made this in my own power, and he has given it to me just as he possessed it himself, free from hindrance, compulsion, and impediment. When then the coin which another uses is a different coin, if a man presents this coin, he receives that which is sold for it. Suppose that there comes into the province a thievish proconsul, what coin does he use? Silver coin. Show it to him, and carry off what you please. Suppose one comes who is an adulterer: what coin does he use? Little girls. "Take," a man says, "the coin, and sell me the small thing." "Give," says the seller, "and buy." Another is eager to possess boys. Give him the coin, and receive what you wish. Another is fond of hunting: give him a fine nag or a dog. Though he groans and laments, he will sell for it that which you want. For another compels him from within, he who has fixed this coin.

Against this kind of thing chiefly a man should exercise himself. As soon as you go out in the morning, examine every man whom you see, every man whom you hear; answer as to a question, "What have you seen?" A handsome man or woman? Apply the rule: Is this independent of the will, or dependent? Independent. Take it away. What have you seen? A man lamenting over the death of a child. Apply the rule. Death is a thing independent of the will. Take it away. Has the proconsul met you? Apply the rule. What kind of thing is a proconsul's office? Independent of the will, or dependent on it? Independent. Take this away also: it does not stand examination: cast it away: it is nothing to you.

If we practiced this and exercised ourselves in it daily from morning to night, something indeed would be done. But now we are forthwith caught half-asleep by every appearance, and it is only, if ever, that in the school we are roused a little. Then when we go out, if we see a man lamenting, we say, "He is undone." If we see a consul, we say, "He is happy." If we see an exiled man, we say, "He is miserable." If we see a poor man, we say, "He is wretched: he has nothing to eat."

We ought then to eradicate these bad opinions, and to this end we should direct all our efforts. For what is weeping and lamenting? Opinion. What is bad fortune? Opinion. What is civil sedition, what is divided opinion, what is blame, what is accusation, what is impiety, what is trifling? All these things are opinions, and nothing more, and opinions about things independent of the will, as if they were good and bad. Let a man transfer these opinions to things dependent on the will, and I engage for him that he will be firm and constant, whatever may be the state of things around him. Such as is a dish of water, such is the soul. Such as is the ray of light which falls on the water, such are the appearances. When the water is moved, the ray also seems to be moved, yet it is not moved. And when, then, a man is seized with giddiness, it is not the arts and the virtues which are confounded, but the spirit on which they are impressed; but if the spirit be restored to its settled state, those things also are restored.

Chapter 4

Against a person who showed his partisanship in an unseemly way in a theatre

The governor of Epirus having shown his favor to an actor in an unseemly way and being publicly blamed on this account, and afterward having reported to Epictetus that he was blamed and that he was vexed at those who blamed him, Epictetus said: What harm have they been doing? These men also were acting, as partisans, as you were doing. The governor replied, "Does, then, any person show his partisanship in this way?" When they see you, said Epictetus, who are their governor, a friend of Caesar and his deputy, showing partisanship in this way, was it not to be expected that they also should show their partisanship in the same way? for if it is not right to show partisanship in this way, do not do so yourself; and if it is right, why are you angry if they followed your example? For whom have the many to imitate except you, who are their superiors, to whose example should they look when they go to the theatre except yours? "See how the deputy of Caesar looks on: he has cried out, and I too, then, will cry out. He springs up from his seat, and I will spring up. His slaves sit in various parts of the theatre and call out. I have no slaves, but I will myself cry out as much as I can and as loud as all of them together." You ought then to know when you enter the theatre that you enter as a rule and example to the rest how they ought to look at the acting. Why then did they blame you? Because every man hates that which is a hindrance to him. They wished one person to be crowned; you wished another. They were a hindrance to you, and you were a hindrance to them. You were found to be the stronger; and they did what they could; they blamed that which hindered them. What, then, would you have? That you should do what you please, and they should not even say what they please? And what is the wonder? Do not the husbandmen abuse Zeus when they are hindered by him? do not the sailors abuse him? do they ever cease abusing Caesar? What then does not Zeus know? is not what is said reported to Caesar? What, then, does he do? he knows that, if he punished all who abuse him, he would have nobody to rule over. What then? when you enter the theatre, you ought to say not, "Let Sophron be crowned", but you ought to say this, "Come let me maintain my will in this matter so that it shall be conformable to nature: no man is dearer to me than myself. It would be ridiculous, then, for me to be hurt (injured) in order that another who is an actor may be crowned." Whom then do I wish to gain the prize? Why the actor who does gain the prize; and so he will always gain the prize whom I wish to gain it. "But I wish Sophron to be crowned." Celebrate as many games as you choose in your own house, Nemean, Pythian, Isthmian, Olympian, and proclaim him victor. But in public do not claim more than your due, nor attempt to appropriate to yourself what belongs to all. If you do not consent to this, bear being abused: for when you do the same as the many, you put yourself on the same level with them.

Chapter 5

Against those who on account of sickness go away home

"I am sick here," said one of the pupils, "and I wish to return home." At home, I suppose, you free from sickness. Do you not consider whether you are doing, anything here which may be useful to the exercise of your will, that it may be corrected? For if you are doing nothing toward this end, it was to no purpose that you came. Go away. Look after your affairs at home. For if your ruling power cannot be maintained in a state conformable to nature, it is possible that your land can, that you will he able to increase your money, you will take care of your father in his old age, frequent the public place, hold magisterial office: being bad you will do badly anything else that you have to do. But if you understand yourself, and know that you are casting away certain bad opinions and adopting others in their place, and if you have changed your state of life from things which are not within your will to things which are within your will, and if you ever say, "Alas!" you are not saying what you say on account of your father, or your brother, but on account of yourself, do you still allege your sickness? Do you not know that both disease and death must surprise us while we are doing something? the husbandman while he is tilling the ground, the sailor while he is on his voyage? what would you be doing when death surprises you, for you must be surprised when you are doing something? If you can be doing anything better than this when you are surprised, do it. For I wish to be surprised by disease or death when I am looking after nothing else than my that may be free from perturbation, own will that I may be free from hindrance, free from compulsion, and in a state of liberty. I wish to be found practicing these things that I may be able to say to God, "Have I in any respect transgressed thy commands? have I in any respect wrongly used the powers which Thou gavest me? have I misused my perceptions or my preconceptions? have I ever blamed Thee? have I ever found fault with Thy administration? I have been sick, because it was Thy will, and so have others, but I was content to be sick. I have been poor because it was Thy will, but I was content also. I have not filled a magisterial office, because it was not Thy pleasure that I should: I have never desired it. Hast Thou ever seen me for this reason discontented? have I not always approached Thee with a cheerful countenance, ready to do Thy commands and to obey Thy signals? Is it now Thy will that I should depart from the assemblage of men? I depart. I give Thee all thanks that Thou hast allowed me to join in this Thy assemblage of men and to see Thy works, and to comprehend this Thy administration." May death surprise me while I am thinking of these things, while I am thus writing and reading.

"But my mother will not hold my head when I am sick." Go to your mother then; for you are a fit person to have your head held when you are sick. "But at home I used to lie down on a delicious bed." Go away to your bed: indeed you are fit to lie on such a bed even when you are in health: do not, then, lose what you can do there.

But what does Socrates say? "As one man," he says, "is pleased with improving his land, another with improving his horse, so I am daily pleased in observing that I am growing better." "Better in what? in using nice little words?" Man, do not say that. "In little matters of speculation?" What are you saying? "And indeed I do not see what else there is on which philosophers employ their time." Does it seem nothing to you to have never found fault with any person, neither with God nor man? to have blamed nobody? to carry the same face always in going out and coming in? This is what Socrates knew, and yet he never said that he knew anything or taught anything. But if any man asked for nice little words or little speculations, he would carry him to Protagoras or to Hippias; and if any man came to ask for pot-herbs, he would carry him to the gardener. Who then among you has this purpose? for if indeed you had it, you would both be content in sickness, and in hunger, and in death. If any among you has been in love with a charming girl, he knows that I say what is true.

Chapter 6


When some person asked him how it happened that since reason has been more cultivated by the men of the present age, the progress made in former times was greater. In what respect, he answered, has it been more cultivated now, and in what respect was the progress greater then? For in that in which it has now been more cultivated, in that also the progress will now be found. At present it has been cultivated for the purpose of resolving syllogisms, and progress is made. But in former times it was cultivated for the purpose of maintaining the governing faculty in a condition conformable to nature, and progress was made. Do not, then, mix things which are different and do not expect, when you are laboring at one thing, to make progress in another. But see if any man among us when he is intent see I upon this, the keeping himself in a state conformable to nature and living so always, does not make progress. For you will not find such a man.

The good man is invincible, for he does not enter the contest where he is not stronger. If you want to have his land and all that is on it, take the land; take his slaves, take his magisterial office, take his poor body. But you will not make his desire fail in that which it seeks, nor his aversion fall into that which he would avoid. The only contest into which he enters is that about things which are within the power of his will; how then will he not be invincible?

Some person having asked him what is Common sense, Epictetus replied: As that may be called a certain Common hearing which only distinguishes vocal sounds, and that which distinguishes musical sounds is not Common, but artificial; so there are certain things which men, who are not altogether perverted, see by the common notions which all possess. Such a constitution of the mind is named Common sense.

It is not easy to exhort weak young men; for neither is it easy to hold cheese with a hook. But those who have a good natural disposition, even if you try to turn them aside, cling still more to reason. Wherefore Rufus generally attempted to discourage, and he used this method as a test of those who had a good natural disposition and those who had not. "For," it was his habit to say, "as a stone, if you cast it upward, will be brought down to the earth by its own nature, so the man whose mind is naturally good, the more you repel him, the more he turns toward that to which he is naturally inclined."

Chapter 7

To the administrator of the free cities who was an Epicurean

When the administrator came to visit him, and the man was an Epicurean, Epictetus said: It is proper for us who are not philosophers to inquire of you who are philosophers, as those who come to a strange city inquire of the citizens and those who are acquainted with it, what is the best thing in the world, in order that we also, after inquiry, may go in quest of that which is best and look at it, as strangers do with the things in cities. For that there are three things which relate to man, soul, body, and things external, scarcely any man denies. It remains for you philosophers to answer what is the best. What shall we say to men? Is the flesh the best? and was it for this that Maximus sailed as far as Cassiope in winter with his son, and accompanied him that he might be gratified in the flesh? Then the man said that it was not, and added, "Far be that from him." Is it not fit then, Epictetus said, to be actively employed about the best? "It is certainly of all things the most fit." What, then, do we possess which is better than the flesh? "The soul," he replied. And the good things of the best, are they better, or the good things of the worse? "The good things of the best." And are the good things of the best within the power of the will or not within the power of the will? "They are within the power of the will." Is, then, the pleasure of the soul a thing within the power of the will? "It is," he replied. And on what shall this pleasure depend? On itself? But that cannot be conceived: for there must first exist a certain substance or nature of good, by obtaining which we shall have pleasure in the soul. He assented to this also. On what, then, shall we depend for this pleasure of the soul? for if it shall depend on things of the soul, the substance of the good is discovered; for good cannot be one thing, and that at which we are rationally delighted another thing; nor if that which precedes is not good, can that which comes after be good, for in order that the thing which comes after may be good, that which precedes must be good. But you would not affirm this, if you are in your right mind, for you would then say what is inconsistent both with Epicurus and the rest of your doctrines. It remains, then, that the pleasure of the soul is in the pleasure from things of the body: and again that those bodily things must be the things which precede and the substance of the good.

For this reason Maximus acted foolishly if he made the voyage for any other reason than for the sake of the flesh, that is, for the sake of the best. And also a man acts foolishly if he abstains from that which belongs to others, when he is a judge and able to take it. But, if you please, let us consider this only, how this thing may be done secretly, and safely, and so that no man will know it. For not even does Epicurus himself declare stealing to be bad, but he admits that detection is; and because it is impossible to have security against detection, for this reason he says, "Do not steal." But I say to you that if stealing is done cleverly and cautiously, we shall not be detected: further also we have powerful friends in Rome both men and women, and the Hellenes are weak, and no man will venture to go up to Rome for the purpose. Why do you refrain from your own good? This is senseless, foolish. But even if you tell me that you do refrain, I will not believe you. For as it is impossible to assent to that which appears false, and to turn away from that which is true, so it is impossible to abstain from that which appears good. But wealth is a good thing, and certainly most efficient in producing pleasure. Why will you not acquire wealth? And why should we not corrupt our neighbor's wife, if we can do it without detection? and if the husband foolishly prates about the matter, why not pitch him out of the house? If you would be a philosopher such as you ought to be, if a perfect philosopher, if consistent with your own doctrines. If you would not, you will not differ at all from us who are called Stoics; for we also say one thing, but we do another: we talk of the things which are beautiful, but we do what is base. But you will be perverse in the contrary way, teaching what is bad, practicing what is good.

In the name of God, are you thinking of a city of Epicureans? "I do not marry." "Nor I, for a man ought not to marry; nor ought we to beget children, nor engage in public matters." What then will happen? whence will the citizens come? who will bring them up? who will be governor of the youth, who preside wi over gymnastic exercises? and in what also will the teacher instruct them? will he teach them what the Lacedaemonians were taught, or what the Athenians were taught? Come take a young man, bring him up according to your doctrines. The doctrines are bad, subversive of a state, pernicious to families, and not becoming to women. Dismiss them, man. You live in a chief city: it is your duty to be a magistrate, to judge justly, to abstain from that which belongs to others; no woman ought to seem beautiful to you except your own wife, and no youth, no vessel of silver, no vessel of gold. Seek for doctrines which are consistent with what I say, and, by making them your guide, you will with pleasure abstain from things which have such persuasive power to lead us and overpower us. But if to the persuasive power of these things, we also devise such a philosophy as this which helps to push us on toward them and strengthens us to this end, what will be the consequence? In a piece of toreutic art which is the best part? the silver or the workmanship? The substance of the hand is the flesh; but the work of the hand is the principal part. The duties then are also three; those which are directed toward the existence of a thing; those which are directed toward its existence in a particular kind; and third, the chief or leading things themselves. So also in man we ought not to value the material, the poor flesh, but the principal. What are these? Engaging in public business, marrying, begetting children, venerating God, taking care of parents, and, generally, having desires, aversions, pursuits of things and avoidances, in the way in which we ought to do these things, and according to our nature. And how are we constituted by nature? Free, noble, modest: for what other animal blushes? what other is capable of receiving the appearance of shame? and we are so constituted by nature as to subject pleasure to these things, as a minister, a servant, in order that it may call forth our activity, in order that it may keep us constant in acts which are conformable to nature.

"But I am rich and I want nothing." Why, then, do you pretend to be a philosopher? Your golden and your silver vessels are enough for you. What need have you of principles? "But I am also a judge of the Greeks." Do you know how to judge? Who taught you to know? "Caesar wrote to me a codicil." Let him write and give you a commission to judge of music; and what will be the use of it to you? Still how did you become a judge? whose hand did you kiss? the hand of Symphorus or Numenius? Before whose bedchamber have you slept? To whom have you sent gifts? Then do you not see that to be a judge is just of the same value as Numenius is? "But I can throw into prison any man whom I please." So you can do with a stone. "But I can beat with sticks whom I please." So you may an ass. This is not a governing of men. Govern us as rational animals: show us what is profitable to us, and we will follow it: show us what is unprofitable, and we will turn away from it. Make us imitators of yourself, as Socrates made men imitators of himself. For he was like a governor of men, who made them subject to him their desires, their aversion, their movements toward an object and their turning away from it. "Do this: do not do this: if you do not obey, I will throw you into prison." This is not governing men like rational animals. But I: As Zeus has ordained, so act: if you do not act so, you will feel the penalty, you will be punished. What will be the punishment? Nothing else than not having done your duty: you will lose the character of fidelity, modesty, propriety. Do not look for greater penalties than these.

Chapter 8

How we must exercise ourselves against appearances

As we exercise ourselves against sophistical questions, so we ought to exercise ourselves daily against appearances; for these appearances also propose questions to us. "A certain person son is dead." Answer: the thing is not within the power of the will: it is not an evil. "A father has disinherited a certain son. What do you think of it?" It is a thing beyond the power of the will, not an evil. "Caesar has condemned a person." It is a thing beyond the power of the will, not an evil. "The man is afflicted at this." Affliction is a thing which depends on the will: it is an evil. He has borne the condemnation bravely." That is a thing within the power of the will: it is a good. If we train ourselves in this manner, we shall make progress; for we shall never assent to anything of which there is not an appearance capable of being comprehended. Your son is dead. What has happened? Your son is dead. Nothing more? Nothing. Your ship is lost. What has happened? Your ship is lost. A man has been led to prison. What has happened? He has been led to prison. But that herein he has fared badly, every man adds from his own opinion. "But Zeus," you say, "does not do right in these matters." Why? because he has made you capable of endurance? because he has made you magnanimous? because he has taken from that which befalls you the power of being evil? because it is in your power to be happy while you are suffering what you suffer; because he has opened the door to you, when things do not please you? Man, go out and do not complain.

Hear how the Romans feel toward philosophers, if you would like to know. Italicus, who was the most in repute of the philosophers, once when I was present being, vexed with his own friends and as if he was suffering something intolerable said, "I cannot bear it, you are killing me: you will make me such as that man is"; pointing to me.

Chapter 9

To a certain rhetorician who was going up to Rome on a suit

When a certain person came to him, who was going up to Rome on account of a suit which had regard to his rank, Epictetus inquired the reason of his going to Rome, and the man then asked what he thought about the matter. Epictetus replied: If you ask me what you will do in Rome, whether you will succeed or fall, I have no rule about this. But if you ask me how you will fare, I can tell you: if you have right opinions, you will fare well; if they are false, you will fare ill. For to every man the cause of his acting is opinion. For what is the reason why you desired to be elected governor of the Cnossians? Your opinion. What is the reason that you are now going up to Rome? Your opinion. And going in winter, and with danger and expense. "I must go." What tells you this? Your opinion. Then if opinions are the causes of all actions, and a man has bad opinions, such as the cause may be, such also is the effect. Have we then all sound opinions, both you and your adversary? And how do you differ? But have you sounder opinions than your adversary? Why? You think so. And so does he think that his opinions are better; and so do madmen. This is a bad criterion. But show to me that you have made some inquiry into your opinions and have taken some pains about them. And as now you are sailing to Rome in order to become governor of the Cnossians, and you are not content to stay at home with the honors which you had, but you desire something greater and more conspicuous, so when did you ever make a voyage for the purpose of examining your own opinions, and casting them out, if you have any that are bad? Whom have you approached for this purpose? What time have you fixed for it? What age? Go over the times of your life by yourself, if you are ashamed of me. When you were a boy, did you examine your own opinions? and did you not then, as you do all things now, do as you did do? and when you were become a youth and attended the rhetoricians, and yourself practiced rhetoric, what did you imagine that you were deficient in? And when you were a young man and engaged in public matters, and pleaded causes yourself, and were gaining reputation, who then seemed your equal? And when would you have submitted to any man examining and show that your opinions are bad? What, then, do you wish me to say to you? "Help me in this matter." I have no theorem (rule) for this. Nor have you, if you came to me for this purpose, come to me as a philosopher, but as to a seller of vegetables or a shoemaker. "For what purpose then have philosophers theorems?" For this purpose, that whatever may happen, our ruling faculty may be and continue to be conformable to nature. Does this seem to you a small thing? "No; but the greatest." What then? does it need only a short time? and is it possible to seize it as you pass by? If you can, seize it.

Then you will say, "I met with Epictetus as I should meet with a stone or a statue": for you saw me, and nothing more. But he meets with a man as a man, who learns his opinions, and in his turn shows his own. Learn my opinions: show me yours; and then say that you have visited me. Let us examine one another: if I have any bad opinion, take it away; if you have any, show it. This is the meaning of meeting with a philosopher. "Not so, but this is only a passing visit, and while we are hiring the vessel, we can also see Epictetus. Let us see what he says." Then you go away and say: "Epictetus was nothing: he used solecisms and spoke in a barbarous way." For of what else do you come as judges? "Well, but a man may say to me, "If I attend to such matters, I shall have no land, as you have none; I shall have no silver cups as you have none, nor fine beasts as you have none." In answer to this it is perhaps sufficient to say: I have no need of such things: but if you possess many things you have need of others: whether you choose or not, you are poorer than I am. "What then have I need of?" Of that which you have not: of firmness, of a mind which is conformable to nature, of being free from perturbation. Whether I have a patron or not, what is that to me? but it is something to you. I am richer than you: I am not anxious what Caesar will think of me: for this reason, I flatter no man. This is what I possess instead of vessels of silver and gold. You have utensils of gold; but your discourse, your opinions, your assents, your movements, your desires are of earthen ware. But when I have these things conformable to nature, why should I not employ my studies also upon reason? for I have leisure: my mind is not distracted. What shall I do, since I have no distraction? What more suitable to a man have I than this? When you have nothing to do, you are disturbed, you go to the theatre or you wander about without a purpose. Why should not the philosopher labour to improve his reason? You employ yourself about crystal vessels: I employ myself about the syllogism named "The Living": you about myrrhine vessels; I employ myself about the syllogism named "The Denying." To you everything appears small that you possess: to me all that I have appears great. Your desire is insatiable: mine is satisfied. To (children) who put their hand into a narrow necked earthen vessel and bring out figs and nuts, this happens; if they fill the hand, they cannot take it out, and then they cry. Drop a few of them and you will draw things out. And do you part with your desires: do not desire many things and you will have what you want.

Chapter 10

In what manner we ought to bear sickness

When the need of each opinion comes, we ought to have it in readiness: on the occasion of breakfast, such as relate to breakfast; in the bath, those that concern the bath; in bed, those that concern bed.

Let sleep not come upon thy languid eyes Before each daily action thou hast scann'd; What's done amiss, what done, what left undone; From first to last examine all, and then Blame what is wrong in what is right rejoice.

And we ought to retain these verses in such way that we may use them, not that we may utter them aloud, as when we exclaim "Paean Apollo." Again in fever we should have ready such opinions as concern a fever; and we ought not, as soon as the fever begins, to lose and forget all. (A man who has a fever) may "If I philosophize any longer, may I be hanged: wherever I go, I must take care of the poor body, that a fever may not come." But what is philosophizing? Is it not a preparation against events which may happen? Do you not understand that you are saying something of this kind? "If I shall still prepare myself to bear with patience what happens, may I be hanged." But this is just as if a man after receiving blows should give up the Pancratium. In the Pancratium it is in our power to desist and not to receive blows. But in the other matter, we give up philosophy, what shall we gain I gain? What then should a man say on the occasion of each painful thing? "It was for this that I exercised myself, for this I disciplined myself." God says to you, "Give me a proof that you have duly practiced athletics, that you have eaten what you ought, that you have been exercised, that you have obeyed the aliptes." Then do you show yourself weak when the time for action comes? Now is the time for the fever. Let it be borne well. Now is the time for thirst, well; now is the time for hunger, bear it well. Is it not in your power? who shall hinder you? The physician will hinder you from drinking; but he cannot prevent you from bearing thirst well: and he will hinder you from eating; but he cannot prevent you from bearing hunger well.

"But I cannot attend to my philosophical studies." And for what purpose do you follow them? Slave, is it not that you may be happy, that you may be constant, is it not that you may be in a state conformable to nature and live so? What hinders you when you have a fever from having your ruling faculty conformable to nature? Here is the proof of the thing, here is the test of the philosopher. For this also is a part of life, like walking, like sailing, like journeying by land, so also is fever. Do you read when you are walking? No. Nor do you when you have a fever. if you walk about well, you have all that belongs to a man who walks. If you bear fever well, you have all that belongs to a man in a fever. What is it to bear a fever well? Not to blame God or man; not to be afflicted it that which happens, to expect death well and nobly, to do what must be done: when the physician comes in, not to be frightened at what he says; nor if he says, "You are doing well," to be overjoyed. For what good has he told you? and when you were in health, what good was that to you? And even if he says, "You are in a bad way," do not despond. For what is it to be ill? is it that you are near the severance of the soul and the body? what harm is there in this? If you are not near now, will you not afterward be near? Is the world going to be turned upside down when you are dead? Why then do you flatter the physician? Why do you say, "If you please, master, I shall be well"? Why do you give him an opportunity of raising his eyebrows? Do you not value a physician, as you do a shoemaker when he is measuring your foot, or a carpenter when he is building your house, and so treat the physician as to the body which is not yours, but by nature dead? He who has a fever has an opportunity of doing this: if he does these things, he has what belongs to him. For it is not the business of a philosopher to look after these externals, neither his wine nor his oil nor his poor body, but his own ruling power. But as to externals how must he act? so far as not to be careless about them. Where then is there reason for fear? where is there, then, still reason for anger, and of fear about what belongs to others, about things which are of no value? For we ought to have these two principles in readiness: that except the will nothing is good nor bad; and that we ought not to lead events, but to follow them. "My brother ought not to have behaved thus to me." No; but he will see to that: and, however he may behave, I will conduct myself toward him as I ought. For this is my own business: that belongs to another; no man can prevent this, the other thing can be hindered.

Chapter 11

Certain miscellaneous matters

There are certain penalties fixed as by law for those who disobey the divine administration. Whoever thinks any other thing to be good except those things which depend on the will, let him envy, let him desire, let him flatter, let him be perturbed: whoever considers anything else to be evil, let him grieve, let him lament, let him weep, let him be unhappy. And yet, though so severely punished, we cannot desist.

Remember what the poet says about the stranger:

Stranger, I must not, e'en if a worse man come. This, then, may be applied even to a father: "I must not, even if a worse man than you should come, treat a father unworthily-, for all are from paternal Zeus." And of a brother, "For all are from the Zeus who presides over kindred." And so in the other relations of life we shall find Zeus to be an inspector.

Chapter 12

About exercise

We ought not to make our exercises consist in means contrary to nature and adapted to cause admiration, for, if we do so, we, who call ourselves philosophers, shall not differ at all from jugglers. For it is difficult even to walk on a rope; and not only difficult, but it is also dangerous. Ought we for this reason to practice walking on a rope, or setting up a palm tree, or embracing statues? By no means. Everything, which is difficult and dangerous is not suitable for practice; but that is suitable which conduces to the working out of that which is proposed to us as a thing to be worked out. To live with desire and aversion, free from restraint. And what is this? Neither to be disappointed in that which you desire, nor to fall into anything which you would avoid. Toward this object, then, exercise ought to tend. For, since it is not possible to have your desire not disappointed and your aversion free from falling into that which you would avoid, great and constant practice you must know that if you allow your desire and aversion to turn to things which are not within the power of the will, you will neither have your desire capable of attaining your object, nor your aversion free from the power of avoiding that which you would avoid. And since strong habit leads, and we are accustomed to employ desire and aversion only to things which are not within the power of our will, we ought to oppose to this habit a contrary habit, and where there is great slipperiness in the appearances, there to oppose the habit of exercise.

I am rather inclined to pleasure: I will incline to the contrary side above measure for the sake of exercise. I am averse to pain: I will rub and exercise against this the appearances which are presented to me for the purpose of withdrawing my aversion from every such thing. For who is a practitioner in exercise? He who practices not using his desire, and applies his aversion only to things which are within the power of his will, and practices most in the things which are difficult to conquer. For this reason one man must practice himself more against one thing and another against another thing. What, then, is it to the purpose to set up a palm tree, or to carry about a tent of skins, or a mortar and a pestle? Practice, man, if you are irritable, to endure if you are abused, not to be vexed if you are treated with dishonour. Then you will make so much progress that, even if a man strikes you, you will say to yourself, "Imagine that you have embraced a statue": then also exercise yourself to use wine properly so as not to drink much, for in this also there are men who foolishly practice themselves; but first of all you should abstain from it, and abstain from a young girl and dainty cakes. Then at last, if occasion presents itself, for the purpose of trying yourself at a proper time, you will descend into the arena to know if appearances overpower you as they did formerly. But at first fly far from that which is stronger than yourself: the contest is unequal between a charming young girl and a beginner in philosophy. "The earthen pitcher," as the saying is, "and the rock do not agree."

After the desire and the aversion comes the second topic of the movements toward action and the withdrawals from it; that you may be obedient to reason, that you do nothing out of season or place, or contrary to any propriety of the kind. The third topic concerns the assents, which is related to the things which are persuasive and attractive. For as Socrates said, "we ought not to live a life without examination," so we ought not to accept an appearance without examination, but we should say, "Wait, let me see what you are and whence you come"; like the watch at night, "Show me the pass." "Have you the signal from nature which the appearance that may be accepted ought to have?" And finally whatever means are applied to the body by those who exercise it, if they tend in any way toward desire and it, aversion, they also may be fit means of exercise; but if they are for display, they are the indications of one who has turned himself toward something external, and who is hunting for something else, and who looks for spectators who will say, "Oh the great man." For this reason, Apollonius said well, "When you intend to exercise yourself for your own advantage, and you are thirsty from heat, take in a mouthful of cold water, and spit it out, and tell nobody."

Chapter 13

What solitude is, and what kind of person a solitary man is

Solitude is a certain condition of a helpless man. For because a man is alone, he is not for that reason also solitary; just as though a man is among numbers, he is not therefore not solitary. When then we have lost either a brother, or a son, or a friend on whom we were accustomed to repose, we say that we are left solitary, though we are often in Rome, though such a crowd meet us, though so many live in the same place, and sometimes we have a great number of slaves. For the man who is solitary, as it is conceived, is considered to be a helpless person and exposed to those who wish to harm him. For this reason when we travel, then especially do we say that we are lonely when we fall among robbers, for it is not the sight of a human creature which removes us from solitude, but the sight of one who is faithful and modest and helpful to us. For if being alone is enough to make solitude, you may say that even Zeus is solitary in the conflagration and bewails himself saying, "Unhappy that I am who have neither Hera, nor Athena, nor Apollo, nor brother, nor son, nor descendant nor kinsman." This is what some say that he does when he is alone at the conflagration. For they do not understand how a man passes his life when he is alone, because they set out from a certain natural principle, from the natural desire of community and mutual love and from the pleasure of conversation among men. But none the less a man ought to be prepared in a manner for this also, to be able to be sufficient for himself and to be his own companion. For as Zeus dwells with himself, and is tranquil by himself, and thinks of his own administration and of its nature, and is employed in thoughts suitable to himself; so ought we also to be able to talk with ourselves, not to feel the want of others also, not to be unprovided with the means of passing our time; to observe the divine administration and the relation of ourselves to everything else; to consider how we formerly were affected toward things that happen and how at present; what are still the things which give us pain; how these also can be cured and how removed; if any things require improvement, to improve them according to reason.

For you see that Caesar appears to furnish us with great peace, that there are no longer enemies nor battles nor great associations of robbers nor of pirates, but we can travel at every hour and sail from east to west. But can Caesar give us security from fever also, can he from shipwreck, from fire, from earthquake or from lightning? well, I will say, can he give us security against love? He cannot. From sorrow? He cannot. From envy? He cannot. In a word then he cannot protect us from any of these things. But the doctrine of philosophers promises to give us security even against these things. And what does it say? "Men, if you will attend to me, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you will not feel sorrow, nor anger, nor compulsion, nor hindrance, but you will pass your time without perturbations and free from everything." When a man has this peace, not proclaimed by Caesar (for how should he be able to proclaim it?), but by God through reason, is he not content when he is alone? when he sees and reflects, "Now no evil can happen to me; for me there is no robber, no earthquake, everything is full of peace, full of tranquillity: every way, every city, every meeting, neighbor, companion is harmless. One person whose business it is, supplies me with food; another with raiment; another with perceptions, and preconceptions. And if he does not supply what is necessary, He gives the signal for retreat, opens the door, and says to you, 'Go.' Go whither? To nothing terrible, but to the place from which you came, to your friends and kinsmen, to the elements: what there was in you of fire goes to fire; of earth, to earth; of air, to air; of water to water: no Hades, nor Acheron, nor Cocytus, nor Pyriphlegethon, but all is full of Gods and Demons." When a man has such things to think on, and sees the sun, the moon and stars, and enjoys earth and sea, he is not solitary nor even helpless. "Well then, if some man should come upon me when I am alone and murder me?" Fool, not murder you, but your poor body.

What kind of solitude then remains? what want? why do we make ourselves worse than children? and what do children do when they are left alone? They take up shells and ashes, and they build something, then pull it down, and build something else, and so they never want the means of passing the time. Shall I, then, if you sail away, sit down and weep, because I have been left alone and solitary? Shall I then have no shells, no ashes? But children do what they do through want of thought, and we through knowledge are unhappy.

Every great power is dangerous to beginners. You must then bear such things as you are able, but conformably to nature: but not... Practice sometimes a way of living like a man in health. Abstain from food, drink water, abstain sometimes altogether from desire, in order that you may some time desire consistently with reason; and if consistently with reason, when you have anything good in you, you will desire well. "Not so; but we wish to live like wise men immediately and to be useful to men." Useful how? what are you doing? have you been useful to yourself? "But, I suppose, you wish to exhort them." You exhort them! You wish to be useful to them. Show to them in your own example what kind of men philosophy makes, and don't trifle. When you are eating, do good to those who eat with you; when you are drinking, to those who are drinking with you; by yielding to all, giving way, bearing with them, thus do them good, and do not spit on them your phlegm.

Chapter 14

Certain miscellaneous matters

As bad tragic actors cannot sing alone, but in company with many: so some persons cannot walk about alone. Man, if you are anything, both walk alone and talk to yourself, and do not hide yourself in the chorus. Examine a little at last, look around, stir yourself up, that you may know who you are.

When a man drinks water, or does anything for the sake of practice, whenever there is an opportunity he tells it to all: "I drink water." Is it for this that you drink water, for the purpose of drinking water? Man, if it is good for you to drink, drink; but if not, you are acting ridiculously. But if it is good for you and you do drink, say nothing about it to those who are displeased with water-drinkers. What then, do you wish to please these very men?

Of things that are done some are done with a final purpose, some according to occasion, others with a certain reference to circumstances, others for the purpose of complying with others. and some according to a fixed scheme of life.

You must root out of men these two things, arrogance and distrust. Arrogance, then, is the opinion that you want nothing: but distrust is the opinion that you cannot be happy when so many circumstances surround you. Arrogance is removed by confutation; and Socrates was the first who practiced this. And, that the thing is not impossible, inquire and seek. This search will do you no harm; and in a manner this is philosophizing, to seek how it is possible to employ desire and aversion without impediment.

"I am superior to you, for my father is a man of consular rank." Another says, "I have been a tribune, but you have not." If we were horses, would you say, "My father was swifter?" "I have much barley and fodder, or elegant neck ornaments." If, then, while you were saying this, I said, "Be it so: let us run then." Well, is there nothing in a man such as running in a horse, by which it will he known which is superior and inferior? Is there not modesty, fidelity, justice? Show yourself superior in these, that you may be superior as a man. If you tell me that you can kick violently, I also will say to you that you are proud of that which is the act of an ass.

Chapter 15

That we ought to proceed with circumspection to everything

In every act consider what precedes and what follows, and then proceed to the act. If you do not consider, you will at first begin with spirit, since you have not thought at all of the things which follow; but afterward, when some consequences have shown themselves, you will basely desist. "I wish to conquer at the Olympic games." "And I too, by the gods: for it is a fine thing." But consider here what precedes and what follows; and then, if it is for your good, undertake the thing. You must act according to rules, follow strict diet, abstain from delicacies, exercise yourself by compulsion at fixed times, in heat, in cold; drink no cold water, nor wine, when there is opportunity of drinking it. In a word you must surrender yourself to the trainer as you do to a physician. Next in the contest, you must be covered with sand, sometimes dislocate a hand, sprain an ankle, swallow a quantity of dust, be scourged with the whip; and after undergoing all this, you must sometimes be conquered. After reckoning all these things, if you have still an inclination, go to the athletic practice. If you do not reckon them, observe you behave like children who at one time you wi play as wrestlers, then as gladiators, then blow a trumpet, then act a tragedy, when they have seen and admired such things. So you also do: you are at one time a wrestler, then a gladiator, then a philosopher, then a rhetorician; but with your whole soul you are nothing: like the ape, you imitate all that you see; and always one thing after another pleases you, but that which becomes familiar displeases you. For you have never undertaken anything after consideration, nor after having explored the whole matter and put it to a strict examination; but you have undertaken it at hazard and with a cold desire. Thus some persons having seen a philosopher and having heard one speak like Euphrates- yet who can speak like him?- wish to be philosophers themselves.

Man, consider first what the matter is, then your own nature also, what it is able to bear. If you are a wrestler, look at your shoulders, your thighs, your loins: for different men are naturally formed for different things. Do you think that, if you do, you can be a philosopher? Do you think that you can eat as you do now, drink as you do now, and in the same way be angry and out of humour? You must watch, labour, conquer certain desires, you must depart from your kinsmen, be despised by your slave, laughed at by those who meet you, in everything you must be in an inferior condition, as to magisterial office, in honours, in courts of justice. When you have considered all these things completely, then, if you think proper, approach to philosophy, if you would gain in exchange for these things freedom from perturbations, liberty, tranquillity. If you have not considered these things, do not approach philosophy: do not act like children, at one time a philosopher, then a tax collector, then a rhetorician, then a procurator of Caesar These things are not consistent. You must be one man either good or bad: you must either labour at your own ruling faculty or at external things: you must either labour at things within or at external things: that is, you must either occupy the place of a philosopher or that of one of the vulgar.

A person said to Rufus when Galba was murdered, "Is the world now governed by Providence?" But Rufus replied, "Did I ever incidentally form an argument from Galba that the world is governed by Providence?"

Chapter 16

That we ought with caution to enter, into familiar intercourse with men

If a man has frequent intercourse with others, either for talk, or drinking together, or generally for social purposes, he must either become like them, or change them to his own fashion. For if a man places a piece of quenched charcoal close to a piece that is burning, either the quenched charcoal will quench the other, or the burning charcoal will light that which is quenched. Since, then, the danger is so great, we must cautiously enter into such intimacies with those of the common sort, and remember that it is impossible that a man can keep company with one who is covered with soot without being partaker of the soot himself. For what will you do if a man speaks about gladiators, about horses, about athletes, or, what is worse, about men? "Such a person is bad," "Such a person is good": "This was well done," "This was done badly." Further, if he scoff, or ridicule, or show an ill-natured disposition? Is any man among us prepared like a lute-player when he takes a lute, so that as soon as he has touched the strings, he discovers which are discordant, and tunes the instrument? such a power as Socrates had who in all his social intercourse could lead his companions to his own purpose? How should you have this power? It is therefore a necessary consequence that you are carried about by the common kind of people.

Why, then, are they more powerful than you? Because they utter these useless words from their real opinions: but you utter your elegant words only from your lips; for this reason they are without strength and dead, and it is nauseous to listen to your exhortations and your miserable virtue, which is talked of everywhere. In this way the vulgar have the advantage over you: for every opinion is strong and invincible. Until, then, the good sentiments are fixed in you, and you shall have acquired a certain power for your security, I advise you to be careful in your association with like wax in the sun there will be melted away whatever you inscribe on your minds in the school. Withdraw, then, yourselves far from the sun so long as you have these waxen sentiments. For this reason also philosophers advise men to leave their native country, because ancient habits distract them and do not allow a beginning to be made of a different habit; nor can we tolerate those who meet us and say: "See such a one is now a philosopher, who was once so-and-so." Thus also physicians send those who have lingering diseases to a different country and a different air; and they do right, Do you also introduce other habits than those which you have: fix your opinions and exercise yourselves in them. But you do not so: you go hence to a spectacle, to a show of gladiators, to a place of exercise, to a circus; then you come back hither, and again from this place you go to those places, and still the same persons. And there is no pleasing habit, nor attention, nor care about self and observation of this kind, "How shall I use the appearances presented to me? according to nature, or contrary to nature? how do I answer to them? as I ought, or as I ought not? Do I say to those things which are independent of the will, that they do not concern me?" For if you are not yet in this state, fly from your former habits, fly from the common sort, if you intend ever to begin to be something.

Chapter 17

On providence

When you make any charge against Providence, consider, and you will learn that the thing has happened according to reason. "Yes, but the unjust man has the advantage." In what? "In money." Yes, for he is superior to you in this, that he flatters, is free from shame, and is watchful. What is the wonder? But see if he has the advantage over you in being faithful, in being modest: for you will not find it to be so; but wherein you are superior, there you will find that you have the advantage. And I once said to a man who was vexed because Philostorgus was fortunate: "Would you choose to lie with Sura?" "May it never happen," he replied, "that this day should come?" "Why then are you vexed, if he receives something in return for that which he sells; or how can you consider him happy who acquires those things by such means as you abominate; or what wrong does Providence, if he gives the better things to the better men? Is it not better to be modest than to be rich?" He admitted this. Why are you vexed then, man, when you possess the better thing? Remember, then, always, and have in readiness, the truth that this is a law of nature, that the superior has an advantage over the inferior in that in which he is superior; and you will never be vexed.

"But my wife treats me badly." Well, if any man asks you what this is, say, "My wife treats me badly." "Is there, then, nothing more?" Nothing. "My father gives me nothing." But to say that this is an evil is something which must be added to it externally, and falsely added. For this reason we must not get rid of poverty, but of the opinion about poverty, and then we shall be happy.

Chapter 18

That we ought not to be disturbed by any news

When anything shall be reported to you which is of a nature to disturb, have this principle in readiness, that the news is about nothing which is within the power