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Stoic Philosophy is Applied in Humility - Excerpts from Epictetus’ Enchiridion, Part 2 of 2

2020-09-08
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We will now continue with excerpts from Epictetus’ Enchiridion, where the Stoic philosopher guides us through life’s situations with practical wisdom and care for one’s righteousness and inner clarity. 
“Begin by prescribing to yourself some character and demeanor, such as you may preserve both alone and in company. Be mostly silent, or speak merely what is needful, and in few words. We may, however, enter sparingly into discourse sometimes, when occasion calls for it; but let it not run on any of the common subjects, as gladiators, or horse races, or athletic champions, or food, or drink — the vulgar topics of conversation — and especially not on men, so as either to blame, or praise, or make comparisons. If you are able, then, by your own conversation, bring over that of your company to proper subjects; but if you happen to find yourself among strangers, be silent. Let not your laughter be loud, frequent, or abundant.” 
“Provide things relating to the body no further than absolute need requires, as food, drink, clothing, house, retinue. But cut off everything that looks toward show and luxury. Before marriage, guard yourself with all your ability from unlawful intercourse with women; yet be not uncharitable or severe to those who are led into this, nor boast frequently that you yourself do otherwise.” 
“In company, avoid a frequent and excessive mention of your own actions and dangers. For however agreeable it may be to yourself to allude to the risks you have run, it is not equally agreeable to others to hear your adventures. Avoid likewise, an endeavor to excite laughter, for this may readily slide you into vulgarity, and, besides, may be apt to lower you in the esteem of your acquaintance. Approaches to indecent discourse are likewise dangerous. Therefore, when anything of this sort happens, use the first fit opportunity to rebuke him who makes advances that way, or, at least, by silence and blushing and a serious look, show yourself to be displeased by such talk.” 
“When you do anything from a clear judgment that it ought to be done, never shrink from being seen to do it, even though the world should misunderstand it; for if you are not acting rightly, shun the action itself; if you are, why fear those who wrongly censure you?” 
“For there is great danger in hastily throwing out what is undigested. And if anyone tells you that you know nothing, and you are not nettled at it, then you may be sure that you have really entered on your work.”
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