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Selections from “The Golden Sayings of Epictetus,” Part 2 of 2

2021-08-04
Език:English
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Epictetus’ teachings have had an immense influence throughout the centuries, including on the great philosopher and Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, on early Christian moral thought, on current approaches to psychology and more, and continues to have an impact on many intellectuals, thinkers, and philosophers around the world.

“If a man could be thoroughly penetrated, as he ought, with this thought, that we are all in an especial manner sprung from God, and that God is the Father of men as well as of gods, full surely he would never conceive to be ignoble (not honorable) or below of himself. Whereas if Caesar were to adopt you, your haughty looks would be intolerable; will you not be elated at knowing that you are the son of God?”

“The other day I had an iron lamp placed beside my household gods. I heard a noise at the door and on hastening down found my lamp carried off. I reflected that the culprit was in no very strange case ‘Tomorrow, my friend,’ I said, ‘you will find an earthenware lamp; for a man can only lose what he has.’ The reason why I lost my lamp was that the thief was superior to me in vigilance. He paid however this price for the lamp, that in exchange for it he consented to become a thief: in exchange for it, to become faithless.”

“You journey to Olympia to see the work of Phidias; and each of you holds it a misfortune not to have beheld these things before you die. Whereas when there is no need even to take a journey, but you are on the spot, with the works before you, have you no care to contemplate and study these? Will you not then perceive either who you are or unto what end you were born; or for what purpose the power of contemplation has been bestowed on you?”

“If what philosophers say of the kinship of God and man be true, what remains for men to do but as Socrates did: never, when asked one's country, to answer, ‘I am an Athenian or a Corinthian,’ but ‘I am a citizen of the world.’”

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