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Epictetus, Works (ed. Thomas Wentworth Higginson) 8 0 Browse Search
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Epictetus, Discourses (ed. Thomas Wentworth Higginson), book 1 (search)
rria, so well known by that beautiful epigram in Martial. The expression of Tacitus concerning him is remarkable: After the murder of so many excellent persons, Nero at last formed a desire of cutting off virtue itself, by the execution of Thraseas Paetus and Bareas Soranus. Ann. 16.21.- C. used to say, " I had rather be killed today than banished to-morrow." But how did RufusRufus was a Tuscan, of the equestrian order, and a Stoic philosopher. When Vespasian banished the other philosophers, Rufus was alone excepted. - C. answer him? " If you prefer it as a heavier misfortune, how foolish a preference ! If as a lighter, who has put it in your power? Why do you not study to be contented with what is allotted you?" Well, and what said Agrippinus Agrippinus was banished by Nero, for no other crime than the unfortunate death of his father, who had been causelessly killed by the command of Tiberius; and this had furnished a pretence for accusing him of hereditary disloyalty. Tacitus, An
Epictetus, Discourses (ed. Thomas Wentworth Higginson), book 3 (search)
is desire, nor make him incur his aversion. He engages in no combat but what concerns objects within his own control. How then can he fail to be invincible? Being asked what common-sense was, he answered: As that may be called a common ear which distinguishes only sounds, but that which distinguishes notes, an artistic one; so there are some things which men, not totally perverted, discern by their common natural powers; and such a disposition is called common-sense. It is not easy to gain the attention of effeminate young men,--for you cannot take up custard by a hook, -but the ingenuous, even if you discourage them, are the more eager for learning. Hence Rufus, for the most part, did discourage them; and made use of that as a criterion of the ingenuous and disingenuous. For, he used to say, as a stone, even if you throw it up, will by its own propensity be carried downward, so an ingenuous mind, the more it is forced from its natural bent, will incline towards it the more strongly.
Epictetus, Discourses (ed. Thomas Wentworth Higginson), book 3 (search)
m happy in possessions acquired by means which you detest? Or what harm does Providence do in giving the best things to the best men? Is it not better to have a sense of honor than to be rich? " Granted." Why then are you angry, man, if you have what is best? Always remember, then, and have it in mind that a better man has the advantage of a worse in that direction in which he is better; and you will never have any indignation. " But my wife treats me ill." Well; if you are asked what is the matter, answer, "My wife treats me ill." "Nothing more?" Nothing. "My father gives me nothing." But to call this an evil, some external and false addition must be made. We are not therefore to get rid of poverty, but of our impressions concerning it; and we shall do well. When Galba was killed, somebody said to Rufus, "Now, indeed, the world is governed by Providence." I had never thought, answered Rufus, of extracting through Galba the slightest proof that the world was governed by Providence.
Epictetus, Discourses (ed. Thomas Wentworth Higginson), book 3 (search)
ry food does? What physician applies to anybody to be cured by him? (Though now indeed I hear that the physicians at Rome apply for patients; but in my time they were applied to.) "I apply to you to come and hear that you are in a bad way, and that you take care of everything but what you ought; that you know not what is good or evil, and are unfortunate and unhappy." A fine application! And yet, unless the discourse of a philosopher has this effect, both that and the speaker are lifeless. Rufus used to say, " If you are at leisure to praise me, I speak to no purpose." And indeed he used to speak in such a manner, that each of us who heard him supposed that some person had accused us to him; he so precisely hit upon what was done by us, and placed the faults of every one before his eyes. The school of a philosopher is a surgery. You are not to go out of it with pleasure, but with pain; for you do not come there in health; but one of you has a dislocated shoulder; another, an abscess