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What we ought to have ready in difficult circumstances.

1 WHEN you are going in to any great personage, remember that another also from above sees what is going on, and that you ought to please him rather than the other. He then who sees from above asks you: In the schools what used you to say about exile and bonds and death and disgrace? I used to say that they are things indifferent (neither good nor bad). What then do you say of them now? Are they changed at all? No. Are you changed then? No. Tell me then what things are indifferent? The things which are independent of the will. Tell me, also, what follows from this. The things which are independent of the will are nothing to me. Tell me also about the Good, what was your opinion? A will such as we ought to have and also such a use of appearances. And the end (purpose), what is it? To follow thee. Do you say this now also? I say the same now also.

Then go in to the great personage boldly and remember these things; and you will see what a youth is who has studied these things when he is among men who have not studied them. I indeed imagine that you will have such thoughts as these: Why do we make so great and so many preparations for nothing? Is this the thing which men name power? Is this the antechamber? this the men of the bedchamber? this the armed guards? Is it for this that I listened to so many discourses? All this is nothing: but I have been preparing myself as for something great.


1 The reader may understand why Epictetus gave such a lesson as this, if he will remember the tyranny under which men at that time lived.

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