Discourses


Contents


Book I

I. Of the things which are under our control and not under our control.

Among the arts and faculties in general you will find none that is self-contemplative, and therefore none that is either self-approving or self-disapproving. How far does the art of grammar possess the power of contemplation? Only so far as to pass judgment upon what is written. How far the art of music? Only so far as to pass judgment upon the melody. Does either of them, then, contemplate itself? Not at all. But if you are writing to a friend and are at a loss as to what to write, the art of grammar will tell you; yet whether or no you are to write to your friend at all, the art of grammar will not tell. The same holds true of the art of music with regard to melodies; but whether you are at this moment to sing and play on the lyre, or neither sing nor play, it will not tell. What art or faculty, then, will tell? That one which contemplates both itself and everything else. And what is this? The reasoning faculty; for this is the only one we have inherited which will take knowledge both of itself — what it is, and of what it is capable, and how valuable a gift it is to us — and likewise of all the other faculties. 5. For what else is it that tells us gold is beautiful? For the gold itself does not tell us. Clearly it is the faculty which makes use of external impressions. What else judges with discernment the art of music, the art of grammar, the other arts and faculties, passing judgment upon their uses and pointing out the seasonable occasions for their use? Nothing else does.

As was fitting, therefore, the gods have put under our control only the most excellent faculty of all and that which dominates the rest, namely, the power to make correct use of external impressions, but all the others they have not put under our control. Was it indeed because they would not? I for one think that had they been able they would have entrusted us with the others also; but they were quite unable to do that. For since we are upon earth and trammelled by an earthy body and by earthy associates, how was it possible that, in respect of them, we should not be hampered by external things?

10. But what says Zeus? “Epictetus, had it been possible I should have made both this paltry body and this small estate of thine free and unhampered. But as it is — let it not escape thee — this body is not thine own, but only clay cunningly compounded. Yet since I could not give thee this, we have given thee a certain portion of ourself, this faculty of choice and refusal, of desire and aversion, or, in a word, the faculty which makes use of external impressions; if thou care for this and place all that thou hast therein, thou shalt never be thwarted, never hampered, shalt not groan, shalt not blame, shalt not flatter any man. What then? Are these things small in thy sight?” “Far be it from me!” “Art thou, then, content with them?” “I pray the Gods I may be.”

But now, although it is in our power to care for one thing only and devote ourselves to but one, we choose rather to care for many things, and to be tied fast to many, even to our body and our estate and brother and friend and child and slave. 15. Wherefore, being tied fast to many things, we are burdened and dragged down by them. That is why, if the weather keeps us from sailing, we sit down and fidget and keep constantly peering about. “What wind is blowing?” we ask. Boreas. “What have we to do with it? When will Zephyrus blow?” When it pleases, good sir, or rather when Aeolus pleases. For God has not made you steward of the winds, but Aeolus. “What then?” We must make the best of what is under our control, and take the rest as its nature is. “How, then, is its nature?” As God wills.

“Must I, then, be the only one to be beheaded now?” Why, did you want everybody to be beheaded for your consolation? Are you not willing to stretch out your neck as did a certain Lateranus at Rome, when Nero ordered him to be beheaded? For he stretched out his neck and received the blow, but, as it was a feeble one, he shrank back for an instant, and then stretched out his neck again. 20. Yes, and before that, when Epaphroditus, a freedman of Nero, approached a certain man and asked about the ground of his offense, he answered, “If I wish anything, I will speak to your master.”

“What aid, then, must we have ready at hand in such circumstances?” Why, what else than the knowledge of what is mine, and what is not mine, and what is permitted me, and what is not permitted me? I must die: must I, then, die groaning too? I must be fettered: and wailing too? I must go into exile: does anyone, then, keep me from going with a smile and cheerful and serene? “Tell your secrets.” I say not a word; for this is under my control. “But I will fetter you.” What is that you say, man? fetter me? My leg you will fetter, but my moral purpose not even Zeus himself has power to overcome. “I will throw you into prison.” My paltry body, rather! “I will behead you.” Well, when did I ever tell you that mine was the only neck that could not be severed? These are the lessons that philosophers ought to rehearse, these they ought to write down daily, in these they ought to exercise themselves.

Thrasea used to say: “I would rather be killed today than banished tomorrow.” What, then, did Rufus say to him? “If you choose death as the heavier of two misfortunes, what folly of choice! But if as the lighter, who has given you the choice? Are you not willing to practice contentment with what has been given you?”

Wherefore, what was it that Agrippinus used to remark? “I am not standing in my own way.” Word was brought him, “Your case is being tried in the Senate.” — “Good luck betide! But it is the fifth hour now” (he was in the habit of taking his exercise and then a cold bath at that hour); “let us be off and take our exercise.” After he had finished his exercise someone came and told him, “You have been condemned.” — “To exile,” says he, “or to death?” — “To exile.” — “What about my property?” — “It has not been confiscated.” — “Well then, let us go to Aricia and take our lunch there.” This is what it means to have rehearsed the lessons one ought to rehearse, to have set desire and aversion free from every hindrance and made them proof against chance. I must die. If forthwith, I die; and if a little later, I will take lunch now, since the hour for lunch has come, and afterwards I will die at the appointed time. How? As becomes the man who is giving back that which was another’s.

II: How may a man preserve his proper character upon every occasion?

To the rational being only the irrational is unendurable, but the rational is endurable. Blows are not by nature unendurable. — How so? — Observe how: Lacedaemonians take a scourging once they have learned that it is rational. — But is it not unendurable to be hanged? — Hardly; at all events whenever a man feels that it is rational he goes and hangs himself. In short, if we observe, we shall find mankind distressed by nothing so much as by the irrational, and again attracted to nothing so much as to the rational.

5. Now it so happens that the rational and the irrational are different for different persons, precisely as good and evil, and the profitable and the unprofitable, are different for different persons. It is for this reason especially that we need education, so as to learn how, in conformity with nature, to adapt to specific instances our preconceived idea of what is rational and what is irrational. But for determining the rational and the irrational, we employ not only our estimates of the value of external things, but also the criterion of that which is in keeping with one’s own character. For to one man it is reasonable to hold a chamber-pot for another, since he considers only that, if he does not hold it, he will get a beating and will not get food, whereas, if he does hold it, nothing harsh or painful will be done to him; but some other man feels that it is not merely unendurable to hold such a pot himself, but even to tolerate another’s doing so. 10. If you ask me, then, “Shall I hold the pot or not?” I will tell you that to get food is of greater value than not to get it, and to be flayed is of greater detriment than not to be; so that if you measure your interests by these standards, go and hold the pot. “Yes, but it would be unworthy of me.” That is an additional consideration, which you, and not I, must introduce into the question. For you are the one that knows yourself, how much you are worth in your own eyes and at what price you sell yourself. For different men sell themselves at different prices.

Wherefore, when Florus was debating whether he should enter Nero’s festival, so as to make some personal contribution to it, Agrippinus said to him, “Enter.” And when Florus asked, “Why do you not enter yourself?” he replied, “I? why, I do not even raise the question.” For when a man once stoops to the consideration of such questions, I mean to estimating the value of externals, and calculates them one by one, he comes very close to those who have forgotten their own proper character. 15. Come, what is this you ask me? “Is death or life preferable?” I answer, life. “Pain or pleasure?” I answer, pleasure. “But unless I take a part in the tragedy I shall be beheaded.” Go, then, and take a part, but I will not take a part. “Why not?” Because you regard yourself as but a single thread of all that go to make up the garment. What follows, then? This, that you ought to take thought how you may resemble all other men, precisely as even the single thread wants to have no point of superiority in comparison with the other threads. But I want to be the red, that small and brilliant portion which causes the rest to appear comely and beautiful. Why, then, do you say to me, “Be like the majority of people?” And if I do that, how shall I any longer be the red?

This is what Helvidius Priscus also saw, and, having seen, did. When Vespasian sent him word not to attend a meeting of the Senate, he answered, “It is in your power not to allow me to be a member of the Senate, but so long as I am one I must attend its meetings.” 20. “Very well then, but when you attend, hold your peace.” “Do not ask for my opinion and I will hold my peace.” “But I must ask for your opinion.” “And I must answer what seems to me right.” “But if you speak, I shall put you to death.” “Well, when did I ever tell you that I was immortal? You will do your part and I mine. It is yours to put me to death, mine to die without a tremor; yours to banish, mine to leave without sorrow.” What good, then, did Priscus do, who was but a single individual? And what good does the red do the mantle? What else than that it stands out conspicuous in it as red, and is displayed as a goodly example to the rest? But had Caesar told another man in such circumstances not to attend the meetings of the Senate, he would have said, “I thank you for excusing me.” A man like that Caesar would not even have tried to keep from attending, but would have known that he would either sit like a jug, or, if he spoke, would say what he knew Caesar wanted said, and would pile up any amount more on the top of it.

25. In like manner also a certain athlete acted, who was in danger of dying unless his private parts were amputated. His brother (and he was a philosopher) came to him and said, “Well, brother, what are you going to do? Are we going to cut off this member, and step forth once more into the gymnasium?” He would not submit, but hardened his heart and died. And as someone asked, “How did he do this? As an athlete, or as a philosopher?” As a man, replied Epictetus; and as a man who had been proclaimed at the Olympic games and had striven in them, who had been at home in such places, and had not merely been rubbed down with oil in Bato’s wrestling school. But another would have had even his neck cut off, if he could have lived without his neck. This is what we mean by regard for one’s proper character; and such is its strength with those who in their deliberations habitually make it a personal contribution. “Come then, Epictetus, shave off your beard.” If I am a philosopher, I answer, “I will not shave it off” “But I will take off your neck.” If that will do you any good, take it off.

30.Someone inquired, “How, then, shall each of us become aware of what is appropriate to his own proper character?” How comes it, replied he, that when the lion charges, the bull alone is aware of his own prowess and rushes forward to defend the whole herd? Or is it clear that with the possession of the prowess comes immediately the consciousness of it also? And so, among us too, whoever has such prowess will not be unaware of it. Yet a bull does not become a bull all at once, any more than a man becomes noble, but a man must undergo a winter training, he must prepare himself and must not plunge recklessly into what is inappropriate for him.

Only consider at what price you sell your freedom of will. If you must sell it, man, at least do not sell it cheap. But the great and pre-eminent deed, perhaps, befits others, Socrates and men of his stamp. — Why then, pray, if we are endowed by nature for such greatness, do not all men, or many, become like him? What, do all horses become swift, all dogs keen to follow the scent? 35. What then? Because I have no natural gifts, shall I on that account give up my discipline? Far be it from me! Epictetus will not be better than Socrates; but if only I am not worse, that suffices me. For I shall not be a Milo, either, and yet I do not neglect my body; nor a Croesus, and yet I do not neglect my property; nor, in a word, is there any other field in which we give up the appropriate discipline merely from despair of attaining the highest.

III: From the thesis that God is the Father of mankind, how may one proceed to the consequences?

If a man could only subscribe heart and soul, as he ought, to this doctrine, that we are all primarily begotten of God, and that God is the father of men as well as of gods, I think that he will entertain no ignoble or mean thought about himself. Yet, if Caesar adopts you no one will be able to endure your conceit, but if you know that you are a son of Zeus, will you not be elated? As it is, however, we are not, but inasmuch as these two elements were co-mingled in our begetting, on the one hand the body, which we have in common with the brutes, and, on the other, reason and intelligence, which we have in common with the gods, some of us incline toward the former relationship, which is unblessed by fortune and is mortal, and only a few toward that which is divine and blessed. Since, then, it is inevitable that every man, whoever he be, should deal with each thing according to the opinion which he forms about it, these few, who think that by their birth they are called to fidelity, to self-respect, and to unerring judgment in the use of external impressions, cherish no mean or ignoble thoughts about themselves, whereas the multitude do quite the opposite. 5. “For what am I? A miserable, paltry man,” say they, and, “Lo, my wretched, paltry flesh!” Wretched indeed, but you have also something better than your paltry flesh. Why then abandon that and cleave to this?

It is because of this kinship with the flesh that those of us who incline toward it become like wolves, faithless and treacherous and hurtful, and others like lions, wild and savage and untamed; but most of us become foxes, that is to say, rascals of the animal kingdom. For what else is a slanderous and malicious man but a fox, or something even more rascally and degraded? Take heed, therefore, and beware that you become not one of these rascally creatures.

IV: Of progress.

He who is making progress, having learned of the philosophers that desire is for things good and aversion is toward things evil, and having also learned that serenity and calm are not attained by a man save as he succeeds in securing the objects of desire and as he avoids encountering the objects of aversion — such a one has utterly excluded desire from himself, or else deferred it to another time, and feels aversion only toward the things which involve freedom of choice. For if he avoids anything that is not a matter of free choice, he knows that some time he will encounter something in spite of his aversion to it, and will come to grief. Now if it is virtue that holds out the promise thus to create happiness and calm and serenity, then assuredly progress toward virtue is progress toward each of these states of mind. For it is always true that whatsoever the goal toward which perfection in anything definitely leads, progress is an approach thereto.

5. How comes it, then, that we acknowledge virtue to be a thing of this sort, and yet seek progress and make a display of it in other things? What is the work of virtue? Serenity. Who, then, is making progress? The man who has read many treatises of Chrysippus? What, is virtue no more than this — to have gained a knowledge of Chrysippus? For if it is this, progress is confessedly nothing else than a knowledge of many of the works of Chrysippus. But now, while acknowledging that virtue produces one thing, we are declaring that the approach to virtue, which is progress, produces something else. “So-and-so,” says someone, “is already able to read Chrysippus all by himself.” It is fine headway, by the gods, that you are making, man! Great progress this! 10. “Why do you mock him? And why do you try to divert him from the consciousness of his own shortcomings? Are you not willing to show him the work of virtue, that he may learn where to look for his progress?” Look for it there, wretch, where your work lies. And where is your work? In desire and aversion, that you may not miss what you desire and encounter what you would avoid; in choice and in refusal, that you may commit no fault therein; in giving and withholding assent of judgment, that you may not be deceived. But first come the first and most necessary points. Yet if you are in a state of fear and grief when you seek to be proof against encountering what you would avoid, how, pray, are you making progress?

Do you yourself show me, therefore, your own progress in matters like the following. Suppose, for example, that in talking to an athlete I said, “Show me your shoulders,” and then he answered, “Look at my jumping-weights.” Go to, you and your jumping-weights! What I want to see is the effect of the jumping-weights. “Take the treatise Upon Choice and see how I have mastered it.” It is not that I am looking into, you slave, but how you act in your choices and refusals, your desires and aversions, how you go at things, and apply yourself to them, and prepare yourself, whether you are acting in harmony with nature therein, or out of harmony with it. 15. For if you are acting in harmony, show me that, and I will tell you that you are making progress; but if out of harmony, begone, and do not confine yourself to expounding your books, but go and write some of the same kind yourself. And what will you gain thereby? Do you not know that the whole book costs only five denarii? Is the expounder of it, then, think you, worth more than five denarii? And so never look for your work in one place and your progress in another.

Where, then, is progress? If any man among you, withdrawing from external things, has turned his attention to the question of his own moral purpose, cultivating and perfecting it so as to make it finally harmonious with nature, elevated, free, unhindered, untrammelled, faithful, and honorable; and if he has learned that he who craves or shuns the things that are not under his control can be neither faithful nor free, but must himself of necessity be changed and tossed to and fro with them, and must end by subordinating himself to others, those, namely, who are able to procure or prevent these things that he craves or shuns; 20. and if, finally, when he rises in the morning he proceeds to keep and observe all this that he has learned; if he bathes as a faithful man, eats as a self-respecting man, — similarly, whatever the subject matter may be with which he has to deal, putting into practice his guiding principles, as the runner does when he applies the principles of running, and the voice-trainer when he applies the principles of voice-training, — this is the man who in all truth is making progress, and the man who has not travelled at random is this one. But if he has striven merely to attain the state which he finds in his books and works only at that, and has made that the goal of his travels, I bid him go home at once and not neglect his concerns there, since the goal to which he has traveled is nothing; but not so that other goal — to study how a man may rid his life of sorrows and lamentations, and of such cries as “Woe is me!” and “Wretch that I am!” and of misfortune and failure, and to learn the meaning of death, exile, prison, hemlock; that he may be able to say in prison, “Dear Crito, if so it pleases the gods, so be it,” rather than, “Alas, poor me, an old man, it is for this that I have kept my gray hairs!” 25. Who says such things? Do you think that I will name you some man held in small esteem and of low degree? Does not Priam say it? Does not Oedipus? Nay more, all kings say it! For what are tragedies but the portrayal in tragic verse of the sufferings of men who have admired things external? If indeed one had to be deceived into learning that among things external and independent of our free choice none concerns us, I, for my part, should consent to a deception which would result in my living thereafter serenely and without turmoil; but as for you, you will yourselves see to your own preference.

What, then, does Chrysippus furnish us? “That you may know,” he says, “that these things are not false from which serenity arises and tranquility comes to us, take my books and you shall know how conformable and harmonious with nature are the things which render me tranquil.” O the great good fortune! O the great benefactor who points the way! 30. To Triptolemus, indeed, all men have established shrines and altars, because he gave us as food the fruits of cultivation, but to him who has discovered, and brought to light, and imparted to all men the truth which deals, not with mere life, but with a good life, — who among you has for that set up an altar in his honor, or dedicated a temple or a statue, or bows down to God in gratitude for him? But because the gods have given us the vine or wheat, for that do we make sacrifice, and yet because they have brought forth such a fruit in a human mind, whereby they purposed to show us the truth touching happiness, shall we fail to render thanks unto God for this?

V: Against the Academics.

If a man, says Epictetus, resists truths that are all too evident, in opposing him it is not easy to find an argument by which one may cause him to change his opinion. The reason for this is neither the man’s ability nor the teacher’s weakness; nay, when a man who has been trapped in an argument hardens to stone, how shall one any longer deal with him by argument?

Now there are two kinds of petrifaction: one is the petrifaction of the intellect, the other of the sense of shame, when a man stands in array, prepared neither to assent to manifest truths nor to leave the fighting line. Most of us dread the deadening of the body and would resort to all means so as to avoid falling into such a state, but about the deadening of the soul we care not at all. 5. Indeed, by Zeus, even in the case of the soul itself, if a man be in such a state that he cannot follow an argument step by step, or even understand one, we regard him too as being in a bad way; but if a man’s sense of shame and self-respect be deadened, this we go so far as to call strength of character!

Do your senses tell you that you are awake? “No,” he answers, “any more than they do when in dreams I have the impression that I am awake.” Is there, then, no difference between these two impressions? “None.” Can I argue with this man any longer? And what cautery or lancet shall I apply to him, to make him realize that he is deadened? He does realize it, but pretends that he does not; he is even worse than a corpse. One man does not notice the contradiction — he is in a bad way; another man notices it, indeed, but is not moved and does not improve — he is in a still worse state. His self-respect and sense of shame have been lopped off, and his reasoning faculty has been — I will not say cut away, but brutalized. 10. Am I to call this strength of character? Far from it, unless I am so to describe the strength that lewd fellows have, which enables them to say and do in public anything that comes into their heads.

VI: Of providence.

From everything that happens in the cosmos it is easy for a man to find occasion to praise providence, if he has within himself these two qualities: the faculty of taking a comprehensive view of what has happened in each individual instance, and the sense of gratitude. Otherwise, one man will not see the usefulness of what has happened, and another, even if he does see it, will not be grateful therefor. If God had made colors, but had not made the faculty of seeing them, of what good had it been? — None at all. 5. — But, conversely, if He had made the faculty, but in making objects, had made them incapable of falling under the faculty of vision, in that case also of what good had it been? — None at all. — What then, if He had even made both of these, but had not made light? — Even thus it would have been of no use. — Who is it, then, that has fitted this to that and that to this? And who is it that has fitted the sword to the scabbard, and the scabbard to the sword? No one? Assuredly from the very structure of all made objects we are accustomed to prove that the work is certainly the product of some artificer, and has not been constructed at random.

Does, then, every such work reveal its artificer, but do visible objects and vision and light not reveal him? And the male and the female, and the passion of each for intercourse with the other, and the faculty which makes use of the organs which have been constructed for this purpose, do these things not reveal their artificer either? Well, admit it for these things; 10. but the marvelous constitution of the intellect whereby, when we meet with sensible objects, we do not merely have their forms impressed upon us, but also make a selection from among them, and subtract and add, and make these various combinations by using them, yes, and, by Zeus, pass from some things to certain others which are in a manner related to them — is not even all this sufficient to stir our friends and induce them not to leave the artificer out of account? Else let them explain to us what it is that produces each of these results, or how it is possible that objects so wonderful and so workmanlike should come into being at random and spontaneously.

What then? Is it in the case of man alone that these things occur? You will, indeed, find many things in man only, things of which the rational animal had a peculiar need, but you will also find many possessed by us in common with the irrational animals. Do they also, then, understand what happens? No! for use is one thing, and understanding another. God had need of the animals in that they make use of external impressions, and of us in that we understand the use of external impressions. And so for them it is sufficient to eat and drink and rest and procreate, and whatever else of the things within their own province the animals severally do; while for us, to whom He has made the additional gift of the faculty of understanding, 15. these things are no longer sufficient, but unless we act appropriately, and methodically, and in conformity each with his own nature and constitution, we shall no longer achieve our own ends. For of beings whose constitutions are different, the works and the ends are likewise different. So for the being whose constitution is adapted to use only, mere use is sufficient, but where a being has also the faculty of understanding the use, unless the principle of propriety be added, he will never attain his end. What then? Each of the animals God constitutes, one to be eaten, another to serve in farming, another to produce cheese, and yet another for some other similar use; to perform these functions what need have they to understand external impressions and to be able to differentiate between them? But God has brought man into the world to be a spectator of Himself and of His works, and not merely a spectator, but also an interpreter. 20. Wherefore, it is shameful for man to begin and end just where the irrational animals do; he should rather begin where they do, but end where nature has ended in dealing with us. Now she did not end until she reached contemplation and understanding and a manner of life harmonious with nature. Take heed, therefore, lest you die without ever having been spectators of these things.

But you travel to Olympia to behold the work of Pheidias, and each of you regards it as a misfortune to die without seeing such sights; yet when there is no need to travel at all, but where Zeus is already, and is present in his works, will you not yearn to behold these works and know them? 25. Will you decline, therefore, to perceive either who you are, or for what you have been born, or what that purpose is for which you have received sight? — But some unpleasant and hard things happen in life. — And do they not happen at Olympia? Do you not swelter? Are you not cramped and crowded? Do you not bathe with discomfort? Are you not drenched whenever it rains? Do you not have your fill of tumult and shouting and other annoyances? But I fancy that you hear and endure all this by balancing it off against the memorable character of the spectacle. Come, have you not received faculties that enable you to bear whatever happens? Have you not received magnanimity? Have you not received courage? Have you not received endurance? And what care I longer for anything that may happen, if I be magnanimous? What shall perturb me, or trouble me, or seem grievous to me? Shall I fail to use my faculty to that end for which I have received it, but grieve and lament over events that occur?

30. “Yes, but my nose is running.” What have you hands for, then, slave? Is it not that you may wipe your nose? “Is it reasonable, then, that there should be running noses in the world?” — And how much better it would be for you to wipe your nose than to find fault! Or what do you think Heracles would have amounted to, if there had not been a lion like the one which he encountered, and a hydra, and a stag, and a boar, and wicked and brutal men, whom he made it his business to drive out and clear away? And what would he have been doing had nothing of the sort existed? Is it not clear that he would have rolled himself up in a blanket and slept? In the first place, then, he would never have become Heracles by slumbering away his whole life in such luxury and ease; but even if he had, of what good would he have been? What would have been the use of those arms of his and of his prowess in general, and his steadfastness and nobility, had not such circumstances and occasions roused and exercised him? 35. What then? Ought he to have prepared these for himself, and sought to bring a lion into his own country from somewhere or other, and a boar, and a hydra? This would have been folly and madness. But since they did exist and were found in the world, they were serviceable as a means of revealing and exercising our Heracles.

Come then, do you also, now that you are aware of these things, contemplate the faculties which you have, and, after contemplating, say: “Bring now, O Zeus, what difficulty Thou wilt; for I have an equipment given to me by Thee, and resources wherewith to distinguish myself by making use of the things that come to pass,” But no, you sit trembling for fear something will happen, and lamenting, and grieving, and groaning about other things that are happening. And then you blame the gods! For what else can be the consequence of so ignoble a spirit but sheer impiety? 40. And yet God has not merely given us these faculties, to enable us to bear all that happens without being degraded or crushed thereby, but — as became a good king and in very truth a father — He has given them to us free from all restraint, compulsion, hindrance; He has put the whole matter under our control without reserving even for Himself any power to prevent or hinder. Although you have these faculties free and entirely your own, you do not use them, nor do you realize what gifts you have received, and from whom, but you sit sorrowing and groaning, some of you blinded toward the giver himself and not even acknowledging your benefactor, and others, — such is their ignoble spirit — turning aside to fault-finding and complaints against God. And yet, though I can show you that you have resources and endowment for magnanimity and courage, do you, pray, show me what resources you have to justify faultfinding and complaining!

VII: Of the use of equivocal premises, hypothetical arguments, and the like.

Most men are unaware that the handling of arguments that involve equivocal and hypothetical premises, and, further, of those which derive syllogisms by the process of interrogation, and, in general, the handling of all such arguments, has a bearing upon the duties of life. For our aim in every matter of inquiry is to learn how the good and excellent man may find the appropriate course through it and the appropriate way of conducting himself in it. Let them say, then, either that the good man will not enter the contest of question and answer, or that, once he has entered, he will be at no pains to avoid conducting himself carelessly and at haphazard in question and answer; or else, if they accept neither of these alternatives, they must admit that some investigation should be made of those topics with which question and answer are principally concerned.

5. For what is the professed object of reasoning? To state the true, to eliminate the false, to suspend judgment in doubtful cases. Is it enough, then, to learn this alone? — It is enough, says one. — Is it, then, also enough for the man who wants to make no mistake in the use of money to be told the reason why you accept genuine drachmas and reject the counterfeit? — It is not enough. — What, then, must be added to this? Why, what else but the faculty that tests the genuine drachmas and the counterfeit and distinguishes between them? Wherefore, in reasoning also the spoken word is not enough, is it? On the contrary, is it not necessary to develop the power of testing the true and the false and the uncertain and of distinguishing between them? — It is necessary. — What else besides this is proposed in reasoning? Pray accept the consequence of what you have properly granted. 10. Come, is it enough, then, in this case also merely to know that this particular thing is true? It is not enough, but one must learn in what way a thing follows as a consequence upon certain other things, and how sometimes one thing follows upon one, and at other times upon several conjointly. Is it not, then, necessary that a man should also acquire this power, if he is to acquit himself intelligently in argument, and is himself not only to prove each point when he tries to prove it, but also to follow the argument of those who are conducting a proof, and is not to be misled by men who quibble as though they were proving something? There has consequently arisen among us, and shown itself to be necessary, a science which deals with inferential arguments and with logical figures and trains men therein.

But of course there are times when we have with sound reasoning granted the premises, and the inference from them is so-and-so; and, in spite of its being false, it is nonetheless the inference. What, then, should I do? Accept the fallacy? 15. And how is that possible? Well, should I say, “It was not sound reasoning for me to grant the premises”? Nay, but this is not permissible either. Or, “This does not follow from what has been granted”? But that is not permissible, either. What, then, must be done in these circumstances? Is it not this, that the fact of having borrowed is not enough to prove that one is still in debt, but we must add the circumstance that one abides by the loan — that is, has not paid it — and just so our having once granted the premises is not enough to compel us to accept the inference, but we must abide by our acceptance of the premises? And what is more, if the premises remain until the end what they were when they were granted, there is every necessity for us to abide by our acceptance of them, and to allow the conclusion that has been drawn from them; …for from our point of view and to our way of thinking this inference does not now result from the premises, since we have withdrawn from our previous assent to the premises. 20. It is necessary, therefore, to inquire into premises of this kind and into such change and equivocal modification of them, whereby, at the very moment the question is put, or the answer made, or the deduction drawn, or at some other similar stage in the argument, the premises take on modified meanings and give occasion to the unthinking to be disconcerted, if they do not see what follows in consequence. Why is it necessary? In order that in this matter we may not behave unsuitably, nor at haphazard, nor confusedly.

And the same holds true of hypotheses and hypothetical arguments. For it is necessary at times to postulate some hypothesis as a sort of stepping-stone for the subsequent argument. Are we, therefore, to grant any and every hypothesis that is proposed, or not every one? And if not every one, what one? And when a man has granted an hypothesis, must he abide forever by it and maintain it, or are there times when he should abandon it and accept only the consequences that follow from it without accepting those which are opposed to it? 25. — Yes. — But someone says, “If you once admit an hypothesis that involves a possibility, I will compel you to be drawn on to an impossibility.” Shall the prudent man refuse to engage with this person, and avoid inquiry and discussion with him? Yet who but the prudent is capable of using argument and skillful in question and answer, and, by Zeus, proof against deceit and sophistic fallacies? But shall he argue, indeed, and then not take pains to avoid conducting himself recklessly and at haphazard in argument? And if he does not, how will he any longer be the sort of man we think he is? But without some such exercise and preparation in formal reasoning, how will he be able to maintain the continuity of the argument? Let them show that he will be able, and all these speculations become mere superfluity; they were absurd and inconsistent with our preconception of the good man.

30. Why are we still indolent and easy-going and sluggish, seeking excuses whereby we may avoid toiling or even late hours, as we try to perfect our own reason? — If, then, I err in these matters, I have not murdered my own father, have I? — Slave, pray where was there in this case a father for you to murder? What, then, have you done, you ask? You have committed what was the only possible error in the matter. Indeed this is the very remark I made to Rufus when he censured me for not discovering the one omission in a certain syllogism. “Well,” said I, “it isn’t as bad as if I had burned down the Capitol.” But he answered, “Slave, the omission here is the Capitol.” Or are there no other errors than setting fire to the Capitol and murdering one’s father? But to make a reckless and foolish and haphazard use of the external impressions that come to one, to fail to follow an argument, or demonstration, or sophism — in a word, to fail to see in question and answer what is consistent with one’s position or inconsistent — is none of these things an error?

VIII: That the reasoning faculties, in the case of the uneducated, are not free from error.

In as many ways as it is possible to vary the meaning of equivalent terms, in so many ways may a man also vary the forms of his controversial arguments and of his enthymemes in reasoning. Take this syllogism, for instance: If you have borrowed and have not repaid, you owe me the money; now you have not borrowed and have not repaid; therefore you do not owe me the money. And no man is better fitted to employ such variations skillfully than the philosopher. For if, indeed, the enthymeme is an incomplete syllogism, it is clear that he who has been exercised in the perfect syllogism would be no less competent to deal with the imperfect also.

Why, then, do we neglect to exercise ourselves and one another in this way? 5. Because, even now, without receiving exercise in these matters, or even being, by me at least, diverted from the study of morality, we nevertheless make no progress toward the beautiful and the good. What, therefore, must we expect, if we should take on this occupation also? And especially since it would not merely be an additional occupation to draw us away from those which are more necessary, but would also be an exceptional excuse for conceit and vanity. For great is the power of argumentation and persuasive reasoning, and especially if it should enjoy excessive exercise and receive likewise a certain additional ornament from language. The reason is that, in general, every faculty which is acquired by the uneducated and the weak is dangerous for them, as being apt to make them conceited and puffed up over it. For by what device might one any longer persuade a young man who excels in these faculties to make them an appendage to himself instead of his becoming an appendage to them? 10. Does he not trample all these reasons under foot, and strut about in our presence, all conceited and puffed up, much less submitting if any one by way of reproof reminds him of what he lacks and wherein he has gone astray?

What then? Was not Plato a philosopher? Yes, and was not Hippocrates a physician? But you see how eloquently Hippocrates expresses himself. Does Hippocrates, then, express himself so eloquently by virtue of his being a physician? Why, then, do you confuse things that for no particular reason have been combined in the same man? Now if Plato was handsome and strong, ought I to sit down and strive to become handsome, or become strong, on the assumption that this is necessary for philosophy, because a certain philosopher was at the same time both handsome and a philosopher? Are you not willing to observe and distinguish just what that is by virtue of which men become philosophers, and what qualities pertain to them for no particular reason? Come now, if I were a philosopher, ought you to become lame like me? What then? Am I depriving you of these faculties? 15. Far be it from me! No more than I am depriving you of the faculty of sight. Yet, if you inquire of me what is man’s good, I can give you no other answer than that it is a kind of moral purpose.

IX: How from the thesis that we are akin to God may one proceed to the consequence?

If what is said by the philosophers regarding the kinship of God and men be true, what other course remains for men but that which Socrates took when asked to what country he belonged, never to say “I am an Athenian,” or “I am a Corinthian,” but “I am a citizen of the cosmos”? For why do you say that you are an Athenian, instead of mentioning merely that corner into which your paltry body was cast at birth? Or is it clear you take the place which has a higher degree of authority and comprehends not merely that corner of yours, but also your family and, in a word, the source from which your race has come, your ancestors down to yourself, and from some such entity call yourself “Athenian,” or “Corinthian”? Well, then, anyone who has attentively studied the administration of the cosmos and has learned that “the greatest and most authoritative and most comprehensive of all governments is this one, which is composed of men and God, and that from Him have descended the seeds of being, not merely to my father or to my grandfather, but to all things that are begotten and that grow upon earth, and chiefly to rational beings, 5. seeing that by nature it is theirs alone to have communion in the society of God, being intertwined with him through the reason,” — why should not such a man call himself a citizen of the cosmos? Why should he not call himself a son of God? And why shall he fear anything that, happens among men? What? Shall kinship with Caesar or any other of them that have great power at Rome be sufficient to enable men to live securely, proof against contempt, and in fear of nothing whatsoever, but to have God as our maker, and father, and guardian, — shall this not suffice to deliver us from griefs and fears? — And wherewithal shall I be fed, asks one, if I have nothing? — And how of slaves, how of runaways, on what do they rely when they leave their masters? On their lands, their slaves, or their vessels of silver? No, on nothing but themselves; and nevertheless food does not fail them. And shall it be necessary for our philosopher, forsooth, when he goes abroad, to depend upon others for his assurance and his refreshment, instead of taking care of himself, and to be more vile and craven than the irrational animals, every one of which is sufficient to himself, and lacks neither its own proper food nor that way of life which is appropriate to it and in harmony with nature?

10. As for me, I think that the elder man ought not to be sitting here devising how to keep you from thinking too meanly of yourselves or from taking in your debates a mean or ignoble position regarding yourselves; he should rather be striving to prevent there being among you any young men of such a sort that, when once they have realized their kinship to the gods and that we have these fetters as it were fastened upon us, — the body and its possessions, and whatever things on their account are necessary to us for the management of life, and our tarrying therein, — they may desire to throw aside all these things as burdensome and vexatious and unprofitable and depart to their kindred. And this is the struggle in which your teacher and trainer, if he really amounted to anything, ought to be engaged; you, for your part, would come to him saying: —Epictetus, we can no longer endure to be imprisoned with this paltry body, giving it food and drink, and resting and cleansing it, and, to crown all, being on its account brought into contact with these people and those. Are not these things indifferent — indeed, nothing — to us? And is not death no evil? And are we not in a manner akin to God, and have we not come from Him? Suffer us to go back whence we came; suffer us to be freed at last from these fetters that are fastened to us and weigh us down. 15. Here are despoilers and thieves, and courts of law, and those who are called tyrants; they think that thev have some power over us because of the paltry body and its possessions. Suffer us to show them that they have power over no one.” And thereupon it were my part to say: “Men, wait upon God. When He shall give the signal and set you free from this service, then shall you depart to Him; but for the present endure to abide in this place, where He has stationed you. Short indeed is this time of your abiding here, and easy to bear for men of your convictions. For what tyrant, or what thief, or what courts of law are any longer formidable to those who have thus set at naught the body and its possessions? Stay, nor be so unrational as to depart.”

Some such instruction should be given by the teacher to the youth of good natural parts. But what happens now? A corpse is your teacher and corpses are you. As soon as you have fed your fill today, you sit lamenting about the morrow, wherewithal you shall be fed. 20. Slave, if you get it, you will have it; if you do not get it, you will depart; the door stands open. Why grieve? Where is there yet room for tears? What occasion longer for flattery? Why shall one man envy another? Why shall he admire those who have great possessions, or those who are stationed in places of power, especially if they be both strong and prone to anger? For what will they do to us? As for what they have power to do, we shall pay no heed thereto; as for the things we care about, over them they have no power. Who, then, will ever again be ruler over the man who is thus disposed?

How did Socrates feel with regard to these matters? Why, how else than as that man ought to feel who has been convinced that he is akin to the gods? “If you tell me now,” says he, “‘We will acquit you on these conditions, namely, that you will no longer engage in these discussions which you have conducted hitherto, nor trouble either the young or the old among us,’ I will answer, ‘You make yourselves ridiculous by thinking that, if your general had stationed me at any post, I ought to hold and maintain it and choose rather to die ten thousand times than to desert it, but if God has stationed us in some place and in some manner of life we ought to desert that.’” 25. This is what it means for a man to be in very truth a kinsman of the gods. We, however, think of ourselves as though we were mere bellies, entrails, and genitals, just because we have fear, because we have appetite, and we flatter those who have power to help us in these matters, and these same men we fear.

A certain man asked me to write to Rome in his behalf. Now he had met with what most men account misfortune: though he had formerly been eminent and wealthy, he had afterwards lost everything and was living here. And I wrote in humble terms in his behalf. But when he had read the letter he handed it back to me, and said, “I wanted your help, not your pity; my plight is not an evil one.” So likewise Rufus was wont to say, to test me, “Your master is going to do such-and-such a thing to you.” 30. And when I would say in answer. “‘Tis but the lot of man,” he would reply. “What then? Am I to go on and petition him, when I can get the same result from you?” For, in fact, it is foolish and superfluous to try to obtain from another that which one can get from oneself. Since, therefore, I am able to get greatness of soul and nobility of character from myself, am I to get a farm, and money, or some office, from you? Far from it! I will not be so unaware of what I myself possess. But when a man is cowardly and abject, what else can one possibly do but write letters in his behalf as we do in behalf of a corpse: “Please to grant us the carcass of so-and-so and a pint of paltry blood?” For really, such a person is but a carcass and a pint of paltry blood, and nothing more. But if he were anything more he would perceive that one man is not unfortunate because of another.

X: To those who have set their hearts upon preferment at Rome.

If we philosophers had applied ourselves to our own work as zealously as the old men at Rome have applied themselves to the matters on which they have set their hearts, perhaps we too should be accomplishing something. I know a man older than myself who is now in charge of the grain supply at Rome. When he passed this place on his way back from exile, I recall what a tale he told as he inveighed against his former life and announced for the future that, when he had returned to Rome, he would devote himself solely to spending the remainder of his life in peace and quiet, “For how little is yet left to me!” — And I told him, “You will not do it, but when once you have caught no more than a whiff of Rome you will forget all this.” And if also admission to court should be granted, I added that he would rejoice, thank God and push his way in. — “If you find me, Epictetus,” said he, “putting so much as one foot inside the court, think of me what you will.” 5. Well, now, what did he do? Before he reached Rome, letters from Caesar met him; and as soon as he received them, he forgot all those resolutions of his, and ever since he has been piling up one property after another. I wish I could stand by his side now and remind him of the words that he uttered as he passed by here, and remark, “How much more clever a prophet I am than you!”

What then? Do I say that man is an animal made for inactivity? Far be it from me! But how can you say that we philosophers are not active in affairs? For example, to take myself first: as soon as day breaks I call to mind briefly what author I must read over. Then forthwith I say to myself: “And yet what difference does it really make to me how so-and-so reads? The first thing is that I get my sleep.” Even so, in what are the occupations of those other men comparable to ours? If you observe what they do, you will see. For what else do they do but all day long cast up accounts, dispute, consult about a bit of grain, a bit of land, or similar matters of profit? 10. Is it, then, much the same thing to receive a little petition from someone and read: “I beseech you to allow me to export a small quantity of grain,” and this one: “I beseech you to learn from Chrysippus what is the administration of the cosmos, and what place therein the rational animal has; and consider also who you are, and what is the nature of your good and evil”? Is this like that? And does it demand the like kind of study? And is it in the same way shameful to neglect the one and the other? What then? Is it we philosophers alone who take things easily and drowse? No, it is you young men far sooner. For, look you, we old men, when we see young men playing, are eager to join in the play ourselves. And much more, if I saw them wide-awake and eager to share in our studies, should I be eager to join, myself, in their serious pursuits.

XI: Of family affection.

When an official came to see him, Epictetus, after making some special inquiries about other matters, asked him if he had children and a wife, and when the other replied that he had, Epictetus asked the further question, What, then, is your experience with marriage? — Wretched, he said. — To which Epictetus, How so? For men do not marry and beget children just for this surely, to be wretched, but rather to be happy. — And yet, as for me, the other replied, I feel so wretched about the little children, that recently when my little daughter was sick and was thought to be in danger, I could not bear even to stay by her sick bed, but I up and ran away, until someone brought me word that she was well again. — What then, do you feel that you were acting right in doing this? 5. — I was acting naturally, he said. — But really, you must first convince me of this, that you were acting naturally, said he, and then I will convince you that whatever is done in accordance with nature is rightly done. — This is the way, said the man, all, or at least most, of us fathers feel. — And I do not contradict you either, answered Epictetus, and say that it is not done, but the point at issue between us is the other, whether it is rightly done. For by your style of reasoning we should have to say of tumors also that they are produced for the good of the body, just because they occur, and in brief, that to err is in accordance with nature, just because practically all of us, or at least most of us, do err. Do you show me, therefore, how your conduct is in accordance with nature. — I cannot, said the man; but do you rather show me how it is not in accordance with nature, and not rightly done. And Epictetus said: Well, if we were inquiring about white and black objects, what sort of criterion should we summon in order to distinguish between them? — The sight, said the man. — And if about hot and cold, and hard and soft objects, what criterion? — The touch. 10. — Very well, then, since we are disputing about things which are in accordance with nature and things which are rightly or not rightly done, what criterion would you have us take? — I do not know, he said. — And yet, though it is, perhaps, no great harm for one not to know the criterion of colors and odors, and so, too, of flavors, still do you think that it is a slight harm for a man to be ignorant of the criterion of good and evil things, and of those in accordance with nature and those contrary to nature? — On the contrary, it is the very greatest harm. Come, tell me, are all the things that certain persons regard as good and fitting, rightly so regarded? And is it possible at this present time that all the opinions which Jews, and Syrians, and Egyptians and Romans hold on the subject of food are rightly held? — And how can it be possible? — But, I fancy, it is absolutely necessary, if the views of the Egyptians are right, that those of the others are not right; if those of the Jews are well founded, that those of the others are not. — Yes, certainly. — Now where there is ignorance, there is also lack of knowledge and the lack of instruction in matters which are indispensable. — He agreed. 15. — You, then, said he, now that you perceive this, will henceforth study no other have learned the criterion of what is in accordance with nature, you shall apply that criterion and thus determine each special case.

But for the present I can give you the following assistance toward the attainment of what you desire. Does family affection seem to you to be in accordance with nature and good? — Of course. — What then? Is it possible that, while family affection is in accordance with nature and good, that which is reasonable is not good? — By no means. — That which is reasonable is not, therefore, incompatible with family affection? — It is not, I think. — Otherwise, when two things are incompatible and one of them is in accordance with nature, the other must be contrary to nature, must it not? — Even so, said he. — Whatever, therefore, we find to be at the same time both affectionate and reasonable, this we confidently assert to be both right and good? — Granted, said he. 20. — What then? I suppose you will not deny that going away and leaving one’s child when it is sick is at least not reasonable. But we have yet to consider whether it is affectionate. — Yes, let us consider that. — Were you, then, since you were affectionately disposed to your child, doing right when you ran away and left her? And has the mother no affection for her child? — On the contrary, she has affection. — Ought then the mother also to have left her child, or ought she not? — She ought not. — What of the nurse? Does she love her child? — She does, he said. — Ought, then, she also to have left her? — By no means. — What about the school attendant? Does not he love the child? — He does. — Ought, then, he as well to have gone away and left her, so that the child would thus have been left alone and helpless because of the great affection of you her parents and of those in charge of her, or, perhaps, have died in the arms of those who neither loved her nor cared for her? — Far from it! — And yet is it not unfair and unfeeling, when a man thinks certain conduct fitting for himself because of his affection, that he should not allow the same to others who have as much affection as he has? — That were absurd. 25. — Come, if it had been you who were sick, would you have wanted all your relatives, your children and your wife included, to show their affection in such a way that you would be left all alone and deserted by them? — By no means. — And would you pray to be so loved by your own that, because of their excessive affection, you would always be left alone in sickness? Or would you, so far as this is concerned, have prayed to be loved by your enemies rather, if that were possible, so as to be left alone by them? And if this is what you would have prayed for, the only conclusion left us is that your conduct was, in the end, not an act of affection at all.

What, then; was the motive nothing at all which actuated you and induced you to leave your child? And how can that be? But it was a motive like that which impelled a certain man in Rome to cover his head when the horse which he backed was running, — and then, when it won unexpectedly, they had to apply sponges to him to revive him from his faint! What motive, then, is this? The scientific explanation, perhaps, is not in place now; but it is enough for us to be convinced that, if what the philosophers say is sound, we ought not to look for the motive anywhere outside of ourselves, but that in all cases it is one and the same thing that is the cause of our doing a thing or of our not doing it, of our saying things, or of our not saying them, of our being elated, or of our being cast down, of our avoiding things, or of our pursuing them — the very thing, indeed, which has even now become a cause of my action and of yours; yours in coming to me and sitting here now listening, mine in saying these things. 30. And what is that? Is it, indeed, anything else than that we wanted to do this? — Nothing. — And supposing that we had wanted to do something else, what else would we be doing than that which we wanted to do? Surely, then, in the case of Achilles also, it was this that was the cause of his grief — not the death of Patroclus (for other men do not act this way when their comrades die), but that he wanted to grieve. And in your case the other day, the cause of your running away was just that you wanted to do so; and another time, if you stay with her, it will be because you wanted to stay. And now you are going back to Rome, because you want to do so, and if you change your mind and want something else, you will not go. And, in brief, it is neither death, nor exile, nor toil, nor any such thing that is the cause of our doing, or of our not doing, anything, but only our opinions and the decisions of our will.

Do I convince you of this, or not? — You convince me, said he. — Of such sort, then, as are the causes in each case, such likewise are the effects. 35. Very well, then, whenever we do anything wrongly, from this day forth we shall ascribe to this action no other cause than the decision of our will which led us to do it, and we shall endeavor to destroy and excise that cause more earnestly than we try to destroy and excise from the body its tumors and abscesses. And in the same way we shall declare the same thing to be the cause of our good actions. And we shall no longer blame either slave, or neighbor, or wife, or children, as being the causes of any evils to us, since we are persuaded that, unless we decide that things are thus-and-so, we do not perform the corresponding actions; and of our decision, for or against something, we ourselves, and not things outside of ourselves, are the masters. — Even so, he said. — From this very day, therefore, the thing whose nature or condition we shall investigate and examine will be neither our farm, nor our slaves, nor our horses, nor our dogs, but only the decisions of our will. — I hope so, he said. — You see, then, that it is necessary for you to become a frequenter of the schools, — that animal at which all men laugh, — if you really desire to make an examination of the decisions of your own will. And that this is not the work of a single hour or day you know as well as I do.

XII: Of contentment.

Concerning gods there are some who say that the divine does not so much as exist; and others, that it exists, indeed, but is inactive and indifferent, and takes forethought for nothing; and a third set, that it exists and takes forethought, though only for great and heavenly things and in no case for terrestrial things; and a fourth set, that it also takes forethought for things terrestrial and the affairs of men, but only in a general way, and not for the individual in particular; and a fifth set, to which Odysseus and Socrates belonged, who say

Nor when I move am I concealed from thee.

We must, therefore, first of all inquire about each of these statements, to see whether it is sound or not sound. 5. For if gods do not exist, how can it be an end to follow the gods? And if they exist, indeed, but care for nothing, how even thus will that conclusion be sound? But if, indeed, they both exist and exercise care, yet there is no communication from them to men, — yes, and, by Zeus, to me personally, — how even in this case can our conclusion still be sound? The good and excellent man must, therefore, inquire into all these things, before he subordinates his own will to him who administers the cosmos, precisely as good citizens submit to the law of the state. And he that is being instructed ought to come to his instruction with this aim, “How may I follow the gods in everything, and how may I be acceptable to the divine administration, and how may I become free?” Since he is free for whom all things happen according to his moral purpose, and whom none can restrain. What then? 10. Is freedom insanity? Far from it; for madness and freedom are not consistent with one another. “But I would have that which seems best to me happen in every case, no matter how it comes to seem so.” You are mad; you are beside yourself. Do you not know that freedom is a noble and precious thing? But for me to desire at haphazard that those things should happen which have at haphazard seemed best to me, is dangerously near being, not merely not noble, but even in the highest degree shameful. For how do we act in writing? Do I desire to write the name “Dio” as I choose? No, but I am taught to desire to write it as it ought to be written. What do we do in music? The same. And what in general, where there is any art or science? The same; otherwise knowledge of anything would be useless, if it were accommodated to every individual’s whims. 15. Is it, then, only in this matter of freedom, the greatest and indeed the highest of all, that I am permitted to desire at haphazard? By no means, but instruction consists precisely in learning to desire each thing exactly as it happens. And how do they happen? As he that ordains them has ordained. And he has ordained that there be summer and winter, and abundance and dearth, and virtue and vice, and all such opposites, for the harmony of the whole, and he has given each of us a body, and members of the body, and property and companions.

Mindful, therefore, of this ordaining we should go to receive instruction, not in order to change the constitution of things, — for this is neither vouchsafed us nor is it better that it should be, — but in order that, things about us being as they are and as their nature is, we may, for our own part, keep our wills in harmony with what happens. For, look you, can we escape from men? And how is it possible? But can we, if they associate with us, change them? And who vouchsafes us that power? What alternative remains, then, or what method can we find for living with them? Some such method as that, while they will act as seems best to them, we shall nonetheless be in a state comformable to nature. 20. But you are impatient and peevish, and if you are alone, you call it a solitude, but if you are in the company of men, you call them schemers and brigands, and you find fault even with your own parents and children and brothers and neighbors. But you ought, when staying alone, to call that peace and freedom, and to look upon yourself as like the gods; and when you are in the company of many, you ought not call that a mob, nor a tumult, nor a disgusting thing, but a feast and a festival, and so accept all things contentedly.

What, then, is the punishment of those who do not accept? To be just as they are. Is one peevish because he is alone? Let him be in solitude! Is he peevish with his parents? Let him be an evil son and grieve! Is he peevish with his children? Let him be a bad father! “Throw him into prison.” What sort of prison? Where he now is. For he is there against his will, and where a man is against his will, that for him is a prison. Just as Socrates was not in prison, for he was there willingly. “Alas, that I should be lame in my leg!” Slave, do you, then, because of one paltry leg blame the cosmos? Will you not make a free gift of it to the whole? Will you not relinquish it? Will you not gladly yield it to the giver? 25. And will you be angry and peevish at the ordinances of Zeus, which he defined and ordained together with the Fates who spun in his presence the thread of your begetting? Do you not know how small a part you are compared with the whole? That is, as to the body; for as to the reason you are not inferior to the gods, nor less than they; for the greatness of the reason is not determined by length nor by height, but by the decisions of its will.

Will you not, therefore, set what is for you the good in that wherein you are equal to the gods? “Wretched man that I am; such a father and such a mother as I have!” Well, was it permitted you to step forward and make selection, saying, “Let such-and-such man have intercourse with such-and-such woman at this hour, that I may be born”? It was not permitted you; but your parents had to exist first, then you had to be born as you were born. Of what kind of parents? Of such as they were. 30. What then? Since they are such, is no remedy given you? Again, supposing that you were ignorant of the purpose for which you possess the faculty of vision, you would be unfortunate and wretched if you closed your eyes when men brought some color before them; but in that you have greatness of mind and nobility for use for everyone of the things may happen to you, and know it not, are you not yet more unfortunate and wretched? Things proportionate to the faculty which you possess are brought before you, but you turn that faculty away at the very moment when you ought to keep it wide open and discerning. Do you not rather render thanks to the gods that they have allowed you to be superior to all the things that they did not put under your control, and have rendered you accountable only for what is under your control? As for parents, the gods have released you from accountability; as for brothers, they have released you; as for body, they have released you; and for property, death, life. Well, for what have they made you accountable? For the only thing that is under your control — the proper use of impressions. 35. Why, then, do you draw upon yourself that for which you are not responsible? This is to make trouble for yourself.

XIII: How may each several thing be done acceptably to the gods?

Now when someone asked him how it is possible to eat acceptably to the gods, he said, If it is done justly and graciously and fairly and restrainedly and decently, is it not also done acceptably to the gods? And when you have asked for warm water and the slave does not heed you; or if he does heed you but brings in tepid water; or if he is not even to be found in the house, then to refrain from anger and not to explode, is not this acceptable to the gods? — How, then, can a man bear with such persons? — Slave, will you not bear with your own brother, who has Zeus as his progenitor and is, as it were, a son born of the same seed as yourself and of the same sowing from above; but if you have been stationed in a like position above others, will you forthwith set yourself up as a tyrant? Do you not remember what you are, and over whom you rule — that they are kinsmen, that they are brothers by nature, that they are the offspring of Zeus? 5. — But I have a deed of sale for them, and they have none for me. — Do you see whither you bend your gaze, that it is to the earth, that it is to the pit, that it is to these wretched laws of ours, the laws of the dead, and that it is not to the laws of the gods that you look?

XIV: That the Deity oversees all men.

Now when someone asked him how a man could be convinced that each thing which he does is under the eye of God, Do you not think, he answered, that all things are united in one? — I do, said the other. — Very well, do you not think that what is on earth feels the influence of that which is in heaven? — I do, he replied. — For how else comes it that so regularly, as if from God’s command, when He bids the plants flower, they flower, when He bids them put forth shoots, they put them forth, when He bids them bear their fruit, they bear it, when to ripen, they ripen; when again He bids them drop their fruit and let fall their leaves and gather themselves together and remain quiet and take their rest, they remain quiet and take their rest? And how else comes it that at the waxing and waning of the moon and at the approach and recession of the sun we see among the things that are on earth so great an alteration and change to the opposite? 5. But are the plants and our own bodies so closely bound up with the cosmos, and do they so intimately share its affections, and is not the same much more true of our own souls? But if our souls are so bound up with God and joined together with Him, as being parts and portions of His being, does not God perceive their every motion as being a motion of that which is His own and of one body with Himself? And yet you have power to think about the divine dispensation and about each several item among things divine, and at the same time also about human affairs, and you have the faculty of being moved by myriads of matters at the same time both in your senses and in your intelligence, and at the same time you assent to some, while you dissent from others, or suspend judgment about them; and you guard in your own soul so many impressions derived from so many and various matters, and, on being moved by these impressions, your mind falls upon notions corresponding to the impressions first made, and so from myriads of matters you derive and retain arts, one after the other, and memories. All this you do, and is God not able to oversee all things and to be present with all and to have a certain communication from them all? 10. Yet the sun is capable of illuminating so large a portion of the cosmos, and of leaving unilluminated only the small space which is no larger than can be covered by the shadow that the earth casts; and is He who has created the sun, which is but a small portion of Himself in comparison with the whole, and causes it to revolve, is He not able to perceive all things?

And yet, says one, I cannot follow all these things at one and the same time. — But does anyone go so far as to tell you this, namely, that you possess a faculty which is equal to that of Zeus? Yet nonetheless He has stationed by each man’s side as guardian his particular genius, — and has committed the man to his care, — and that too a guardian who never sleeps and is not to be beguiled. For to what other guardian, better and more careful, could He have committed each one of us? Wherefore, when you close your doors and make darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not alone; nay, God is within, and your own genius is within. And what need have they of light in order to see what you are doing? 15. Yes, and to this God you also ought to swear allegiance, as the soldiers do to Caesar. They are but hirelings, yet they swear that they will put the safety of Caesar above everything; and shall you, indeed, who have been counted worthy of blessings so numerous and so great be unwilling to swear, or, when you have sworn, to abide by your oath? And what shall you swear? Never to disobey under any circumstances, never to prefer charges, never to find fault with anything that God has given, never to let your will rebel when you have either to do or to suffer something that is inevitable. Can the oath of the soldiers in any way be compared with this of ours? Out there men swear never to prefer another in honor above Caesar; but here we swear to prefer ourselves in honor above everything else.

XV: What does philosophy profess?

When someone consulted Epictetus as to how he could persuade his brother to cease being angry with him, he replied, Philosophy does not profess to secure for man any external possession. Otherwise it would be undertaking something that lies outside its proper subject-matter. For as wood is the material of the carpenter, bronze that of the statuary, just so each man’s own life is the subject-matter of the art of living. — Well, what about my brother’s life? — That again is the subject-matter of his own art of living, but with respect to your art of living it comes under the category of externals, like a farm, like health, like good repute. Philosophy promises none of these things, but rather, “In every circumstance I will keep the governing principle in a state of accord with nature.” — Whose governing principle? — “His in whom I am.” 5. — How, then, shall I keep my brother from being angry at me? — Bring him to me and I will tell him, but I have nothing to say to you on the subject of his anger.

And when the man who was consulting him said. What I seek to know is this, how, even if my brother refuses to be reconciled with me, I may yet be in accord with nature, Epictetus replied: Nothing great comes into being all at once; why, not even does the bunch of grapes, or a fig. If you say to me now, “I want a fig,” I shall answer, “That requires time.” Let the tree blossom first, then put forth its fruit, and finally let the fruit ripen. Now although the fruit of even a fig-tree is not brought to perfection all at once and in a single hour, would you still seek to secure the fruit of a man’s mind in so short a while and so easily? Do not expect it, not even if I should tell you so myself.

XVI: Of providence.

Marvel not that the animals other than man have furnished them, ready prepared by nature, what pertains to their bodily needs — not merely food and drink, but also a bed to lie on, — and that they have no need of shoes, or bedding, or clothing, while we are in need of all these things. For in the case of animals, born not for their own sake, but for service, to have created them in need of other things was not beneficial. Why, consider what it would be for us to have to take thought not for merely ourselves, but also for our sheep and our asses, how they are to be clothed and shod, how they are to find food and drink. But just as soldiers appear before their general, all ready for service, shod, clothed and armed, and it would be shocking if the colonel had to go around and equip his regiment with shoes or uniforms; so also nature has made animals, which are born for service, ready for use, equipped, and in need of no further attention. 5. Consequently one small child with a rod can drive a flock of sheep.

But as it is, we first forbear to give thanks for these beasts, because we do not have to bestow upon them the same care as we require for ourselves, and then proceed to complain against God on our own account! Yet, by Zeus and the gods, one single gift of nature would suffice to make a man who is reverent and grateful perceive the providence of God. Do not talk to me now of great matters: take the mere fact that milk is produced from grass, and cheese from milk, and that wool grows from skin — who is it that has created or devised these things? “No one,” somebody says. Oh, the depth of man’s stupidity and shamelessness!

Come, let us leave the chief works of nature, and consider merely what she does in passing. 10. Can anything be more useless than the hairs on a chin? Well, what then? Has not nature used even these in the most suitable way possible? Has she not by these means distinguished between the male and the female? Does not the nature of each one among us cry aloud forthwith from afar, “I am a man; on this understanding approach me, on this understanding talk with me; ask for nothing further; behold the signs”? Again, in the case of women, just as nature has mingled in their voice a certain softer note, so likewise she has taken the hair from their chins. Not so, you say; on the contrary the human animal ought to have been left without distinguishing features, and each of us ought to proclaim by word of mouth, “I am a man.” Nay, but how fair and becoming and dignified the sign is! How much more fair than the cock’s comb, how much more magnificent than the lion’s mane! Wherefore, we ought to preserve the signs which God has given; we ought not to throw them away; we ought not, so far as in us lies, to confuse the sexes which have been distinguished in this fashion.

15. Are these the only works of Providence in us? Nay, what language is adequate to praise them all or bring them home to our minds as they deserve? Why, if we had sense, ought we to be doing anything else, publicly and privately, than hymning and praising the Deity, and rehearsing His benefits? Ought we not, as we dig and plough and eat, to sing the hymn of praise to God? “Great is God, that He hath furnished us these instruments wherewith we shall till the earth. Great is God, that He hath given us hands, and power to swallow, and a belly, and power to grow unconsciously, and to breathe while asleep.” This is what we ought to sing on every occasion, and above all to sing the greatest and divinest hymn, that God has given us the faculty to comprehend these things and to follow the path of reason. What then? Since most of you have become blind, ought there not to be someone to fulfill this office for you, and in behalf of all sing the hymn of praise to God? 20. Why, what else can I, a lame old man, do but sing hymns to God? If, indeed, I were a nightingale, I should be singing as a nightingale; if a swan, as a swan. But as it is, I am a rational being, therefore I must be singing hymns of praise to God. This is my task; I do it, and will not desert this post, as long as it may be given me to fill it; and I exhort you to join me in this same song.

XVII: That the art of reasoning is indispensable.

Since it is reason that analyzes and perfects all else, and reason itself ought not to remain unanalyzed, wherewithal shall it be analyzed? Why, clearly, either by itself, or by something else. This latter is assuredly either reason, or it will prove to be something else superior to reason, which is impossible. If it be reason, who again will analyze that reason? For if it analyzes its own self, the reason with which we started can do as much. If we are going to require something else at each step, our process will be endless and unceasing.

“Yes,” says someone, “but the cure (of the decisions of our will) is a much more pressing need (than the study of logic),” and the like. Do you then wish to hear about this other matter? Very well, listen. 5. But if you say to me, “I do not know whether your argument is true or false,” and, if I use some ambiguous term, and you should then say, “Distinguish,” I shall bear with you no longer, but shall tell you, “‘Nay, but there is a much more pressing need.’” This is the reason, I suppose, why the Stoic philosophers put Logic first, just as in the measuring of grain we put first the examination of the measure. And if we do not define first what a modius is, and do not define first what a scale is, how shall we be able to proceed with measuring or weighing anything? So, in the field of our present inquiry, if we have neglected the thorough knowledge and intellectual mastery of our standard of judgment for all other things, whereby they come to be known thoroughly, shall we ever be able to attain intellectual mastery and thorough knowledge of the rest of the world? And how could we possibly? 10. “Yes,” we are told, “but the modius is made out of wood and bears no fruit.” True, but it is something with which we can measure grain. “Logic also bears no fruit.” Now as for this statement we shall see later; but if one should grant even this, it is enough to say in defense of Logic that it has the power to discriminate and examine everything else, and as one might say, to measure and weigh them. Who says this? Only Chrysippus and Zeno and Cleanthes? Well, does not Antisthenes say it? And who is it that wrote, “The beginning of education is the examination of terms”? Does not Socrates, too, say the same thing? And of whom does Xenophon write, that he began with the examination of terms, asking about each, “What does it mean?”

Is this, then, your great and admirable achievement — the ability to understand and to interpret Chrysippus? And who says that? What, then, is your admirable achievement? To understand the will of nature. Very well; do you understand it all by yourself? And if that is the case, what more do you need? For if it is true that “all men err involuntarily,” and you have learned the truth, it must needs be that you are doing right already. 15. But, so help me Zeus, I do not comprehend the will of nature. Who, then, interprets it? Men say, Chrysippus. I go and try to find out what this interpreter of nature says. I begin not to understand what he says, and look for the man who can interpret him. “Look and consider what this passage means,” says the interpreter, “just as if it were in Latin!” What place is there here, then, for pride on the part of the interpreter? Why, there is no just place for pride even on the part of Chrysippus, if he merely interprets the will of nature, but himself does not follow it; how much less place for pride, then, in the case of his interpreter! For we have no need of Chrysippus on his own account, but only to enable us to follow nature. No more have we need of him who divines through sacrifice, considered on his own account, but simply because we think that through his instrumentality we shall understand the future and the signs given by the gods; nor do we need the entrails on their own account, but only because through them the signs are given; nor do we admire the crow or the raven, but God, who gives His signs through them.

20. Wherefore, I go to this interpreter and diviner and say, “Examine for me the entrails, and tell me what signs they give.” The fellow takes and spreads them out and then interprets: “Man, you have a moral purpose free by nature from hindrances and constraint. This stands written here in these entrails. I will prove you that first in the sphere of assent. Can anyone prevent you from assenting to truth? No one at all. Can anyone force you to accept the false? No one at all. Do you see that in this sphere you have a moral purpose free from hindrance, constraint, obstruction? Come, in the sphere of desire and choice is it otherwise? And what can overcome one impulse but another impulse? And what can overcome one desire or aversion but another desire or aversion?” 25. “But,” says someone, “if a person subjects me to the fear of death, he compels me.” “No, it is not what you are subjected to that impels you, but the fact that you decide it is better for you to do something of the sort than to die. Once more, then, it is the decision of your own will which compelled you, that is, moral purpose compelled moral purpose. For if God had so constructed that part of His own being which He has taken from Himself and bestowed upon us, that it could be subjected to hindrance or constraint either from Himself or from some other. He were no longer God, nor would He be caring for us as He ought. This is what I find,” says the diviner, “in the sacrifice. These are the signs vouchsafed you. If you will, you are free; if you will, you will not have to blame anyone, or complain against anyone; everything will be in accordance with what is not merely your own will, but at the same time the will of God.” This is the prophecy for the sake of which I go to this diviner — in other words, the philosopher, — not admiring him because of his interpretation, but rather the interpretation which he gives.

XVIII: That we ought not to be angry with the erring.

If what the philosophers say is true, that in all men thought and action start from a single source, namely feeling — as in the case of assent the feeling that a thing is so, and in the case of dissent the feeling that it is not so, yes, and, by Zeus, in the case of suspended judgment the feeling that it is uncertain, so also in the case of impulse toward a thing, the feeling that it is expedient for me and that it is impossible to judge one thing expedient and yet desire another, and again, to judge one thing fitting, and yet be impelled to another — if all this be true, why are we any longer angry with the multitude? — “They are thieves,” says someone, “and robbers.” — What do you mean by “thieves and robbers?” They have simply gone astray in questions of good and evil. Ought we, therefore, to be angry with them, or rather pity them? Only show them their error and you will see how quickly they will desist from their mistakes. But if their eyes are not opened, they have nothing superior to their mere opinion.

5. Ought not this brigand, then, and this adulterer to be put to death? you ask. Not at all, but you should ask rather, “Ought not this man to be put to death who is in a state of error and delusion about the greatest matters, and is in a state of blindness, not, indeed, in the vision which distinguishes between white and black, but in the judgment which distinguishes between the good and the evil?” And if you put it this way, you will realize how inhuman a sentiment it is that you are uttering, and that it is just as if you should say, “Ought not this blind man, then, or this deaf man to be put to death?” For if the loss of the greatest things is the greatest harm that can befall a man, while the greatest thing in each man is a right moral purpose, and if a man is deprived of this very thing, what ground is left for you to be angry at him? Why, man, if you must needs be affected in a way that is contrary to nature at the misfortunes of another, pity him rather, but do not hate him: drop this readiness to take offense and this spirit of hatred; 10. do not introduce those words which the multitude of the censorious use: “Well, then, these accursed and abominable fools!” Very well; but how is it that you have so suddenly been converted to wisdom that you are angry at fools? Why, then, are we angry? Because we admire the goods of which these men rob us. For, mark you, stop admiring your clothes, and you are not angry at the man who steals them; stop admiring your wife’s beauty, and you are not angry at her adulterer. Know that a thief or an adulterer has no place among the things that are your own, but only among the things that are another’s and that are not under your control. If you give these things up and count them as nothing, at whom have you still ground to feel angry? But so long as you admire these things, be angry at yourself and not at the men that I have just mentioned. For consider; you have fine clothes and your neighbor does not; you have a window and wish to air them. He does not know wherein the true good of man consists, but fancies that it consists in having fine clothes, the very same fancy that you also entertain. Shall he not come, then, and carry them off? Why, when you show a cake to gluttonous men and then gulp it down all to yourself, are you not wanting them to snatch it? Stop provoking them, stop having a window, stop airing your clothes.

15. Something similar happened to me also the other day. I keep an iron lamp by the side of my household gods, and, on hearing a noise at the window, I ran down. I found that the lamp had been stolen. I reflected that the man who stole it was moved by no unreasonable motive. What then? Tomorrow, I say, you will find one of earthenware. Indeed, a man loses only that which he already has. “I have lost my cloak.” Yes, for you had a cloak. “I have a pain in my head.” You don’t have a pain in your horns, do you? Why, then, are you indignant? For our losses and our pains have to do only with the things which we possess.

“But the tyrant will chain———” What? Your leg. “But he will cut off———” What? Your neck. What, then, will he neither chain nor cut off? Your moral purpose. This is why the ancients gave us the injunction, “Know thyself.” What follows, then? Why, by the Gods, that one ought to practice in small things, and beginning with them pass on to the greater. “I have a head-ache.” Well, do not say “Alas!” “I have an ear-ache.” Do not say “Alas!” And I am not saying that it is not permissible to groan, only do not groan in the center of your being. And if your slave is slow in bringing your bandage, do not cry out and make a wry face and say, “Everybody hates me.” Why, who would not hate such a person? 20. For the future put your confidence in these doctrines and walk about erect, free, not putting your confidence in the size of your body, like an athlete; for you ought not to be invincible in the way an ass is invincible.

Who, then, is the invincible man? He whom nothing that is outside the sphere of his moral purpose can dismay. I then proceed to consider the circumstances one by one, as I would do in the case of the athlete. “This fellow has won the first round. What, then, will he do in the second? What if it be scorching hot? And what will he do at Olympia?” It is the same way with the case under consideration. If you put a bit of silver coin in a man’s way, he will despise it. Yes, but if you put a bit of a wench in his way, what then? Or if it be in the dark, what then? Or if you throw a bit of reputation in his way, what then? Or abuse, what then? Or praise, what then? Or death, what then? All these things he can overcome. What, then, if it be scorching hot — that is, what if he be drunk? What if he be melancholy-mad? What if asleep? The man who passes all these tests is what I mean by the invincible athlete.

XIX: How ought we to bear ourselves toward tyrants?

If a man possesses some superiority, or thinks at least that he does, even though he does not, it is quite unavoidable that this man, if he is uneducated, becomes puffed up on account of it. For example, the tyrant exclaims, “I am the mightiest in the world.” Very well, what can you do for me? Can you secure for me desire that is free from any hindrance? How can you? Do you have it yourself? Can you secure for me aversion proof against encountering what it would avoid? Do you have it yourself? Or infallible choice? And where can you claim a share in that? Come, when you are on board ship, do you feel confidence in yourself, or in the skilled navigator? And when you are in a chariot, in whom do you feel confidence other than the skilled driver. And how is it in the other arts? The same way. What does your power amount to, then? “All men pay attention to me.” Yes, and I pay attention to my little plate and wash it and wipe it out, and for the sake of my oil-flask I drive a peg in the wall. What follows, then? Are these things superior to me? No, but they render me some service, and therefore I pay attention to them. Again, do I not pay attention to my donkey? 5. Do I not wash his feet? Do I not curry him? Do you not know that every man pays attention to himself, and to you just as he does to his donkey? For who pays attention to you as to a man? Point him out to me. Who wishes to become like you? Who becomes a zealous follower of yours as men did of Socrates? “But I can cut off your head.” Well said! I had forgotten that I ought to pay attention to you, as to fever or cholera, and set up an altar to you, just as in Rome there is an altar to the God Fever.

What is it, then, that disturbs and bewilders the multitude? Is it the tyrant and his bodyguards? How is that possible? Nay, far from it! It is not possible that that which is by nature free should be disturbed or thwarted by anything but itself. But it is a man’s own judgments that disturb him. For when the tyrant says to a man, “I will chain your leg,” the man who has set a high value on his leg replies, “Nay, have mercy upon me,” while the man who has set a high value on his moral purpose replies, “If it seems more profitable to you to do so, chain it.” “Do you not care?” “No, I do not care.” “I will show you that I am master.” “How can you be my master? Zeus has set me free. Or do you really think that he was likely to let his own son be made a slave? You are, however, master of my dead body, take it.” 10. “You mean, then, that when you approach me you will not pay attention to me?” “No, I pay attention only to myself. But if you wish me to say that I pay attention to you too, I tell you that I do so, but only as I pay attention to my pot.”

This is not mere self-love; such is the nature of the animal man; everything that he does is for himself. Why, even the sun does everything for its own sake, and, for that matter, so does Zeus himself. But when Zeus wishes to be “Rain-bringer,” and “Fruit-giver,” and “Father of men and of gods,” you can see for yourself that he cannot achieve these works, or win these appellations, unless he proves himself useful to the common interest; and in general he has so constituted the nature of the rational animal man, that he can attain nothing of his own proper goods unless he contributes something to the common interest. Hence it follows that it can no longer be regarded as unsocial for a man to do everything for his own sake. 15. For what do you expect? That a man should neglect himself and his own interest? And in that case how can there be room for one and the same principle of action for all, namely, that of appropriation to their own needs?

What then? When men entertain absurd opinions about what lies outside the province of the moral purpose, counting it good or bad, it is altogether unavoidable for them to pay attention to the tyrant. Aye, would that it were merely the tyrants and not their chamberlains too! And yet how can the man suddenly become wise when Caesar puts him in charge of his chamberpot? How can we forthwith say “Felicio has spoken wisely to me”? I would that he were deposed from the superintendency of the dunghill, that you may think him a fool again! Epaphroditus owned a certain cobbler whom he sold because he was useless; then by some chance the fellow was bought by a member of Caesar’s household and became cobbler to Caesar. You should have seen how Epaphroditus honoured him! 20. “How is my good Felicio, I pray you?” he used to say. And then if someone asked us, “What is your master doing?” he was told, “He is consulting Felicio about something or other.” Why, had he not sold him as being useless? Who, then, had suddenly made a wise man out of him? This is what it means to honor something else than what lies within the province of the moral purpose.

“He has been honored with a tribuneship,” someone says. All who meet him offer their congratulations; one man kisses him on the eyes, another on the neck, his slaves kiss his hands. He goes home; he finds lamps being lighted. 25. He climbs up the Capitol and offers sacrifice. Now who ever sacrificed as a thank-offering for having had right desire, or for having exercised choice in accordance with nature? For we give thanks to the gods for that wherein we set the good.

Today a man was talking to me about a priesthood of Augustus. I say to him, “Man, drop the matter; you will be spending a great deal to no purpose.” “But,” says he, “those who draw up deeds of sale will inscribe my name.” “Do you really expect, then, to be present when the deeds are read and say, ‘That is my name they have written’? And even supposing you are now able to be present whenever anyone reads them, what will you do if you die?” “My name will remain after me.” “Inscribe it on a stone and it will remain after you. Come now, who will remember you outside of Nicopolis?” “But I shall wear a crown of gold.” “If you desire a crown at all, take a crown of roses and put it on; you will look much more elegant in that.”

XX: How does the reasoning faculty contemplate itself?

Every art and faculty makes certain things the special object of its contemplation. Now when the art or faculty itself is of like kind with what it contemplates, it becomes inevitably self-contemplative; but when it is of unlike kind, it cannot contemplate itself. For example, the art of leather-working has to do with hides, but the art itself is altogether different from the material of hides, wherefore it is not self-contemplative. Again, the art of grammar has to do with written speech; it is not, therefore, also itself written speech, is it? Not at all. For this reason it cannot contemplate itself. 5. Well then, for what purpose have we received reason from nature? For the proper use of external impressions. What, then, is reason itself? Something composed out of a certain kind of external impressions. Thus it comes naturally to be also self-contemplative. Once more, what are the things that wisdom has been given us to contemplate? Things good, bad, and neither good nor bad. What, then, is wisdom itself? A good. And what is folly? An evil. Do you see, then, that wisdom inevitably comes to contemplate both itself and its opposite? Therefore, the first and greatest task of the philosopher is to test the impressions and discriminate between them, and to apply none that has not been tested. You all see in the matter of coinage, in which it is felt that we have some interest, how we have even invented an art, and how many means the tester employs to test the coinage — sight, touch, smell, finally hearing; he throws the denarius down and then listens to the sound, and is not satisfied with the sound it makes on a single test, but, as a result of his constant attention to the matter, he catches the tune, like a musician. 10. Thus, where we feel that it makes a good deal of difference to us whether we go wrong or do not go wrong, there we apply any amount of attention to discriminating between things that are capable of making us go wrong, but in the case of our governing principle, poor thing, we yawn and sleep and erroneously accept any and every external impression; for here the loss that we suffer does not attract our attention.

When, therefore, you wish to realize how careless you are about the good and the evil, and how zealous you are about that which is indifferent, observe how you feel about physical blindness on the one hand, and mental delusion on the other, and you will find out that you are far from feeling as you ought about things good and things evil. “Yes, but this requires much preparation, and much hard work, and learning many things.” Well, what then? Do you expect it to be possible to acquire the greatest art with a slight effort? And yet the chief doctrine of the philosophers is extremely brief. If you would know, read what Zeno has to say and you will see. 15. For what is there lengthy in his statement: “To follow the gods is man’s end, and the essence of good is the proper use of external impressions”? Ask, “What, then, is God, and what is an external impression? And what is nature in the individual and nature in the cosmos?” You already have a lengthy statement. If Epicurus should come and say that the good ought to be in the flesh, again the explanation becomes lengthy, and you must be told what is the principal faculty within us, and what our substantial, and what our essential, nature is. Since it is not probable that the good of a snail lies in its shell, is it, then, probable that the good of man lies in his flesh? But take your own case, Epicurus; what more masterful faculty do you yourself possess? What is that thing within you which takes counsel, which examines into all things severally, which, after examining the flesh itself, decides that it is the principal matter? And why do you light a lamp and toil in our behalf, and write such quantities of books? Is it that we may not fail to know the truth? Who are we? And what are we to you? And so the argument becomes lengthy.

XXI: To those who would be admired.

When a man has his proper station in life, he is not all agape for things beyond it. Man, what is it you want to have happen to you? As for myself, I am content if I exercise desire and aversion in accordance with nature, if I employ choice and refusal as my nature is, and similarly employ purpose and design and assent. Why, then, do you walk around in our presence as though you had swallowed a spit? “It has always been my wish that those who meet me should admire me and as they follow me should exclaim, ‘O the great philosopher!’” Who are those people by whom you wish to be admired? Are they not these about whom you are in the habit of saying that they are mad? What then? Do you wish to be admired by the mad?

XXII: Of preconceptions.

Preconceptions are common to all men, and one preconception does not contradict another. For who among us does not assume that the good is profitable and something to be chosen, and that in every circumstance we ought to seek and pursue it? And who among us does not assume that righteousness is beautiful and becoming? When, then, does contradiction arise? It arises in the application of our preconceptions to the particular cases, when one person says, “He did nobly, he is brave”; another, “No, but he is out of his mind.” Thence arises the conflict of men with one another. This is the conflict between Jews and Syrians and Egyptians and Romans, not over the question whether holiness should be put before everything else and should be pursued in all circumstances, but whether the particular act of eating swine’s flesh is holy or unholy. 5. This, you will find, was also the cause of conflict between Agamemnon and Achilles. Come, summon them before us. What do you say, Agamemnon? Ought not that to be done which is proper, and that which is noble? “Indeed it ought.” And what do you say, Achilles? Do you not agree that what is noble ought to be done? “As for me, I agree most emphatically with that principle.” Very well, then, apply your preconceptions to the particular cases. It is just there the conflict starts. The one says, “I ought not to be compelled to give back Chryseis to her father,” while the other says, “Indeed you ought.” Most certainly one of the two is making a bad application of the preconception “what one ought to do.” Again, the one of them says, “Very well, if I ought to give back Chryseis, then I ought to take from some one of you the prize he has won,” and the other replies, “Would you, then, take the woman I love?” “Yes, the woman you love,” the first answers. “Shall I, then, be the only one—?” “But shall I be the only one to have nothing?” So a conflict arises.

What, then, does it mean to be getting an education? It means to be learning how to apply the natural preconceptions to particular cases, each to the other in conformity with nature, and, further, to make the distinction, that some things are under our control while others are not under our control. 10. Under our control are moral purpose and all the acts of moral purpose; but not under our control are the body, the parts of the body, possessions, parents, brothers, children, country — in a word, all that with which we associate. Where, then, shall we place “the good”? To what class of things are we going to apply it? To the class of things that are under our control? — What, is not health, then, a good thing, and a sound body, and life? Nay, and not even children, or parents, or country? — And who will tolerate you if you deny that? Therefore, let us transfer the designation “good” to these things. But is it possible, then, for a man to be happy if he sustains injury and fails to get that which is good? — It is not possible. — And to maintain the proper relations with his associates? And how can it be possible? For it is my nature to look out for my own interest. If it is my interest to have a farm, it is my interest to take it away from my neighbor; if it is my interest to have a cloak, it is my interest also to steal it from a bath. This is the source of wars, seditions, tyrannies, plots. 15. And again, how shall I any longer be able to perform my duty toward Zeus? For if I sustain injury and am unfortunate, he pays no heed to me. And then we hear men saying, “What have I to do with him, if he is unable to help us?” And again, “What have I to do with him, if he wills that I be in such a state as I am now?” The next step is that I begin to hate him. Why, then, do we build temples to the gods, and make statues of them, as for evil spirits — for Zeus as for a god of Fever? And how can he any longer be “Savior,” and “Rain-bringer,” and “Fruit-giver?” And, in truth, if we set the nature of the good somewhere in this sphere, all these things follow.

What, then, shall we do? — This is a subject of inquiry for the man who truly philosophizes and is in travail of thought. Says such a man to himself, “I do not now see what is the good and what is the evil; am I not mad?” Yes, but suppose I set the good somewhere here, among the things that the will controls, all men will laugh at me. Some white-haired old man with many a gold ring on his fingers will come along, and then he will shake his head and say, “Listen to me, my son; one ought of course to philosophize, but one ought also to keep one’s head; this is all nonsense. You learn a syllogism from the philosophers, but you know better than the philosophers what you ought to do.” 20. Man, why, then, do you censure me, if I know? What shall I say to this slave? If I hold my peace, the fellow bursts with indignation. So I must say, “Forgive me as you would lovers; I am not my own master; I am mad.”

XXIII: In answer to Epicurus.

Even Epicurus understands that we are by nature social beings, but having once set our good in the husk which we wear, he cannot go on and say anything inconsistent with this. For, he next insists emphatically upon the principle that we ought neither to admire nor to accept anything that is detached from the nature of the good; and he is right in so doing. But how, then, can we still be social beings, if affection for our own children is not a natural sentiment? Why do you dissuade the wise man from bringing up children? Why are you afraid that sorrow will come to him on their account? What, does sorrow come to him on account of his house-slave Mouse? Well, what does it matter to him if his little Mouse in his home begins to cry? 5. Nay he knows, that if once a child is born, it is no longer in our power not to love it or to care for it. For the same reason Epicurus says that a man of sense does not engage in politics either; for he knows what the man who engages in politics has to do — since, of course, if you are going to live among men as though you were a fly among flies, what is to hinder you? Yet, despite the fact that he knows this, he still has the audacity to say, “Let us not bring up children.” But a sheep does not abandon its own offspring, nor a wolf; and yet does a man abandon his? What do you wish us to do? Would you have us be foolish as sheep? But even they do not desert their offspring. Would you have us be fierce as wolves? But even they do not desert their offspring. Come now, who follows your advice when he sees his child fallen on the ground and crying? 10. Why, in my opinion, your mother and your father, even if they had divined that you were going to say such things, would not have exposed you!

XXIV: How should we struggle against difficulties?

It is difficulties that show what men are. Consequently, when a difficulty befalls, remember that God, like a physical trainer, has matched you with a rugged young man. What for? someone says. So that you may become an Olympic victor; but that cannot be done without sweat. To my way of thinking no one has got a finer difficulty than the one which you have got, if only you are willing to make use of it as an athlete makes use of a young man to wrestle with. And now we are sending you to Rome as a scout, to spy out the land. But no one sends a coward as a scout, that, if he merely hears a noise and sees a shadow anywhere, he may come running back in terror and report “The enemy is already upon us.” So now also, if you should come and tell us, “The state of things at Rome is fearful; terrible is death, terrible is exile, terrible is reviling, terrible is poverty; flee, sirs, the enemy is upon us!” 5. we shall say to you, “Away, prophecy to yourself! Our one mistake was that we sent a man like you as a scout.”

Diogenes, who before you was sent forth as a scout, has brought us back a different report. He says, “Death is not an evil, since it is not dishonorable”; he says, “Ill repute is a noise made by madmen.” And what a report this scout has made us about toil and about pleasure and about poverty! He says, “To be naked is better than any scarlet robe; and to sleep on the bare ground,” he says, “is the softest couch.” And he offers as a proof of each statement his own courage, his tranquility, his freedom, and finally his body, radiant with health and hardened. “There is no enemy near,” says he; “all is full of peace.” How so, Diogenes? “Why, look!” says he, “I have not been struck with any missile, have I, or received any wound? I have not fled from anyone, have I?” 10. This is what it means to be a proper scout, but you return and tell us one thing after another. Will you not go away again and observe more accurately, without this cowardice?

What am I to do, then? — What do you do when you disembark from a ship? You do not pick up the rudder, do you, or the oars? What do you pick up, then? Your own luggage, your oil-flask, your wallet. So now, if you are mindful of what is your own property, you will never lay claim to that which is another’s. He says to you, “Lay aside your broad scarlet hem” Behold, the narrow hem. “Lay aside this also.” Behold, the plain toga. “Lay aside your toga.” Behold, I am naked. “But you arouse my envy.” Well, then, take the whole of my paltry body. Do I any longer fear the man to whom I can throw my body? But he will not leave me as his heir. What then? Did I forget that none of these things is my own? How, then, do we call them “my own”? Merely as we call the bed in the inn “my own.” If, then, the inn-keeper dies and leaves you the beds, you will have them; but if he leaves them to someone else, he will have them, and you will look for another bed. 15. If, then, you do not find one, you will have to sleep on the ground; only do so with good courage, snoring and remembering that tragedies find a place among the rich and among kings and tyrants, but no poor man fills a tragic role except as a member of the chorus. Now the kings commence in a state of prosperity:

“Hang the palace with garlands”;

then, about the third or fourth act, comes —

“Alas, Cithaeron, why didst thou receive me?”

Slave, where are your crowns, where your diadem? Do your guards avail you not at all? When, therefore, you approach one of those great men, remember all this — that you are approaching a tragic character, not the actor, but Oedipus himself. “Nay, but so-and-so is blessed; for he has many companions to walk with.” So have I; I fall in line with the multitude and have many companions to walk with. 20. But, to sum it all up: remember that the door has been thrown open. Do not become a greater coward than the children, but just as they say, “I won’t play any longer,” when the thing does not please them, so do you also, when things seem to you to have reached that stage, merely say, “I won’t play any longer,” and take your departure; but if you stay, stop lamenting.

XXV: Upon the same theme.

If all this is true and we are not silly nor merely playing a part when we say, “Man’s good and man’s evil lies in moral choice, and all other things are nothing to us,” why are we still distressed and afraid? Over the things that we seriously care for no one has authority; and the things over which other men have authority do not concern us. What kind of thing have we left to discuss? — “Nay, give me directions.” — What directions shall I give you? Has not Zeus given you directions? Has he not given you that which is your own, unhindered and unrestrained, while that which is not your own is subject to hindrance and restraint? What directions, then, did you bring with you when you came from him into this world, what kind of an order? Guard by every means that which is your own, but do not grasp at that which is another’s. Your faithfulness is your own, your self-respect is your own; who, then, can take these things from you? Who but yourself will prevent you from using them? But you, how do you act? When you seek earnestly that which is not your own, you lose that which is your own. 5. Since you have such promptings and directions from Zeus, what kind do you still want from me? Am I greater than he, or more trustworthy? But if you keep these commands of his, do you need any others besides? But has he not given you these directions? Produce your preconceptions, produce the demonstrations of the philosophers, produce what you have often heard, and produce what you have said yourself, produce what you have read, produce what you have practiced.

How long, then, is it well to keep these precepts and not to break up the game? As long as it is played pleasantly. At the Saturnalia a king is chosen by lot; for it has been decided to play this game. The king gives his commands: “You drink, you mix wine, you sing, you go, you come.” I obey, so as not to be the one to break up the game. “Come, suppose that you are in an evil plight.” I do not so suppose; and who is there to compel me so to suppose? 10. Again, we have agreed to play the story of Agamemnon and Achilles. The one who has been appointed to play the part of Agamemnon says to me, “Go to Achilles, and drag away Briseis.” I go. He says, “Come,” and I come. For as we behave in the matter of hypothetical proposals, so we ought to behave in life also. “Let it be night.” So be it. “What then? Is it day?” No, for I have accepted the assumption that it is night. “Let us suppose that you assume it to be night” So be it. “But go on and assume that it is night,” That is not consistent with the hypothesis. So also in the present case. “Let us suppose that you are unhappy.” So be it, “Are you, then, unfortunate?” Yes. “What then? Are you troubled with ill-fortune?” Yes. “But go on and assume that you are in a wretched plight.” That is not consistent with the hypothesis; moreover, there is Another who forbids me so to think.

How long, then, should we obey such commands? As long as it is beneficial, and that means, as long as I preserve what is becoming and consistent. 15. Further, some men are unduly crabbed and have too sharp tongues and say, “I cannot dine at this fellow’s house, where I have to put up with his telling every day how he fought in Moesia: ‘I have told you, brother, how I climbed up to the crest of the hill; well now, I begin to be besieged again.’” But another says, “I would rather dine and hear him babble all he pleases.” And it is for you to compare these estimates; only do nothing as one burdened, or afflicted, or thinking that he is in a wretched plight; for no one forces you to this. Has someone made a smoke in the house? If he has made a moderate amount of smoke I shall stay; if too much, I go outside. For one ought to remember and hold fast to this, that the door stands open. But someone says, “Do not dwell in Nicopolis.” I agree not to dwell there. “Nor in Athens.” I agree not to dwell in Athens, either. “Nor in Rome.” I agree not to dwell in Rome, either. 20. “Dwell in Gyara.” I agree to dwell there. But to dwell in Gyara seems to me to be like a great quantity of smoke in the house. I leave for a place where no one will prevent me from dwelling; for that dwelling-place stands open to every man. And as for the last inner tunic, that is, my paltry body, beyond that no one has any authority over me. That is why Demetrius said to Nero, “You threaten me with death, but nature threatens you.” If I admire my paltry body, I have given myself away as a slave; if I admire my paltry property, I have given myself away as a slave; for at once I show thereby to my own hurt what I can be caught with. Just as when the snake draws in his head, I say, “Strike that part of him which he is protecting”; so do you be assured that your master will attack you at that point which you particularly wish to protect. 25. If you remember all this, whom will you flatter or fear any more?

But I wish to sit where the senators do. — Do you realize that you are making close quarters for yourself, that you are crowding yourself? — How else, then, shall I have a good view in the amphitheater? — Man, do not become spectator and you will not be crowded. Why do you make trouble for yourself? Or else wait a little while, and when the show is over sit down among the seats of the senators and sun yourself. For in general remember this — that we crowd ourselves, we make close quarters for ourselves, that is to say, the decisions of our will crowd us and make us close quarters. Why, what is this matter of being reviled? Take your stand by a stone and revile it; and what effect will you produce? If, then, a man listens like a stone, what profit is there to the reviler? But if the reviler has the weakness of the reviled as a point of vantage, then he does accomplish something. 30. “Strip him.” Why do you say ‘him’? Take his cloak and strip that off. “I have outraged you.” Much good may it do you! This is what Socrates practiced, and that is why he always wore the same expression on his face. But we prefer to practice and rehearse anything rather than how to be untrammelled and free. “The philosophers talk paradoxes,” you say. But are there not paradoxes in the other arts? And what is more paradoxical than to lance a man in the eye in order that he may see? If anyone said this to a man who was inexperienced in the art of surgery, would he not laugh at the speaker? What is there to be surprised at, then, if in philosophy also many things which are true appear paradoxical to the inexperienced?

XXVI: What is the rule of life?

As someone was reading the hypothetical arguments, Epictetus said, This also is a law governing hypotheses — that we must accept what the hypothesis or premise demands. But much more important is the following law of life — that we must do what nature demands. For if we wish in every matter and circumstance to observe what is in accordance with nature, it is manifest that in everything we should make it our aim neither to avoid that which nature demands, nor to accept that which is in conflict with nature. The philosophers, therefore, exercise us first in the theory where there is less difficulty, and then after that lead us to the more difficult matters; for in theory there is nothing which holds us back from following what we are taught, but in the affairs of life there are many things which draw us away. He is ridiculous, then, who says that he wishes to begin with the latter; for it is not easy to begin with the more difficult things. 5. And this is the defense that we ought to present to such parents as are angry because their children study philosophy. “Very well then, father, I go astray, not knowing what is incumbent upon me or what my duty is. Now if this is a thing that can neither be taught nor learned, why do you reproach me? But if it can be taught, teach me; and if you cannot do this, allow me to learn from those who profess to know. Really, what is your idea? That I intentionally fall into evil and miss the good? Far from it! What, then, is the cause of my going astray? Ignorance. Very well, do you not want me to put away my ignorance? Whom did anger ever teach the art of steering, or music? Do you think, then, that your anger will make me learn the art of living?”

Only he can so speak who has applied himself to philosophy in such a spirit. But if a man reads upon the subject and resorts to the philosophers merely because he wants to make a display at a banquet of his knowledge of hypothetical arguments, what else is he doing but trying to win the admiration of some senator sitting by his side? 10. For there in Rome are found in truth the great resources, while the riches of Nicopolis look to them like mere child’s-play. Hence it is difficult there for a man to control his own external impressions, since the distracting influences at Rome are great. I know a certain man who clung in tears to the knees of Epaphroditus and said that he was in misery; for he had nothing left but a million and a half sesterces. What, then, did Epaphroditus do? Did he laugh at him as you are laughing? No; he only said, in a tone of amazement, “Poor man, how, then, did you manage to keep silence? How did you endure it?”

Once when he had disconcerted the student who was reading the hypothetical arguments, and the one who had set the other the passage to read laughed at him, Epictetus said to the latter, “You are laughing at yourself. You did not give the young man a preliminary training, nor discover whether he was able to follow these arguments, but you treat him merely as a reader. Why is it, then,” he added, “that to a mind unable to follow a judgment upon a complex argument we entrust the assigning of praise or blame, or the passing of a judgment upon what is done well or ill? If such a person speaks ill of another, does the man in question pay any attention to him, or if he praises another, is the latter elated? when the one who is dispensing praise or blame is unable, in matters as trivial as these, to find the logical consequence? 15. This, then, is a starting point in philosophy —a perception of the state of one’s own governing principle; for when once a man realizes that it is weak, he will no longer wish to employ it upon great matters. But as it is, some who are unable to swallow the morsel buy a whole treatise and set to work to eat that. Consequently they throw up, or have indigestion; after that come colics and fluxes and fevers. But they ought first to have considered whether they have the requisite capacity. However, in a matter of theory it is easy enough to confute the man who does not know, but in the affairs of life a man does not submit himself to confutation, and we hate the person who has confuted us. But Socrates used to tell us not to live a life unsubjected to examination.

XXVII: In how many ways do the external impressions arise, and what aids should we have ready at hand to meet them?

The external impressions come to us in four ways; for either things are, and seem so to be; or they are not, and do not seem to be, either; or they are, and do not seem to be; or they are not, and yet seem to be. Consequently, in all these cases it is the business of the educated man to hit the mark. But whatever be the thing that distresses us, against that we ought to bring up our reinforcements. If the things that distress us are sophisms of Pyrrho and the Academy, let us bring up our reinforcements against them; if they are the plausibilities of things, whereby we are led to think that certain things are good when they are not, let us seek reinforcements at that point; if the thing that distresses us is a habit, we should try to hunt up the reinforcements with which to oppose that. What reinforcements, then, is it possible to find with which to oppose habit? Why, the contrary habit. 5. You hear the common folk saying, “That poor man! He is dead; his father perished, and his mother; he was cut off, yes, and before his time, and in a foreign land.” Listen to the arguments on the other side, tear yourself away from these expressions, set over against one habit the contrary habit. To meet sophistic arguments we must have the processes of logic and the exercise and the familiarity with these; against the plausibilities of things we must have our preconceptions clear, polished like weapons, and ready at hand.

When death appears to be an evil, we must have ready at hand the argument that it is our duty to avoid evils, and that death is an inevitable thing. For what can I do? Where shall I go to escape it? Suppose that I am Sarpedon the son of Zeus, in order that I may nobly say, as he did: “Seeing that I have left my home for the war, I wish either to win the prize of valor myself, or else to give someone else the chance to win it; if I am unable to succeed in something myself, I shall not begrudge another the achievement of some noble deed.” Granted that such an act as Sarpedon’s is beyond us, does not the other alternative fall within the compass of our powers? And where can I go to escape death? Show me the country, show me the people to whom I may go, upon whom death does not come; show me a magic charm against it. If I have none, what do you wish me to do? I cannot avoid death. 10. Instead of avoiding the fear of it, shall I die in lamentation and trembling? For the origin of sorrow is this — to wish for something that does not come to pass. Therefore, if I can change externals according to my own wish, I change them; but if I cannot, I am ready to tear out the eyes of the man who stands in my way. For it is man’s nature not to endure to be deprived of the good, not to endure to fall into the evil. Then, finally, when I can neither change the circumstances, nor tear out the eyes of the man who stands in my way, I sit down and groan, and revile whom I can — Zeus and the rest of the gods; for if they do not care for me, what are they to me? “Yes,” you say, “but that will be impious of you.” What, then, shall I get that is worse than what I have now? In short, we must remember this — that unless piety and self-interest be conjoined, piety cannot be maintained in any man. Do not these considerations seem urgent?

15. Let the follower of Pyrrho or of the Academy come and oppose us. Indeed I, for my part, have no leisure for such matters, nor can I act as advocate to the commonly received opinion. If I had a petty suit about a mere bit of land, I should have called in some one else to be my advocate. With what evidence, then, am I satisfied? With that which belongs to the matter in hand. To the question how perception arises, whether through the whole body, or from some particular part, perhaps I do not know how to give a reasonable answer, and both views perplex me. But that you and I are not the same persons, I know very certainly. Whence do I get this knowledge? When I want to swallow something, I never take the morsel to that place but to this; when I wish to take bread I never take sweepings, but I always go after the bread as to a mark. And do you yourselves, who take away the evidence of the senses, do anything else? Who among you when he wishes to go to a bath goes to a mill instead? 20. — What then? Ought we not to the best of our ability hold fast also to this — maintain, that is, the commonly received opinion, and be on our guard against the arguments that seek to overthrow it? — And who disputes that? But only the man who has the power and the leisure should devote himself to these studies; while the man who is trembling and perplexed and whose heart is broken within him, ought to devote his leisure to something else.

XXVIII: That we ought not to be angry with men; and what are the little things and the great among men?

What is the reason that we assent to anything? The fact that it appears to us to be so. It is impossible, therefore, to assent to the thing that appears not to be so. Why? Because this is the nature of the intellect — to agree to what is true, to be dissatisfied with what is false, and to withhold judgment regarding what is uncertain. What is the proof of this? “Feel, if you can, that it is now night.” That is impossible. “Put away the feeling that it is day.” That is impossible. “Either feel or put away the feeling that the stars are even in number.” That is impossible. When, therefore, a man assents to a falsehood, rest assured that it was not his wish to assent to it as false; “for every soul is unwillingly deprived of the truth,” as Plato says; 5. it only seemed to him that the false was true. Well now, in the sphere of actions what have we corresponding to the true and the false here in the sphere of perceptions? Duty and what is contrary to duty, the profitable and the unprofitable, that which is appropriate to me and that which is not appropriate to me, and whatever is similar to these. “Cannot a man, then, think that something is profitable to him, and yet not choose it?” He cannot. How of her who says.

Now, now, I learn what horrors I intend:
But passion overmastereth sober thought?

It is because the very gratification of her passion and the taking of vengeance on her husband she regards as more profitable than the saving of her children. “Yes, but she is deceived.” Show her clearly that she is deceived, and she will not do it; but so long as you do not show it, what else has she to follow but that which appears to her to be true? Nothing. Why, then, are you angry with her, because the poor woman has gone astray in the greatest matters, and has been transformed from a human being into a viper? Why do you not, if anything, rather pity her? As we pity the blind and the halt, why do we not pity those who have been made blind and halt in their governing faculties?

10. Whoever, then, bears this clearly in mind, that the measure of man’s every action is the impression of his senses (now this impression may be formed rightly or wrongly; if rightly, the man is blameless; if wrongly, the man himself pays the penalty; for it is impossible that the man who has gone astray, is one person, while the man who suffers is another), — whoever remembers this, I say, will not be enraged at anyone, will not be angry with anyone, will not revile anyone, will not blame, nor hate, nor take offense at anyone. So you conclude that such great and terrible things have their origin in this — the impression of one’s senses? In this and nothing else. The Iliad is nothing but a sense-impression and a poet’s use of sense-impressions. There came to Alexander an impression to carry off the wife of Menelaus, and an impression came to Helen to follow him. Now if an impression had led Menelaus to feel that it was a gain to be deprived of such a wife, what would have happened? We should have lost not merely the Iliad, but the Odyssey as well. — Then do matters of such great import depend upon one that is so small: — But what do you mean by “matters of such great import”? Wars and factions and deaths of many men and destructions of cities? And what is there great in all this? — 15. What, nothing great in this? — Why, what is there great in the death of many oxen and many sheep and the burning and destruction of many nests of swallows or storks? — Is there any similarity between this and that? — A great similarity. Men’s bodies perished in the one case, and bodies of oxen and sheep in the other. Petty dwellings of men were burned, and so were nests of storks. What is there great or dreadful about that? Or else show me in what respect a man’s house and a stork’s nest differ as a place of habitation. — Is there any similarity between a stork and a man? — What is that you say? As far as the body is concerned, a great similarity; except that the petty houses of men are made of beams and tiles and bricks, but the nest of a stork is made of sticks and clay.

Does a man, then, differ in no wise from a stork? — Far from it; but in these matters he does not differ. — 20. In what wise, then, does he differ? — Seek and you will find that he differs in some other respect. See whether it be not in his understanding what he does, see whether it be not in his capacity for social action, in his faithfulness, his self-respect, his steadfastness, his security from error, his intelligence. Where, then, is the great evil and the great good among men? Just where the difference is; and if that element wherein the difference lies be preserved and stands firm and well fortified on every side, and neither his self-respect, nor his faithfulness, nor his intelligence be destroyed, then the man also is preserved; but if any of these qualities be destroyed or taken by storm, then the man also is destroyed. And it is in this sphere that the great things are. Did Alexander come to his great fall when the Hellenes assailed Troy with their ships, and when they were devastating the land, and when his brothers were dying? Not at all; for no one comes to his fall because of another’s deed; but what went on then was merely the destruction of storks’ nests. Nay, he came to his fall when he lost his self-respect, his faithfulness, his respect for the laws of hospitality, his decency of behavior. When did Achilles come to his fall? When Patroclus died? Far from it; but when Achilles himself was enraged, when he was crying about a paltry damsel, when he forgot that he was there, not to get sweethearts, but to make war. 25. These are the falls that come to mankind, this is the siege of their city, this is the razing of it — when their correct judgments are torn down, when these are destroyed. — Then when women are driven off into captivity, and children are enslaved, and when the men themselves are slaughtered, are not all these things evils? — Where do you get the justification for adding this opinion? Let me know also. — No, on the contrary, do you let me know where you get the justification for saying that they are not evils? — Let us turn to our standards, produce your preconceptions.

For this is why I cannot be sufficiently astonished at what men do. In a case where we wish to judge of weights, we do not judge at haphazard; where we wish to judge what is straight and what is crooked, we do not judge at haphazard; in short, where it makes any difference to us to know the truth in the case, no one of us will do anything at haphazard. 30. Yet where there is involved the first and only cause of acting aright or erring, of prosperity or adversity, of failure or success, there alone are we haphazard and headlong. There I have nothing like a balance, there nothing like a standard, but some sense-impression comes and immediately I go and act upon it. What, am I any better than Agamemnon or Achilles — are they because of following the impressions of their senses to do and suffer such evils, while I am to be satisfied with the impression of my senses? And what tragedy has any other source than this? What is the Atreus of Euripides? His sense-impression. The Oedipus of Sophocles? His sense-impression. The Phoenix? His sense-impression. The Hippolytus? His sense-impression. What kind of a man, then, do you think he is who pays no attention to this matter? What are those men called who follow every impression of their senses? — Madmen. — Are we, then, acting differently?

XXIX: Of steadfastness.

The essence of the good is a certain kind of moral purpose, and that of the evil is a certain kind of moral purpose. What, then, are the external things? They are materials for the moral purpose, in dealing with which it will find its own proper good or evil. How will it find the good? If it does not admire the materials. For the judgments about the materials, if they be correct, make the moral purpose good, but if they be crooked and awry, they make it evil. This is the law which God has ordained, and He says, “If you wish any good thing, get it from yourself.” You say, “No, but from someone else.” Do not so, but get it from yourself. 5. For the rest, when the tyrant threatens and summons me, I answer “Whom are you threatening?” If he says, “I will put you in chains,” I reply, “He is threatening my hands and my feet.” If he says, “I will behead you,” I answer, “He is threatening my neck.” If he says, “I will throw you into prison,” I say, “He is threatening my whole paltry body”; and if he threatens me with exile, I give the same answer. — Does he, then, threaten you not at all? — If I feel that all this is nothing to me, — not at all; but if I am afraid of any of these threats, it is I whom he threatens. Who is there left, then, for me to fear? The man who is master of what? The things that are under my control? But there is no such man. The man who is master of the things that are not under my control? And what do I care for them?

Do you philosophers, then, teach us to despise our kings? — Far from it. Who among us teaches you to dispute their claim to the things over which they have authority? 10. Take my paltry body, take my property, take my reputation, take those who are about me. If I persuade any to lay claim to these things, let some man truly accuse me. “Yes, but I wish to control your judgments also.” And who has given you this authority? How can you have the power to overcome another’s judgment? “By bringing fear to bear upon him,” he says, “I shall overcome him.” You fail to realize that the judgment overcame itself, it was not overcome by something else; and nothing else can overcome moral purpose, but it overcomes itself. For this reason too the law of God is most good and most just: “Let the better always prevail over the worse.” “Ten are better than one,” you say. For what? For putting in chains, for killing, for dragging away where they will, for taking away a man’s property. Ten overcome one, therefore, in the point in which they are better. 15. In what, then, are they worse? If the one has correct judgments, and the ten have not. What then? Can they overcome in this point? How can they? But if we are weighed in the balance, must not the heavier draw down the scales?

So that a Socrates may suffer what he did at the hands of the Athenians? — Slave, why do you say “Socrates”? Speak of the matter as it really is and say: That the paltry body of Socrates may be carried off and dragged to prison by those who were stronger than he, and that some one may give hemlock to the paltry body of Socrates, and that it may grow cold and die? Does this seem marvelous to you, does this seem unjust, for this do you blame God? Did Socrates, then, have no compensation for this? In what did the essence of the good consist for him? To whom shall we listen, to you or to Socrates himself? And what does he say? “Anytus and Meletus can kill me, but they cannot hurt me.” And again, “If so it is pleasing to God, so let it be.” But do you prove that one who holds inferior judgments prevails over the man who is superior in point of judgments. You will not be able to prove this; no, nor even come near proving it. For this is a law of nature and of God: “Let the better always prevail over the worse.” Prevail in what? In that in which it is better. 20. One body is stronger than another body; several persons are stronger than one; the thief is stronger than the man who is not a thief. That is why I lost my lamp, because in the matter of keeping awake the thief was better than I was. However, he bought a lamp for a very high price; for a lamp he became a thief, for a lamp he became faithless, for a lamp he became beast-like. This seemed to him to be profitable!

Very well; but now someone has taken hold of me by my cloak and pulls me into the market-place, and then others shout at me, “Philosopher, what good have your judgments done you? See, you are being dragged off to prison; see, you are going to have your head cut off.” And what kind of Introduction to Philosophy could I have studied, which would prevent me from being dragged off, if a man who is stronger than I am should take hold of my cloak? Or would prevent me from being thrown into the prison, if ten men should hustle me and throw me unto it? Have I, then, learned nothing else? I have learned to see that everything which happens, if it be outside the realm of my moral purpose, is nothing to me. 25. — Have you, then, derived no benefit from this principle for the present case? Why, then, do you seek your benefit in something other than that in which you have learned that it is? — Well, as I sit in the prison I say, “The fellow who shouts this at me neither understands what is meant, nor follows what is said, nor has he taken any pains at all to know what philosophers say, or what they do. Don’t mind him.” “But come out of the prison again.” If you have no further need of me in the prison, I shall come out; if you ever need me there again, I shall go back in. For how long? For so long as reason chooses that I remain with my paltry body; but when reason does not so choose, take it and good health to you! Only let me not give up my life irrationally, only let me not give up my life faintheartedly, or from some casual pretext. For again, God does not so desire; for He has need of such a cosmos, and of such men who go to and fro upon earth. But if He gives the signal to retreat, as He did to Socrates, I must obey Him who gives the signal, as I would a general.

30. What then? Must I say these things to the multitude? For what purpose? Is it not sufficient for a man himself to believe them? For example, when the children come up to us and clap their hands and say, “Today is the good Saturnalia,” do we say to them, “All this is not good”? Not at all; but we too clap our hands to them. And do you too, therefore, when you are unable to make a man change his opinion, realize that he is a child and clap your hands to him; but if you do not want to do this, you have merely to hold your peace.

All this a man ought to remember, and when he is summoned to meet some such difficulty, he ought to know that the time has come to show whether we are educated. For a young man leaving school and facing a difficulty is like one who has practiced the analysis of syllogisms, and if someone propounds him one that is easy to solve, he says, “Nay, rather propound me one that is cunningly involved, so that I may get exercise from it.” Also the athletes are displeased with the youths of light weight: 35. “He cannot lift me,” says one. “Yonder is a sturdy young man.” Oh no; but when the crisis calls, he has to weep and say, “I wanted to keep on learning.” Learning what? If you do not learn these things so as to be able to manifest them in action, what did you learn them for? I fancy that someone among these who are sitting here is in travail within his own soul and is saying, “Alas, that such a difficulty does not come to me now as that which has come to this fellow! Alas, that now I must be worn out sitting in a corner, when I might be crowned at Olympia! When will someone bring me word of such a contest?” 40. You ought all to be thus minded. But among the gladiators of Caesar there are some who complain because no one brings them out, or matches them with an antagonist, and they pray God and go to their managers, begging to fight in single combat; and yet will no one of you display a like spirit? I wanted to sail to Rome for this very purpose and to see what my athlete is doing, what practice he is following in his task. “I do not want,” says he, “this kind of a task.” What, is it in your power to take any task you want? You have been given such a body, such parents, such brothers, such a country, such a position in it; and then do you come to me and say, “Change the task for me”? What, do you not possess resources to enable you to utilize that which has been given? You ought to say, “It is yours to set the task, mine to practice it well.” No, but you do say, “Do not propose to me such-and-such a hypothetical syllogism, but rather such-and-such a one; do not urge upon me such-and-such a conclusion, but rather such-and-such a one.” A time will soon come when the tragic actors will think that their masks and buskins and the long robe are themselves. Man, all these things you have as a subject-matter and a task. Say something, so that we may know whether you are a tragic actor or a buffoon; for both of these have everything but their lines in common. Therefore, if one should take away from him both his buskins and his mask, and bring him on the stage as a mere shade of an actor, is the tragic actor lost, or does he abide? If he has a voice, he abides.

And so it is in actual life. “Take a governorship.” I take it and having done so I show how an educated man comports himself. 45. “Lay aside the laticlave, and having put on rags come forward in a character to correspond.” What then? Has it not been given me to display a fine voice. “In what role, then, do you mount the stage now?” As a witness summoned by God. God says, “Go you and bear witness for Me; for you are worthy to be produced by me as a witness. Is any of those things which lie outside the range of the moral purpose either good or evil? Do I injure any man? Have I put each man’s advantage under the control of any but himself?” What kind of witness do you bear for God? “I am in sore straits, O Lord, and in misfortune; no one regards me, no one gives me anything, all blame me and speak ill of me?” Is this the witness that you are going to bear, and is this the way in which you are going to disgrace the summons which He gave you, in that He bestowed this honor upon you and deemed you worthy to be brought forward in order to bear testimony so important?

50. But the one who has authority over you declares, “I pronounce you impious and profane.” What has happened to you? “I have been pronounced impious and profane.” Nothing else? “Nothing.” But if he had passed judgment upon some hypothetical syllogism and had made a declaration, “I judge the statement, ‘If it is day, there is light,’ to be false,” what has happened to the hypothetical syllogism? Who is being judged in this case, who has been condemned? The hypothetical syllogism, or the man who has been deceived in his judgment about it? Who in the world, then, is this man who has authority to make any declaration about you? Does he know what piety or impiety is? Has he pondered the matter? Has he learned it? Where? Under whose instruction? And yet a musician pays no attention to him, if he declares that the lowest string is the highest, nor does a geometrician, if the man decides that the lines extending from the center to the circumference of a circle are not equal; but shall the truly educated man pay attention to an uninstructed person when he passes judgment on what is holy and unholy, and on what is just and unjust?

How great is the injustice committed by the educated in so doing! Is this, then, what you have learned here? 55. Will you not leave to others, mannikins incapable of taking pains, the petty quibbles about these things, so that they may sit in a corner and gather in their petty fees, or grumble because nobody gives them anything, and will you not yourself come forward and make use of what you have learned? For what is lacking now is not quibbles; nay, the books of the Stoics are full of quibbles. What, then, is the thing lacking now? The man to make use of them, the man to bear witness to the arguments by his acts. This is the character I would have you assume, that we may no longer use old examples in the school, but may have some example from our own time also. Whose part is it, then, to contemplate these matters? The part of him who devotes himself to learning; for man is a kind of animal that loves contemplation. But it is disgraceful to contemplate these things like runaway slaves; nay, sit rather free from distractions and listen, now to tragic actor and now to the citharoede, and not as those runaways do. For at the very moment when one of them is paying attention and praising the tragic actor, he takes a glance around, and then if someone mentions the word “master,” they are instantly all in a flutter and upset. 60. It is disgraceful for men who are philosophers to contemplate the works of nature in this spirit. For what is a “master”? One man is not master of another man, but death and life and pleasure and hardship are his masters. So bring Caesar to me, if he be without these things, and you shall see how steadfast I am. But when he comes with them, thundering and lightening, and I am afraid of them, what else have I done but recognized my master, like the runaway slave? But so long as I have, as it were, only a respite from these threats, I too am acting like a runaway slave who is a spectator in a theater; I bathe, I drink, I sing, but I do it all in fear and misery. But if I emancipate myself from my masters, that is, from those things which render masters terrifying, what further trouble do I have, what master any more?

What then? Must I proclaim this to all men? No, but I must treat with consideration those who are not philosophers by profession, and say, “This man advises for me that which he thinks good in his own case; therefore I excuse him.” For Socrates excused the jailor who wept for him when he was about to drink the poison, and said, “How generously he has wept for us!” Does he, then, say to the jailor, “This is why we sent the women away”? No, but he makes this latter remark to his intimate friends, to those who were fit to hear it; but the jailor he treats with consideration like a child.

XXX: What aid ought we have at hand in difficulties?

When you come into the presence of some prominent man, remember that Another looks from above on what is taking place, and that you must please Him rather than this man. He, then, who is above asks of you, “In your school what did you call exile and imprisonment and bonds and death and disrepute?” “I called them ‘things indifferent.’” “What, then, do you call them now? Have they changed at all?” “No.” “Have you, then, changed?” “No.” “Tell me, then, what things are ‘indifferent.’” “Those that are independent of the moral purpose.” “Tell me also what follows.” “Things independent of the moral purpose are nothing to me.” “Tell me also what you thought were ‘the good things.’” “A proper moral purpose and a proper use of external impressions.” “And what was the ‘end’?” “To follow Thee.” 5. “Do you say all that even now?” “I say the same things even now.” Then enter in, full of confidence and mindful of all this, and you shall see what it means to be a young man who has studied what he ought, when he is in the presence of men who have not studied. As for me, by the gods, I fancy that you will feel somewhat like this: “Why do we make such great and elaborate preparations to meet what amounts to nothing? Was this what authority amounted to? Was this what the vestibule, the chamberlains, the armed guards amounted to? Was it for all this that I listened to those long discourses? Why, all this never amounted to anything, but I was preparing for it as though it were something great.”

Book II

I: That confidence does not conflict with caution.

Perhaps the following contention of the philosophers appears paradoxical to some, but nevertheless let us to the best of our ability consider whether it is true that “we ought to do everything both cautiously and confidently at the same time.” For caution seems to be in a way contrary to confidence, and contraries are by no means consistent. But that which appears to many to be paradoxical in the matter under discussion seems to me to involve something of this sort: If we demanded that a man should employ both caution and confidence in regard to the same things, then we would be justly charged with uniting qualities that are not to be united. But, as a matter of fact, what is there strange about the saying? For if the statements which have often been made and often proved are sound, namely that “the nature of the good as well as of the evil lies in a use of the impressions of the senses, but the things which lie outside the province of the moral purpose admit neither the nature of the evil, nor the nature of the good”; 5. what is there paradoxical about the contention of the philosophers, if they say, “Where the things that lie outside the province of the moral purpose are involved, there show confidence, but where the things that lie within the province of the moral purpose are involved, there show caution”? For if the evil lies in an evil exercise of the moral purpose, it is only in regard to matters of this kind that it is right to employ caution; but if the things which lie outside the province of the moral purpose and are not under our control are nothing to us, we ought to employ confidence in regard to them. And so we shall be at one and the same time both cautious and confident, yes, and, by Zeus, confident because of our caution. For because we are cautious about the things which are really evil, the result will be that we shall have confidence in regard to the things which are not of that nature.

However, we act like deer: when the hinds are frightened by the feathers and run away from them, where do they turn, and to what do they fly for refuge as a safe retreat? Why, to the nets; and so they perish because they have confused the objects of fear with the objects of confidence. So it is with us also; where do we show fear? About the things which lie outside the province of the moral purpose. Again, in what do we behave with confidence as if there were no danger? In the things which lie within the province of the moral purpose. 10. To be deceived, or to act impetuously, or to do something shameless, or with base passion to desire something, makes no difference to us, if only in the matters which lie outside the province of the will we succeed in our aim. But where death, or exile, or hardship, or ignominy faces us, there we show the spirit of running away, there we show violent agitation. Therefore, as might be expected of those men who err in matters of the greatest concern, we transform our natural confidence into boldness, desperateness, recklessness, shamelessness, while our natural caution and self-respect we transform into cowardice and abjectness, full of fears and perturbations. For if a man should transfer his caution to the sphere of the moral purpose and the deeds of the moral purpose, then along with the desire to be cautious he will also at once have under his control the will to avoid; whereas, if he should transfer his caution to those matters which are not under our control and lie outside the province of the moral purpose, inasmuch as he is applying his will to avoid toward those things which are under the control of others, he will necessarily be subject to fear, instability, and perturbation. For it is not death or hardship that is a fearful thing, but the fear of hardship or death. That is why we praise the man who said

Not death is dreadful, but a shameful death.

Our confidence ought, therefore, to be turned toward death, and our caution toward the fear of death; whereas we do just the opposite — in the face of death we turn to flight, but about the formation of a judgment on death we show carelessness, disregard, and unconcern. 15. But Socrates did well to call all such things “bugbears.” For just as masks appear fearful and terrible to children because of inexperience, in some such manner we also are affected by events, and this for the same reason that children are affected by bugbears. For what is a child? Ignorance. What is a child? Want of instruction. For where a child has knowledge, he is no worse than we are. What is death? A bugbear. Turn it about and learn what it is; see, it does not bite. The paltry body must be separated from the bit of spirit, either now or later, just as it existed apart from it before. Why are you grieved, then, if it be separated now? For if it be not separated now, it will be later. Why? So that the revolution of the cosmos may be accomplished; for it has need of the things that are now coming into being, and the things that shall be, and the things that have been accomplished. What is hardship? A bugbear. Turn it about and learn what it is. The poor flesh is subjected to rough treatment, and then again to smooth. If you do not find this profitable, the door stands open; if you do find it profitable, bear it. 20. For the door must be standing open for every emergency, and then we have no trouble.

What, then, is the fruit of these doctrines? Precisely that which must needs be both the fairest and the most becoming for those who are being truly educated — tranquility, fearlessness, freedom. For on these matters we should not trust the multitude, who say, “Only the free can be educated,” but rather the philosophers, who say, “Only the educated are free.” — How is that? — Thus: At this time is freedom anything but the right to live as we wish? “Nothing else.” Tell me, then, O men, do you wish to live in error? “We do not.” Well, no one who lives in error is free. Do you wish to live in fear, in sorrow, in turmoil? “By no means.” Well then, no man who is in fear, or sorrow, or turmoil, is free, but whoever is rid of sorrows and fears and turmoils, this man is by the self-same course rid also of slavery. 25. How, then, shall we any longer trust you, O dearest lawgivers? Do we allow none but the free to get an education? For the philosophers say, “We do not allow any but the educated to be free”; that is, God does not allow it. — When, therefore, in the presence of the praetor a man turns his own slave about, has he done nothing? — He has done something. — What? — He has turned his slave about in the presence of the praetor, — Nothing more? — Yes, he is bound to pay a tax of five percent, of the slave’s value. — What then? Has not the man to whom this has been done become free? — He has no more become free than he has acquired peace of mind. You, for example, who are able to turn others about, have you no master? Have you not as your master money, or a mistress, or a boy favorite, or the tyrant, or some friend of the tyrant? If not, why do you tremble when you go to face some circumstance involving those things?

That is why I say over and over again, “Practice these things and have them ready at hand, that is, the knowledge of what you ought to face with confidence, and what you ought to face with caution — that you ought to face with confidence that which is outside the province of the moral purpose, with caution that which is within the province of the moral purpose.” 30. — But have I not read to you, and do you not know what I am doing? — What have you been engaged upon? Trifling phrases! Keep your trifling phrases! Show me rather how you stand in regard to desire and aversion, whether you do not fail to get what you wish, or do not fall into what you do not wish. As for those trifling periods of yours, if you are wise, you will take them away somewhere and blot them out. — What then? Did not Socrates write? — Yes, who wrote as much as he? But how? Since he could not have always at hand someone to test his judgments, or to be tested by him in turn, he was in the habit of testing and examining himself, and was always in a practical way trying out some particular primary conception. That is what a philosopher writes; but trifling phrases, and “said he,” “said I” he leaves to others, to the stupid or the blessed, those who by virtue of their tranquility live at leisure, or those who by virtue of their folly take no account of logical conclusions.

And now, when the crisis calls, will you go off and make an exhibition of your compositions, and give a reading from them, and boast, “See, how I write dialogues”? 35. Do not so, man, but rather boast as follows: “See how in my desire I do not fail to get what I wish. See how in my aversions I do not fall into things that I would avoid. Bring on death and you shall know; bring on hardships, bring on imprisonment, bring on disrepute, bring on condemnation.” This is the proper exhibition of a young man come from school. Leave other things to other people; neither let anyone ever hear a word from you about them, nor, if anyone praises you for them, do you tolerate it, but let yourself be accounted a nobody and a know-nothing. Show that you know this only — how you may never either fail to get what you desire or fall into what you avoid. Let others practice lawsuits, others problems, others syllogisms; do you practice how to die, how to be enchained, how to be racked, how to be exiled. Do all these things with confidence, with trust in Him who has called you to face them and deemed you worthy of this position, in which having once been placed you shall exhibit what can be achieved by a rational governing principle when arrayed against the forces that lie outside the province of the moral purpose. 40. And thus the paradox of which we were speaking will no longer appear either impossible or paradoxical, namely, that at the same time we ought to be both cautious and confident, confident in regard to those things that lie outside the province of the moral purpose, and cautious in regard to those things that lie within the province of the moral purpose.

II: On tranquility.

Consider, you who are going to court, what you wish to maintain and wherein you wish to succeed; for if you wish to maintain freedom of moral purpose in its natural condition, all security is yours, every facility yours, you have no trouble. For if you are willing to keep guard over those things which are under your direct authority and by nature free, and if you are satisfied with them, what else do you care about? For who is master of them, who can take them away from you? If you wish to be self-respecting and honorable, who is it that will not allow you? If you wish not to be hindered nor compelled, what man will compel you to desire what does not seem to you to be desirable, to avoid what you do not feel should be avoided? Well, what then? 5. The judge will do some things to you which are thought to be terrifying; but how can he make you try to avoid what you suffer? When, therefore, desire and aversion are under your own control, what more do you care for? This is your introduction, this the setting forth of your case, this your proof, this your victory, this your peroration, this your approbation. That is why Socrates, in reply to the man who was reminding him to make preparation for his trial, said, “Do you not feel, then, that with my whole life I am making preparation for this?” — “What kind of preparation?” — “I have maintained,” says he, “that which is under my control.” — “How then?” — “I have never done anything that was wrong either in my private or in my public life.” 10. But if you wish to maintain also what is external, your paltry body and your petty estate and your small reputation, I have this to say to you: Begin this very moment to make all possible preparation, and furthermore study the character of your judge and your antagonist. If you must clasp men’s knees, clasp them; if you must wail, then wail; if you must groan, then groan. For when you subject what is your own to externals, then from henceforth be a slave, and stop letting yourself be drawn this way and that, at one moment wishing to be a slave, at another not, but be either this or that simply and with all your mind, either a free man or a slave, either educated or uneducated, either a spirited fighting cock or a spiritless one, either endure to be beaten until you die, or give in at once. Far be it from you to receive many blows and yet at the last give in! But if that is disgraceful, begin this very moment to decide the question, “Where is the nature of good and evil to be found? Where truth also is. Where truth and where nature are, there is caution; where truth is, there is confidence, where nature is.”

15. Why, do you think that if Socrates had wished to maintain his external possessions he would have come forward and said, “Anytus and Meletus are able indeed to kill me, but they cannot harm me”? Was he so foolish as not to see that this course does not lead to that goal, but elsewhere? Why is it unreasonable, then, to add also a word of provocation? Just as my friend Heracleitus, who had an unimportant lawsuit about a small piece of land in Rhodes; after he had pointed out the justice of his claim he went on to the peroration in which he said, “But neither will I entreat you, nor do I care what your decision is going to be, and it is you who are on trial rather than I.” And so he ruined his case. What is the use of acting like that? Merely make no entreaties, but do not add the words “Yes, and I make no entreaties,” unless the right time has come for you, as it did for Socrates, deliberately to provoke your judges. If you, for your part, are preparing a peroration of that sort, why do you mount the platform at all, why answer the summons? 20. For if you wish to be crucified, wait and the cross will come; but if reason decides that you should answer the summons and do your best to have what you say carry conviction, you must act in accordance therewith, but always maintaining what is your own proper character.

Looked at in this way it is also absurd to say, “Advise me.” What advice am I to give you? Nay, say rather, “Enable my mind to adapt itself to whatever comes.” Since the other expression is just as if an illiterate should say, “Tell me what to write when some name is set me to write.” For if I say, “Write Dio,” and then his teacher comes along and sets him not the name “Dio,” but “Theo,” what will happen? What will he write? But if you have practiced writing, you are able also to prepare yourself for everything that is dictated to you; if you have not practiced, what advice can I now offer you? For if circumstances dictate something different, what will you say or what will you do? 25. Bear in mind, therefore, this general principle and you will not be at a loss for a suggestion. But if you gape open-mouthed at externals, you must needs be tossed up and down according to the will of your master. And who is your master? He who has authority over any of the things upon which you set your heart or which you wish to avoid.

III: To those who recommend persons to the philosophers.

That is an excellent answer of Diogenes to the man who asked for a letter of recommendation from him: “That you are a man,” he says, “he will know at a glance; but whether you are a good or a bad man he will discover if he has the skill to distinguish between good and bad, and if he is without that skill he will not discover the facts, even though I write him thousands of times.” For it is just as though a drachma asked to be recommended to someone, in order to be tested. If the man in question is an assayer of silver, you will recommend yourself. We ought, therefore, to have also in everyday life the sort of thing that we have in the case of silver, so that I may be able to say, as the assayer of silver says, “Bring me any drachma you please, and I will appraise it.” Now in the case of syllogisms I say, “Bring me any you please and I will distinguish for you between the one that is capable of analysis and the one that is not.” How so? Because, I know how to analyze syllogisms myself; I have the faculty which the man must have who is going to appraise those who handle syllogisms properly. But in everyday life what do I do? Sometimes I call a thing good, and sometimes bad. What is the reason? The opposite of what was true in the case of syllogisms, namely, ignorance and inexperience.

IV: To the man who had once been caught in adultery.

As Epictetus was remarking that man is born to fidelity, and that the man who overthrows this is overthrowing the characteristic quality of man, there entered one who had the reputation of being a scholar, and who had once been caught in the city in the act of adultery. But, goes on Epictetus, if we abandon this fidelity to which we are by nature born, and make designs against our neighbor’s wife, what are we doing? Why, what but ruining and destroying? Whom? The man of fidelity, of self-respect, of piety. Is that all? Are we not overthrowing also neighborly feeling, friendship, the state? In what position are we placing ourselves? As what am I to treat you, fellow? As a neighbor, as a friend? Of what kind? As a citizen? What confidence am I to place in you? If you were a vessel so cracked that it was impossible to use you for anything, you would be cast forth upon the dunghills and even from there no one would pick you up; 5. but if, although a man, you cannot fill a man’s place, what are we going to do with you? For, assuming that you cannot hold the place of a friend, can you hold that of a slave? And who is going to trust you? Are you not willing, therefore, that you too should be cast forth upon some dunghill as a useless vessel, as a piece of dung? For all that will you say, “Nobody cares for me, a scholar!”? No, for you are an evil man, and useless. It is just as if the wasps complained that nobody cares for them, but all run away from them, and, if anyone can, he strikes them and knocks them down. You have such a sting that you involve in trouble and pain whomever you strike. What do you want us to do with you? There is no place where you can be put.

What then, you say; are not women by nature common property? I agree. And the little pig is the common property of the invited guests; but when portions have been assigned, if it so pleases you, approach and snatch up the portion of the guest who reclines at your side, steal it secretly, or slip in your hand and glut your greed, and if you cannot tear off a piece of the meat, get your fingers greasy and lick them. A fine companion you would make at a feast, and a dinner-guest worthy of Socrates! Come now, is not the theater the common property of the citizens? When, therefore, they are seated there, go, if it so pleases you, and throw someone of them out of his seat. 10. In the same way women also are by nature common property. But when the law-giver, like a host at a banquet, has apportioned them, are you not willing like the rest to look for your own portion instead of filching away and glutting your greed upon that which is another’s? “But I am a scholar and understand Archedemus.” Very well then, understand Archedemus and be an adulterer and faithless and a wolf or an ape instead of a man; for what is there to prevent you?

V: How are magnanimity and carefulness compatible?

Materials are indifferent, but the use which we make of them is not a matter of indifference. How, therefore, shall a man maintain steadfastness and peace of mind, and at the same time the careful spirit and that which is neither reckless nor negligent? If he imitates those who play at dice. The counters are indifferent, the dice are indifferent; how am I to know what is going to fall? But to make a careful and skillful use of what has fallen, that is now my task. In like manner, therefore, the principal task in life is this: distinguish matters and weigh them one against another, and say to yourself, “Externals are not under my control; moral choice is under my control. 5. Where am I to look for the good and the evil? Within me, in that which is my own.” But in that which is another’s never employ the words “good” or “evil,” or “benefit” or “injury,” or anything of the sort.

What then? Are these externals to be used carelessly? Not at all. For this again is to the moral purpose an evil and thus unnatural to it. They must be used carefully, because their use is not a matter of indifference, and at the same time with steadfastness and peace of mind, because the material is indifferent. For in whatever really concerns us, there no man can either hinder or compel me. The attainment of those things in which I can be hindered or compelled is not under my control and is neither good nor bad, but the use which I make of them is either good or bad, and that is under my control. It is, indeed, difficult to unite and combine these two things — the carefulness of the man who is devoted to material things and the steadfastness of the man who disregards them, but it is not impossible. Otherwise happiness were impossible. 10. But we act very much as though we were on a voyage. What is possible for me? To select the helmsman, the sailors, the day, the moment. Then a storm comes down upon us. Very well, what further concern have I? For my part has been fulfilled. The business belongs to someone else, that is, the helmsman. But, more than that, the ship goes down. What, then, have I to do? What I can; that is the only thing I do; I drown without fear, neither shrieking nor crying out against God, but recognizing that what is born must also perish. For I am not eternal, but a man; a part of the whole, as an hour is part of a day. I must come on as the hour and like an hour pass away. What difference, then, is it to me how I pass away, whether by drowning or by a fever? For by something of the sort I must needs pass away.

15. This is what you will see skillful ball players doing also. None of them is concerned about the ball as being something good or bad, but about throwing and catching it. Accordingly, form has to do with that, skill with that, and speed, and grace; where I cannot catch the ball even if I spread out my cloak, the expert catches it if I throw. Yet if we catch or throw the ball in a flurry or in fear, what fun is there left, and how can a man be steady, or see what comes next in the game? But one player will say “Throw!” another, “Don’t throw!” and yet another, “Don’t throw it up!’ That, indeed, would be a strife and not a game.

In that sense, then, Socrates knew how to play ball. How so? He knew how to play in the law-court. “Tell me,” says he, “Anytus, what do you mean when you say that I do not believe in God. In your opinion who are the daemones? Are they not either the offspring of the gods or a hybrid race, the offspring of men and gods?“ And when Anytus had agreed to that statement Socrates went on, “Who, then, do you think, can believe that mules exist, but not asses?” In so speaking he was like a man playing ball. And at that place and time what was the ball that he was playing with? Imprisonment, exile, drinking poison, being deprived of wife, leaving children orphans. 20. These were the things with which he was playing, but none the less he played and handled the ball in good form. So ought we also to act, exhibiting the ball-player’s carefulness about the game, but the same indifference about the object played with, as being a mere ball. For a man ought by all means to strive to show his skill in regard to some of the external materials, yet without making the material a part of himself, but merely lavishing his skill in regard to it, whatever it may be. So also the weaver does not make wool, but he lavishes his skill on whatever wool he receives. Another gives you sustenance and property and can likewise take them away, yes, and your paltry body itself. Do you accordingly accept the material and work it up. Then if you come forth without having suffered any harm, the others who meet you will congratulate you on your escape, but the man who knows how to observe such matters, if he sees that you have exhibited good form in this affair, will praise you and rejoice with you; but if he sees that you owe your escape to some dishonorable action, he will do the opposite. For where a man may rejoice with good reason, there others may rejoice with him.

How, then, can it be said that some externals are natural, and others unnatural? It is just as if we were detached from them. For I will assert of the foot as such that it is natural for it to be clean, but if you take it as a foot, and not as a thing detached, it will be appropriate for it to step into mud and trample on thorns and sometimes to be cut off for the sake of the whole body; otherwise it will no longer be a foot. 25. We ought to hold some such view also about ourselves. What are you? A man. Now if you regard yourself as a thing detached, it is natural for you to live to old age, to be rich, to enjoy health. But if you regard yourself as a man and as a part of some whole, on account of that whole it is fitting for you now to be sick, and now to make a voyage and run risks, and now to be in want, and on occasion to die before your time. Why, then, are you vexed? Do you not know that as the foot, if detached, will no longer be a foot, so you too, if detached, will no longer be a man? For what is a man? A part of a state; first of that state which is made up of gods and men, and then of that which is said to be very close to the other, the state that is a small copy of the cosmic state. “Must I, then, be put on trial now?” Well, would you have someone else be sick of a fever now, someone else go on a voyage, someone else die, someone else be condemned? For it is impossible in such a body as ours, in this cosmos that envelops us, among these fellow-creatures of ours, that such things should not happen, some to one man and some to another. It is your task, therefore, to step forward and say what you should, to arrange these matters as is fitting. Then the judge says, “I adjudge you guilty.” I reply, ”May it be well with you. I have done my part; and it is for you to see whether you have done yours.” For the judge too runs a risk, do not forget that.

VI: Of indifference in things.

The hypothetical syllogism in itself is a matter of indifference; yet the judgment about it is not indifferent, but is either knowledge, or opinion, or delusion. In like manner, although life is a matter of indifference, the use which you make of it is not a matter of indifference. Therefore, when someone tells you, “These things also are indifferent,” do not become careless, and when someone exhorts you to be careful, do not become abject and overawed by material things. It is good also to know one’s own training and capacity, so that where you have had no training you may keep quiet and not be annoyed if some other persons outshine you in those matters. For you in your turn will expect to outshine them in syllogisms, and if they are annoyed at that, you will console them by saying, “I have learned this, and you have not.” 5. So also in a case where some acquired skill is needed, do not seek that which only practice can give, but leave that to those who have acquired the knack, and be content yourself to remain steadfast.

“Go and salute so-and-so.” “I salute him.” “How?” “In no abject spirit.” “But the door was shut in your face.” “Yes, for I have not learned how to crawl in at the window; but when I find the door closed, I must either go away or crawl in at the window.” “But go and do speak to him.” “I do so speak.” “In what manner?” “In no abject spirit.” “But you did not get what you wanted.” Surely that was not your business, was it? Nay, it was his. Why, then, lay claim to that which is another’s? If you always bear in mind what is your own and what is another’s, you will never be disturbed. Therefore Chrysippus well says, “As long as the consequences are not clear to me, I cleave ever to what is better adapted to secure those things that are in accordance with nature; for God himself has created me with the faculty of choosing things. 10. But if I really knew that it was ordained for me to be ill at this present moment, I would even seek illness: for the foot also, if it had a mind, would seek to be covered with mud.”

For example, why do heads of grain grow? Is it not that they may also become dry? But when they become dry, is it not that they may also be harvested? Since they do not grow for themselves alone. If, therefore, they had feeling, ought they to pray that they should never at all be harvested? But never to be harvested at all is a curse for heads of grain. In like manner I would have you know that in the case of men as well it is a curse never to die; it is like never growing ripe, never being harvested. But, since we are ourselves those who must both be harvested and also be aware of the very fact that we are being harvested, we are angry on that account. For we neither know who we are, nor have we studied what belongs to man, as horsemen study what belongs to horses. 15. But Chrysantas, when he was on the point of striking the foe, refrained because he heard the bugle sounding the recall; it seemed so much more profitable to him to do the bidding of his general than to follow his own inclination. Yet no one of us is willing, even when necessity calls, to obey her readily, but what we suffer we suffer with fears and groans, and call it “circumstances.” What do you mean by “circumstances,” man? If you call “circumstances” your surroundings, all things are “circumstances”; but if you use the word of hardships, what hardship is involved when that which has come into being is destroyed? The instrument of destruction is a sword, or a wheel, or the sea, or a tile, or a tyrant. What concern is it to you by what road you descend to the House of Hades? They are all equal. But if you care to hear the truth, the road by which the tyrant sends you is the shorter. No tyrant ever took six months to cut a man’s throat, but a fever often takes more than a year. All these things are a mere noise and a vaunting of empty names.

20. “I run the risk of my life in Caesar’s presence.” But do I not run a risk by living in Nicopolis, where there are so many earthquakes? And what risk do you yourself take when you cross the Adriatic? Do you not risk your life? “But I also risk my opinion at court.” Your own opinion? How so? Why, who can compel you to opine anything against your will? But do you mean some other man’s opinion? And what kind of risk is it of yours that others should entertain false opinions? “But I run the risk of banishment.” What is banishment? To be somewhere else than in Rome? “Yes.” What then? “Suppose I am sent to Gyara.” If it is to your good, you will go; if not, you have a place to which you may go instead of Gyara — where he too will go, whether he will or no, who is sending you to Gyara. Then why do you go up to Rome as though it were some great thing? It amounts to less than your preparation for it; so that a young man of parts may say, “It was not worth so much to have listened to so many lectures, and to have written so many exercises, and to have sat so long at the side of a little old man, who was not worth very much himself.” Only remember that distinction which is drawn between what is yours and what is not yours. Never lay claim to anything that is not your own. 25. A platform and a prison is each a place, the one high, and the other low; but your moral purpose can be kept the same, if you wish to keep it the same, in either place. And then we shall be emulating Socrates, when we are able to write paeans in prison. But considering what has been our state hitherto, I wonder if we should have endured it, had some one else said to us in prison, “Would you like to have me read you paeans?” “Why bother me? Do you not know the trouble that I am in? What, is it possible for me in this condition——?” In what condition, then? “I am about to die.” But will other men be immortal?

VII: How should one employ divination?

Because we employ divination when there is no occasion for it, many of us neglect many of the duties of life. For what can the diviner see that is of greater import than death, or danger, or illness, or in general such things as these? If, then, it becomes necessary for me to risk my life for my friend, and if it becomes my duty even to die for him, where do I find beyond that any occasion to employ divination? Have I not within me the diviner that has told me the true nature of good and of evil, that has set forth the signs characteristic of both of them? What further use have I, then, of entrails, or of birds? But when he says, “It is expedient for you,” do I accept it? Why, does he know what is expedient? Does he know what is good? 5. Has he learned the signs characteristic of things good and things evil, as he has the signs characteristic of entrails? For if he knows the signs characteristic of these, he knows also those of things honorable and base, and right and wrong. Man, it is for you to tell me what is indicated by signs — life or death, poverty or wealth; but whether these things are expedient or inexpedient, am I going to ask of you? Why don’t you speak on points of grammar? Well then, on this matter, in which we mortals are all astray and in conflict with one another, you do speak? Wherefore, that was an admirable answer which the woman gave who wished to send a boatload of supplies to Gratilla after she had been exiled. To a man who said, “Domitian will confiscate them,” she replies, “I should rather have him confiscate them than myself fail to send them.”

What, then, induces us to employ divination so constantly? Cowardice, fear of the consequences. This is why we flatter the diviners, saying: “Master, shall I inherit my father’s property?” “Let us see; let us offer a sacrifice about that matter.” “Yes, master, as fortune wills.” Then if the diviner says, “You will inherit the property,” we thank him as though we had received the inheritance from him. That is why they in their turn go on making mock of us. 10. Well, what then? We ought to go to them without either desire or aversion, just as the wayfarer asks the man who meets him which of two roads leads to his destination, without any desire to have the right-hand road lead there any more than the left-hand road; for he does not care to travel one particular road of the two, but merely the one that leads to his destination. So also we ought to go to God as a guide, making use of Him as we make use of our eyes; we do not call upon them to show us such-and-such things by preference, but we accept the impressions of precisely such things as they reveal to us. But as it is, we tremble before the bird-augur, lay hold upon him, and appealing to him as if he were a god, we beg of him, saying: “Master, have mercy; grant that I come off safe.” You slave! What, do you want anything but what is best for you? Is anything else best for you than what pleases God? Why do you do all that in you lies to corrupt your judge, to mislead your counselor?

VIII: What is the true nature of the good?

God is helpful; but the good also is helpful. It would seem, therefore, that the true nature of the good will be found to be where we find that of God to be. What, then, is the true nature of God? Flesh? Far from it! Land? Far from it! Fame? Far from it! It is intelligence, knowledge, right reason. Here, therefore, and only here, shall you seek the true nature of the good. Surely you do not seek it at all in a plant, do you? No. Nor in an irrational creature? No. If, then, you seek it in that which is rational, why do you keep on seeking it somewhere else than in that which differentiates the rational from the irrational? Plants are incapable of dealing even with external impressions; for that reason you do not speak of the “good” in referring to them. The good requires, therefore, the faculty of using external impressions. 5. Can that be all that it requires? For, if that be all, then you must assert that things good, and happiness and unhappiness, are to be found in the other animals as well as in man. But, as a matter of fact, you do not so assert, and you are right; for even if they have in the highest degree the faculty of using external impressions, still they do not have the faculty of understanding, at all events, their use of the external impressions. And with good reason; for they are born to serve others, and are not themselves of primary importance. The ass, for example, is not born to be of primary importance, is it? No; but because we had need of a back that was able to carry something. But, by Zeus, we had need that it should be able also to walk around; therefore it has further received the faculty of using external impressions; for otherwise it would not be able to walk around. And at about that stage there was an end. But if it, like man, had somehow received the faculty of understanding the use of its external impressions, it is also clear that consequently it would no longer be subject to us, nor would it be performing these services, but would be our equal and our peer. Will you not, therefore, seek the true nature of the good in that quality the lack of which in all creatures other than man prevents you from using the term “good” of any of these? 10. “But what then? Are not those creatures also works of God?” They are, but they are not of primary importance, nor portions of Divinity. But you are a being of primary importance; you are a fragment of God; you have within you a part of Him. Why, then, are you ignorant of your own kinship? Why do you not know the source from which you have sprung? Will you not bear in mind, whenever you eat, who you are that eat, and whom you are nourishing? Whenever you indulge in intercourse with women, who you are that do this? Whenever you mix in society, whenever you take physical exercise, whenever you converse, do you not know that you are nourishing God, exercising God? You are bearing God about with you, you poor wretch, and know it not! Do you suppose I am speaking of some external God, made of silver or gold? It is within yourself that you bear Him, and do not perceive that you are defiling Him with impure thoughts and filthy actions. Yet in the presence of even an image of God you would not dare to do anything of the things you are now doing. But when God Himself is present within you, seeing and hearing everything, are you not ashamed to be thinking and doing such things as these, O insensible of your own nature, and object of God’s wrath!

15. Again, when we send a young man forth from the school to sundry activities, why are we afraid that he will do something amiss — eat amiss, have intercourse with women amiss, be abased if dressed in rags or conceited if he has on fine clothes? This fellow does not know the God within him, this fellow does not know the companion with whom he is setting forth. Nay, can we allow him to say, “O God, would that I had Thee here”? Have you not God there, where you are? And when you have Him, do you seek for someone else? Or will He have other commands for you than these? Nay, if you were a statue of Pheidias, his Athena or his Zeus, you would have remembered both yourself and your artificer, and if you had any power of perception you would have tried to do nothing unworthy of him that had fashioned you, nor of yourself, and you would have tried not to appear in an unbecoming attitude before the eyes of men; but as it is, because Zeus has made you, do you on that account not care what manner of person you show yourself to be? And yet what comparison is there between the one artificer and the other, or between the one work of art and the other? 20. And what work of an artificer has forthwith within itself the faculties which its workmanship discloses? Is it not mere stone, or bronze, or gold, or ivory? And the Athena of Pheidias, when once it had stretched out its hand and received the Nike upon it, stands in this attitude for all time to come; but the works of God are capable of movement, have the breath of life, can make use of external impressions, and pass judgement upon them. Do you dishonour the workmanship of this Craftsman, when you are yourself that workmanship? Nay more, do you go so far as to forget, not only that He fashioned you, but also that He entrusted and committed you to yourself alone, and moreover, by forgetting, do you dishonor your trust? Yet if God had committed some orphan to your care, would you so neglect Him? He has delivered your own self into your keeping, saying, “I had no one more faithful than you; keep this man for me unchanged from the character with which nature endowed him — reverent, faithful, high-minded, undismayed, unimpassioned, unperturbed.” After that do you fail so to keep him?

“But men will say, ‘Where do you suppose our friend here got his proud look and his solemn countenance?’” Ah, but my bearing is not yet what it should be! For I still lack confidence in what I have learned and agreed to; I am still afraid of my own weakness. 25. Just let me gain confidence and then you will see the right look in my eye and the right bearing; then, when the statue is finished and polished, I will show it to you. What do you think of it? A lofty air, say you? Heaven forbid! For the Zeus at Olympia does not show a proud look, does he? No, but his gaze is steady, as befits one who is about to say.

No word of mine can be revoked or prove untrue.

Of such character will I show myself to you — faithful, reverent, noble, unperturbed. You do not mean, therefore, immortal, or ageless, or exempt from disease? No, but one who dies like a god, who bears disease like a god. This is what I have; this is what I can do; but all else I neither have nor can do. I will show you the sinews of a philosopher. What do you mean by sinews? A desire that fails not of achievement, an aversion proof against encountering what it would avoid, an appropriate choice, a thoughtful purpose, a well-considered assent. This is what you shall see.

IX: That although we are unable to fulfill the profession of a man we adopt that of a philosopher.

It is no simple task, this of fulfilling merely the profession of a man. For what is a man? A rational, mortal animal, someone says. To begin with, from what are we distinguished by the rational element? From the wild beasts. And from what else? From sheep and the like. See to it, then, that you never act like a wild beast; if you do, you will have destroyed the man in you, you have not fulfilled your profession. See to it that you never act like a sheep; if you do, the man in you is destroyed in this way also. Well, when do we act like sheep? When we act for the sake of the belly, or of our sex-organs, or at random, or in a filthy fashion, or without due consideration, to what level have we degenerated? To the level of sheep. What have we destroyed? The reason. 5. When we act pugnaciously, and injuriously, and angrily, and rudely, to what level have we degenerated? To the level of the wild beasts. Well, the fact is that some of us are wild beasts of a larger size, while others are little animals, malignant and petty, which give us occasion to say, “Let it be a lion that devours me!” By means of all these actions the profession of a man is destroyed. For when is a complex thing preserved? When it fulfills its profession; consequently, the salvation of a complex thing is to be composed of parts that are true. When is a discrete thing preserved? When it fulfills its profession. When are flutes, a lyre, a horse, a dog preserved? What is there to be surprised at, then, if a man also is preserved in the same way and in the same way destroyed? 10. Now deeds that correspond to his true nature strengthen and preserve each particular man; carpentry does that for the carpenter, grammatical studies for the grammarian. But if a man acquires the habit of writing ungrammatically, his art must necessarily be destroyed and perish. So modest acts preserve the modest man, whereas immodest acts destroy him; and faithful acts preserve the faithful man while acts of the opposite character destroy him. And again, acts of the opposite character strengthen men of the opposite character; shamelessness strengthens the shameless man, faithlessness the faithless, abuse the abusive, wrath the wrathful, a disproportion between what he receives and what he pays out the miserly.

That is why the philosophers admonish us not to be satisfied with merely learning, but to add thereto practice also, and then training. For in the course of years we have acquired the habit of doing the opposite of what we learn and have in use opinions which are the opposite of the correct ones. If, therefore, we do not also put in use the correct opinions, we shall be nothing but the interpreters of other men’s judgments. 15. For who is there among us here and now that cannot give a philosophical discourse about good and evil? It will run like this: Of things that be, some are good, others evil, and others indifferent; now good things are virtues and everything that partakes in the virtues; evil are the opposite; while indifferent are wealth, health, reputation. Then, if we are interrupted in the midst of our speech by some unusually loud noise, or if someone in the audience laughs at us, we are upset. Where, you philosopher, are the things you are talking about? Where did you get what you were just saying? From your lips, and that is all. Why, then, do you pollute the helpful principles that are not your own? Why do you gamble about matters of the very utmost concern? For to store away bread and wine in a pantry is one thing, and to eat them is another. What is eaten is digested, distributed, becomes sinews, flesh, bones, blood, a good complexion, easy breathing. What is stored away you can readily take and show whenever you please, but you get no good from it except in so far as you are reputed to possess it. For how much better is it to set forth these principles than those of other schools of thought? Sit down now and give a philosophical discourse upon the principles of Epicurus, and perhaps you will discourse more effectively than Epicurus himself. Why, then, do you call yourself a Stoic, why do you deceive the multitude, why do you act the part of a Jew, when you are a Greek? 20. Do you not see in what sense men are severally called Jew, Syrian, or Egyptian? For example, whenever we see a man halting between two faiths, we are in the habit of saying, “He is not a Jew, he is only acting the part.” But when he adopts the attitude of mind of the man who has been baptized and has made his choice, then he both is a Jew in fact and is also called one. So we also are counterfeit “baptists,” ostensibly Jews, but in reality something else, not in sympathy with our own reason, far from applying the principles which we profess, yet priding ourselves upon them as being men who know them. So, although we are unable even to fulfill the profession of man, we take on the additional profession of the philosopher — so huge a burden! It is as though a man who was unable to raise ten pounds wanted to lift the stone of Aias.

X: How from the designation that he bears is it possible to discover a man’s duties?

Consider who you are. To begin with, a Man; that is, one who has no quality more sovereign than moral choice, but keeps everything else subordinate to it, and this moral choice itself free from slavery and subjection. Consider, therefore, what those things are from which you are separated by virtue of the faculty of reason. You are separated from wild beasts, you are separated from sheep. In addition to this you are a citizen of the world, and a part of it, not one of the parts destined for service, but one of primary importance; for you possess the faculty of understanding the divine administration of the world, and of reasoning upon the consequences thereof. What, then, is the profession of a citizen? To treat nothing as a matter of private profit, not to plan about anything as though he were a detached unit, but to act like the foot or the hand, which, if they had the faculty of reason and understood the constitution of nature, would never exercise choice or desire in any other way but by reference to the whole. 5. Hence the philosophers well say that if the good and excellent man knew what was going to happen, he would help on the processes of disease and death and maiming, because he would realize that this allotment comes from the orderly arrangement of the whole, and the whole is more sovereign than the part, and the state more sovereign than the citizen. But as it is, seeing that we do not know beforehand what is going to happen, it is our duty to cleave to that which is naturally more fit to be chosen, since we are born for this purpose.

Next bear in mind that you are a Son. What is the profession of this character? To treat everything that is his own as belonging to his father, to be obedient to him in all things, never to speak ill of him to anyone else, nor to say or do anything that will harm him, to give way to him in everything and yield him precedence, helping him as far as is within his power.

Next know that you are also a Brother. Upon this character also there is incumbent deference, obedience, kindly speech, never to claim as against your brother any of the things that lie outside the realm of your free moral choice, but cheerfully to give them up, so that in the things that do lie within the realm of your free moral choice you may have the best of it. For see what it is, at the price of a head of lettuce, if it so chance, or of a seat, for you to acquire his goodwill — how greatly you get the best of it there!

10. Next, if you sit in the town council of some city, remember that you are a councillor; if you are young, remember that you are young; if old, that you are an elder; if a father, that you are a father. For each of these designations, when duly considered, always suggests the acts that are appropriate to it. But if you go off and speak ill of your brother, I say to you, “You have forgotten who you are and what your designation is.” Why, if you were a smith and used your hammer amiss, you would have forgotten the smith you were; but if you forget the brother you are, and become an enemy instead of a brother, will you seem to yourself to have exchanged nothing for nothing? And if, instead of being a man, a gentle and social being, you have become a wild beast, a mischievous, treacherous, biting animal, have you lost nothing? What, must you lose a bit of pelf so as to suffer damage, and does the loss of nothing else damage a man? 15. Yet, if you lost your skill in the use of language or in music, you would regard the loss of it as damage; but if you are going to lose self-respect and dignity and gentleness, do you think that does not matter? And yet those former qualities are lost from some external cause that is beyond the power of our will, but these latter are lost through our own fault; and it is neither noble to have nor disgraceful to lose these former qualities, but not to have these latter, or having had them to lose them, is a disgrace and a reproach and a calamity. What is lost by the victim of unnatural lust? His manhood. And by the agent? Beside a good many other things he also loses his manhood no less than the other. What does the adulterer lose? He loses the man of self-respect that was, the man of self-control, the gentleman, the citizen, the neighbor. What does the man lose who is given to anger? Something else. Who is given to fear? Something else. No one is evil without loss and damage. Furthermore, if you look for your loss in pelf, all those whom I have just mentioned suffer neither injury nor loss; nay, if it so chance, they even get gain and profit, when, through some of their deeds just mentioned, they also acquire pelf. 20. But observe that if you make paltry pelf your standard lor everything, not even the man who loses his nose will in your eyes have suffered an injury. — “Oh yes, he has,” someone says, “for his body is mutilated.” — Come now, and does the man who has lost his entire sense of smell lose nothing? Is there, then, no such thing as a faculty of the mind, the possession of which means gain to a man, and the loss, injury? — What faculty do you mean? Have we not a natural sense of self-respect? — We have. — Does not the man who destroys this suffer a loss, is he not deprived of something, does he not lose something that belonged to him? Do we not have a natural sense of fidelity, a natural sense of affection, a natural sense of helpfulness, a natural sense of keeping our hands off one another? Shall, therefore, the man who allows himself to suffer loss in such matters, be regarded as having suffered neither injury nor loss?

Well, what then? Am I not to injure the man who has injured me? — First consider what injury is, and call to mind what you have heard the philosophers say. 25. For if the good lies in moral purpose, and the evil likewise in moral purpose, see if what you are saying does not come to something like this, “Well, what then? Since so-and-so has injured himself by doing me some wrong, shall I not injure myself by doing him some wrong?” Why, then, do we not represent the case to ourselves in some such light as that? Instead of that, where there is some loss affecting our body or our property, there we count it injury; but is there no injury where the loss affects our moral purpose? For the man who has been deceived or who has done some wrong has no pain in his head, or his eye, or his hip, neither does he lose his land. But these are the things we care for and nothing else; yet the question whether we are going to have a moral purpose characterized by self-respect and good faith, or by shamelessness and bad faith, does not so much as begin to disturb us, except only in so far as we make it a topic of trivial discussion in the classroom. 30. Therefore, so far as our trivial discussions go, we do make some progress, but, apart from them, not even the very least.

XI: What is the beginning of philosophy?

The beginning of philosophy with those who take it up as they should, and enter in, as it were, by the gate, is a consciousness of a man’s own weakness and impotence with reference to the things of real consequence in life. For we come into being without any innate concept of a right-angled triangle, or of a half-tone musical interval, but by a certain systematic method of instruction we are taught the meaning of each of these things, and for that reason those who do not know them also do not fancy that they do. But, on the other hand, who has come into being without an innate concept of what is good and evil, honorable and base, appropriate and inappropriate, and happiness, and of what is proper and falls to our lot, and what we ought to do and what we ought not to do? Wherefore, we all use these terms and endeavor to adapt our preconceptions about them to the individual instances. 5. “He has done well, as he ought, or as he ought not; he has been unfortunate, or fortunate; he is a wicked man, or he is a just man” — who of us refrains from expressions of this kind? Who of us waits before he uses them until he has learned what they mean, as those who have no knowledge of lines or sounds wait before they use the terms relating to them? The reason is that we come into the world with a certain amount of instruction upon this matter already given us, as it were, by nature, and that starting with this we have added thereto our opinion. — Yes, by Zeus, for do I in my own case not have by gift of nature knowledge of what is noble and base; do I not have a concept of the matter? — You do. — Do I not apply it to individual instances? — You do. — Do I not, then, apply it properly? — There lies the whole question, and there opinion comes in. For men start with these principles upon which they are agreed, but then, because they make an unsuitable application of them, get into disputes. Since if, in addition to having the principles themselves, they really possessed also the faculty of making suitable application of the same, what could keep them from being perfect? 10. But now, since you think that you can also apply your preconceptions suitably to the individual cases, tell me, whence do you get this gift? — It is because I think so. — But on this precise point someone else does not think so, and yet he too fancies that he is applying the principles properly, does he not? — He does so fancy. — Can both of you, then, be making suitable applications of your preconceptions in the matters upon which your opinions are at variance? — We cannot. — Can you, then, show us anything higher than your own opinion which will make it possible for us to apply our preconceptions better? And does the madman do anything else but that which seems to him to be good? Is this criterion, then, sufficient in his case also? — It is not. — Go, therefore, to something higher than your own opinion, and tell us what that is.

Behold the beginning of philosophy! — a recognition of the conflict between the opinions of men, and a search for the origin of that conflict, and a condemnation of mere opinion, coupled with scepticism regarding it, and a kind of investigation to determine whether the opinion is rightly held, together with the invention of a kind of standard of judgment, as we have invented the balance for the determination of weights, or the carpenter’s rule for the determination of things straight and crooked. — Is this the beginning of philosophy? Is everything right that every man thinks? Nay, how is it possible for conflicting opinions to be right? Consequently, not all opinions are right. — But are our opinions right? 15. Why ours, rather than those of the Syrians; why ours, rather than those of the Egyptians; why ours, rather than my own, or those of so-and-so?—There is no reason why. — Therefore, the opinion which each man holds is not a sufficient criterion for determining the truth; for also in the case of weights and measures we are not satisfied with the mere appearance, but we have invented a certain standard to test each. In the present case, then, is there no standard higher than opinion? And yet how can it possibly be that matters of the utmost consequence among men should be undeterminable and undiscoverable. — Therefore, there is some standard. — Then why do we not look for it and find it, and when we have found it thenceforth use it unswervingly, not so much as stretching out our finger without it? For this is something, I think, the discovery of which frees from madness those who use only opinion as the measure of all things, so that thenceforward, starting with certain principles that are known and clearly discriminated, we may use in the judgment of specific cases an organically articulated system of preconceived ideas.

What subject has arisen that we wish to investigate? — Pleasure. 20. — Subject it to the standard, put it into the balance. Should the good be the sort of thing that we can properly have confidence and trust in? — It should. — Can we properly have confidence, then, in something that is insecure? — No. — Pleasure contains no element of security, does it? — No. — Away with it, then, and throw it out of the balance, and drive it far away from the region of things good. But if you are not endowed with keen eyesight and if one balance is not enough for you, bring another. Can one properly feel elated over the good? — Yes. — Can one properly feel elated, then, over the moment’s pleasure? See that you do not say that it is proper; if you do, I shall no longer regard you as a proper person even to have a balance!

And so are matters judged and weighed, if we have the standards ready with which to test them; and the task of philosophy is this — to examine and to establish the standards; but to go ahead and use them after they have become known is the task of the good and excellent man.

XII: Upon the art of argumentation.

What a man ought to learn before he will know how to conduct an argument has been precisely defined by the philosophers of our school; but as to the proper use of what we have learned we are still utterly inexperienced. At all events, give to anyone of us you please some layman with whom to carry on an argument; he will find no way of dealing with him, but after moving the man a little, in case the latter thwarts him, our man gives up trying to handle him, and thereafter either reviles him, or laughs him to scorn, and remarks, “He is a mere layman; it is impossible to do anything with him.” But the real guide, whenever he finds a person going astray, leads him back to the right road, instead of leaving him with a scornful laugh or an insult. So also do you show him the truth and you will see that he follows. But so long as you do not show him the truth, do not laugh him to scorn, but rather recognize your own incapacity.

5. How did Socrates act? He used to force the man who was arguing with him to be his witness, and never needed any other witness. That is why he could say, “I can dispense with all the others, and am always satisfied to have my fellow-disputant for a witness; and the votes of the rest I do not take, but only that of my fellow-disputant.” For he used to make so clear the consequences which followed from the concepts, that absolutely everyone realized the contradiction involved and gave up the battle. “And so does the man who feels envy rejoice in it?” — “Not at all; but he experiences pain rather than joy.” (By the contradiction in terms he has moved the other party to the argument.) “Very well, does envy seem to you to be feeling of pain at evils? And yet what envy is there of evils?” (Consequently, he has made his opponent say that envy is a feeling of pain at good things.) “Very well, would a man feel envy about matters that did not concern him in the least?” — “Not at all.” And so he filled out and articulated the concept, and after that went his way; he did not start in by saying, “Define envy for me,” and then, when the other had defined it, remark, “That is a bad definition you have made, for the definition term does not fit the subject defined.” 10. Those are technical terms, and for that reason wearisome to the layman and hard for him to follow, and yet we are unable to dispense with them. But as to terms which the layman could himself follow, and so, by the assistance of his own external impressions, be able to accept or reject some proposition — we are absolutely unable to move him by their use. The result is that, recognizing this incapacity of ours, we naturally refrain from attempting the matter, those of us, I mean, who are at all cautious. But the rash multitude of men, when once they have let themselves in for something of this sort, get confused themselves and confuse others, and finally, after reviling their opponents and being themselves reviled, they walk away.

Now this was the first and most characteristic thing about Socrates, that he never got wrought up during an argument, never used any term of abuse or insolence, but endured the abuse of others, and put an end to strife. 15. If you wish to know how great was the faculty he had in this field, read the Symposium of Xenophon, and you will see how many cases of strife he settled. Therefore, and with good reason, among the poets also very high praise has been accorded to the following sentiment:

“Soon doth he shrewdly make an end of a quarrel though weighty.”

Well, what then? Nowadays this activity is not a very safe one, and especially so in Rome. For the man who engages in it will clearly be under obligation not to do it in a corner, but he must go up to some rich person of consular rank, if it so chance, and ask him, “You there, can you tell to whose care you have entrusted your horses?” “I can, indeed,” answers the man. “Is it, then, some chance comer, a man who knows nothing about the care of horses?” “Not at all.” “And what then? Can you tell me to whom you have entrusted your gold, or your silver, or your clothing?” “I have not entrusted these, either, to a chance comer,“ ”And have you ever thought about entrusting your body to someone to look after it?” “Why, certainly.” “And, of course, he too is a man of special skill in the art of physical training, or medicine, is he not?” “Yes, indeed.” 20. “Are these your most valuable possessions, or have you something else that is better than all of them?” “Just what do you mean?” “That, by Zeus, which utilizes these other things, and puts each of them to the test, and exercises deliberation?” “Ah so, you are talking about my soul, are you?” “You have understood me aright, for it is precisely this that I am talking about.” “By Zeus, I regard this as far and away the most valuable of all my possessions.” “Can you, then, tell in what way you have taken care of your soul? For it is not to be supposed that as wise a man as yourself and one so honored in the city is recklessly and at random allowing the very best of his possessions to go to ruin through neglect.” “Certainly not.” “But have you yourself taken care of that possession? Did you learn how to take care of it from somebody else, or did you discover how yourself?” Then comes the danger that first he will say, ”What is that to you, good sir? Are you my master?” and after that, if you persist in annoying him, that he will lift his fist and give you a blow. 25. This was a pursuit that I too was very fond of once upon a time, before I fell to my present estate.

XIII: Of anxiety.

When I see a man in anxiety, I say to myself, What can it be that this fellow wants? For if he did not want something that was outside of his control, how could he still remain in anxiety? That is why the citharoede when singing all alone shows no anxiety, but does so when he enters the theater, even though he has a very beautiful voice and plays the cithara admirably; for he does not wish merely to sing well, but also to win applause, and that is no longer under his control. Accordingly, where he has skill, there he shows confidence. Set before him any layman that you please, and the musician pays no attention to him; but in a matter of which he has no knowledge, and which he has never studied, there he is in anxiety. What is the meaning of this? Why, he simply does not know what a crowd is, or the applause of a crowd; to be sure, he has learned how to strike the lowest and the highest strings on the cithara, but what the praise of the multitude is, and what function it has in life, that he neither knows nor has studied. 5. Hence he must needs tremble and turn pale.

Now then, I cannot say that the man is not a citharoede, when I see anyone in a state of fear, but I can say something else of him, and, indeed, not one thing only, but a number of things. And first of all, I call him a stranger and say: This man does not know where in the world he is, but though he has been living here so long a time, he is ignorant of the laws of the city and its customs, what he is allowed to do and what he is not allowed to do. Nay more, he has never even called in a lawyer to tell him and explain to him what are the usages conformable with law; yet he does not write a will without knowing how he ought to write it or else calling in an expert, nor does he just casually affix his seal to a bond or give a written guarantee; but without the services of a lawyer he exercises desire and aversion and choice and design and purpose. How do I mean “without the services of a lawyer”? Why, he does not know that he is wishing for things that are not vouchsafed him, and wishing to avoid the inevitable, and he does not know either what is his own or what is another’s. Did he but know, he would never feel hindered, never constrained, would not be anxious. How could he? Is any man in fear about things that are not evil? — No. — What then? Is he in fear about things that are evil, indeed, but that are in his own power to prevent? — Not at all. 10. — If, then, things indifferent are neither good nor bad, but all matters of moral purpose are under our control, and no man can either take them away from us, or bring upon us such of them as we do not wish, what room is there left for anxiety? Yet we are anxious about our wretched body, about our trifling estate, about what Caesar will think, but are anxious about none of the things that are within us. We are not anxious about not conceiving a false opinion, are we? — No, for that is under my control. — Or about making a choice contrary to nature? — No, not about this, either. — Then, whenever you see a man looking pale, just as the physician judging from the complexion says, “This mans spleen is affected, and this man’s liver,” so do you also say, “This man’s desire and aversion are affected, he is not getting along well, he is feverish.” For there is nothing else that changes a man’s complexion, or makes him tremble, or his teeth to chatter, or to

“Shift from knee to knee and rest on either foot.”

That is why Zeno was not anxious when he was about to meet Antigonus; for over none of the things that Zeno regarded highly did Antigonus have power, and what Antigonus did have power over Zeno cared nothing about. 15. But Antigonus was anxious when he was about to meet Zeno, and very naturally so; for he wanted to please him, and that lay outside of his control; yet Zeno did not care about pleasing him, any more than any other artist cares about pleasing one who has no knowledge of his art.

Do I care to please you? What do I gain thereby? For do you know the standards according to which man is judged by man? Have you been concerned to know what a good man is, and what an evil man, and how each becomes what he is? Why, then, are you not a good man yourself? — How do you make out, he answers, that I am not a good man? — Why, because no good man grieves or groans, no good man laments, no good man turns pale and trembles, or asks, “How will he receive me? How will he listen to me?” You slave! He will receive you and listen to you as seems best to him. Why, then, are you concerned about things that are not your own? Now is it not his own fault if he gives a bad reception to what you have to say? — Of course. — Is it possible for one man to make the mistake and yet another suffer the harm? — No. — Why, then, are you anxious over what is not your own? — That is all very well, but I am anxious over how I shall speak to him. — What, are you not privileged to speak to him as you please? — Yes, but I am afraid that I shall be disconcerted. 20. — You are not afraid of being disconcerted when you are about to write the name Dio, are you? — No, not at all. — What is the reason? Is it not that you have practiced writing? — Yes, of course. — What then? If you were about to read something, would you not feel the same way about it? — Quite the same. — What is the reason? Why, because every art has an element of strength and confidence inside its own field. Have you, then, not practiced speaking? And what else did you practice in your school? — Syllogisms and arguments involving equivocal premises. — To what end? Was it not to enable you to conduct an argument skillfully? And does not “skillfully” mean seasonably and securely and intelligently, and, more than that, without making mistakes and without embarrassment, and, in addition to all this, with confidence? — Surely. — Well then, if you are on horseback and have ridden out upon the plain against a man who is on foot, are you in anxiety, assuming that you are in practice and the other is not? — Yes, that is all very well, but Caesar has authority to put me to death. — Then tell the truth, wretch, and do not brag, nor claim to be a philosopher, nor fail to recognize your masters; but as long as you let them have this hold on you through your body, follow everyone who is stronger than you are. But Socrates used to practice speaking to some purpose — Socrates, who discoursed as he did to the Tyrants, to his judges, and in the prison. Diogenes had practiced speaking — Diogenes, who talked to Alexander as he did, to Philip, to the pirates, to the man who had bought him … 25. [Leave such matters] to those who are seriously interested in them, to the brave; but do you walk away to your own concerns and never depart from them again; go into your corner and sit down, and spin syllogisms and propound them to others:

“In thee the State hath found no leader true.”

XIV: To Naso.

Once when a certain Roman citizen accompanied by his son had come in and was listening to one of his readings, Epictetus said: This is the style of my teaching, and then lapsed into silence. But when the other requested to know what came next, he replied: Instruction in the technique of any art is boring to the layman who has had no experience in it. Now the products of the arts show immediately their use toward the purpose for which they are made, and most of them possess also a certain attractiveness and charm. For example, to stand by and watch the process by which a shoemaker learns his trade is, indeed, not pleasant, yet the shoe is useful and not an unpleasant thing to look at either. 5. And the process of education in the case of a carpenter is especially tiresome to the layman who happens to be watching, but the work which the carpenter does shows the use of his art. You will find the same much more true in the case of music; for if you are standing by when someone is taking a lesson, the process of instruction will strike you as the most unpleasant of all, yet the results of music are sweet and pleasing to the ear of the layman.

So also in our own case, we picture the work of the philosopher to be something like this: He should bring his own will into harmony with what happens, so that neither anything that happens happens against our will, nor anything that fails to happen fails to happen when we wish it to happen. The result of this for those who have so ordered the work of philosophy is that in desire they are not disappointed, and in aversion they do not fall into what they would avoid; that each person passes his life to himself, free from pain, fear, and perturbation, at the same time maintaining with his associates both the natural and the acquired relationships, those namely of son, father, brother, citizen, wife, neighbor, fellow-traveler, ruler, and subject.

Something like this is our picture of the work of the philosopher. The next thing after this is that we seek the means of achieving it. 10. We see, then, that the carpenter becomes a carpenter by first learning something, the helmsman becomes a helmsman by first learning something. May it not be, then, that in our case also it is not sufficient to wish to become noble and good, but that we are under the necessity of learning something first? We seek, then, what this is. Now the philosophers say that the first thing we must learn is this: That there is a God, and that He provides for the cosmos, and that it is impossible for a man to conceal from Him, not merely his actions, but even his purposes and his thoughts. Next we must learn what the gods are like; for whatever their character is discovered to be, the man who is going to please and obey them must endeavor as best he can to resemble them. If the deity is faithful, he also must be faithful; if free, he also must be free; if beneficent, he also must be beneficent; if high-minded, he also must be high-minded, and so forth; therefore, in everything he says and does, he must act as an imitator of God.

Where, then, ought I to start? — If you enter upon this task, I will say that in the first place you ought to understand the meaning of terms. 15. — So you imply that I do not now understand the meaning of terms? — You do not. — How comes it, then, that I use them? — Why, you use them as the illiterate use written speech, as the cattle use external impressions; for use is one thing, and understanding another. But if you think you understand terms, propose any term you please, and let us put ourselves to the test, to see whether we understand it. — But it is unpleasant to be subjected to an examination when one is already somewhat advanced in years, and, if it so chance, has served his three campaigns. — I realize that myself. For now you have come to me like a man who stood in need of nothing. But what could anyone even imagine you to be in need of? You are rich, you have children, possibly also a wife, and many slaves; Caesar knows you, you have many friends in Rome, you perform the duties incumbent upon you, and when a man has done you either good or harm you know how to pay him back in kind. What do you still lack? If, therefore, I show you that what you lack are things most necessary and important for happiness, and that hitherto you have devoted your attention to everything but what was appropriate for you to do, and if I add the colophon, saying: You know neither what God is, nor what man is, nor what good, nor what evil is — 20. if I say that you are ignorant of these other matters you may possibly endure that; but if I say that you do not understand your own self, how can you possibly bear with me, and endure and abide my questioning? You cannot do so at all, but immediately you go away offended. And yet what harm have I done you? None at all, unless the mirror also does harm to the ugly man by showing him what he looks like; unless the physician insults the patient, when he says to him, “Man, you think there is nothing the matter with you; but you have a fever; fast today and drink only water”; and no one says, “What dreadful insolence!” Yet if you tell a man, “Your desires are feverish, your attempts to avoid things are humiliating, your purposes are inconsistent, your choices are out of harmony with your nature, your conceptions are hit-or-miss and false,” why, immediately he walks out and says, “He insulted me.”

Our position is like that of those who attend a fair. Cattle and oxen are brought there to be sold, and most men engage in buying and selling, while there are only a few who go merely to see the fair, how it is conducted, and why, and who are promoting it, and for what purpose. So it is also in this “fair” of the world in which we live; some persons, like cattle, are interested in nothing but their fodder; for to all of you that concern yourselves with property and lands and slaves and one office or another, all this is nothing but fodder! 25. And few in number are the men who attend the fair because they are fond of the spectacle. “What, then, is the cosmos,” they ask, “and who governs it? No one? Yet how can it be that, while it is impossible for a city or a household to remain even a very short time without someone to govern and care for it, nevertheless this great and beautiful structure should be kept in such orderly arrangement by sheer accident and chance? There must be, therefore, One who governs it. What kind of a being is He, and how does He govern it? And what are we, who have been created by Him, and for what purpose were we created? Do we, then, really have some contact and relation with Him or none at all?” That is the way these few are affected; and thenceforward they have leisure for this one thing only — to study well the “fair” of life before they leave it. With what result, then? They are laughed to scorn by the crowd, quite as in the real fair the mere spectators are laughed at by the traffickers; yes, and if the cattle themselves had any comprehension like ours of what was going on, they too would laugh at those who had wonder and admiration for anything but their fodder!

XV: To those who cling obstinately to the judgments which they have once formed.

Some men, when they hear the following precepts: That one ought to be steadfast, and that the moral purpose is naturally free and not subject to compulsion, while everything else is liable to interference and compulsion, subject to others and not our own — some men, I say, fancy that whenever they have formed a judgment they ought to stand by it immovably. And yet the first requirement is that the judgment formed be a sound one. For I want vigor in the body, but it must be the vigor of the body in a state of health and physical exercise; whereas, if you show me that you possess the vigor of a madman, and boast about it, I will say to you, “Man, look, for someone to cure you. This is not vigor, but feebleness.”

The following is another way in which the minds of those are affected who hear these precepts amiss. For example, a friend of mine for no reason at all made up his mind to starve himself to death. 5. I learned about it when he was already in the third day of his fasting, and went and asked what had happened. — I have decided, he answered. — Very well, but still what was it that induced you to make up your mind? For if your judgment was good, see, we are at your side and ready to help you to make your exit from this life; but if your judgment was irrational, change it. — I must abide by my decisions. — Why, man, what are you about? You mean not all your decisions, but only the right ones. For example, if you are convinced at this moment that it is night, do not change your opinion, if that seems best to you, but abide by it and say that you ought to abide by your decisions! Do you not wish to make your beginning and your foundation firm, that is, to consider whether your decision is sound or unsound, and only after you have done that proceed to rear thereon the structure of your determination and your firm resolve? But if you lay a rotten and crumbling foundation, you cannot rear thereon even a small building, but the bigger and the stronger your superstructure is the more quickly it will fall down. 10. Without any reason you are taking out of this life, to our detriment, a human being who is a familiar friend, a citizen of the same state, both the large state and the small; and then, though in the act of murder, and while engaged in the destruction of a human being that has done no wrong, you say that you “must abide by your decisions”! But if the idea ever entered your head to kill me, would you have to abide by your decisions?

Well, it was hard work to persuade that man; but there are some men of today whom it is impossible to move. So that I feel that I now know what I formerly did not understand — the meaning of the proverb, “A fool you can neither persuade nor break.” God forbid that I should ever have for a friend a wise fool! There is nothing harder to handle. “I have decided,” he says! Why yes, and so have madmen; but the more firm their decision is about what is false, the more hellebore they need. 15. Will you not act like a sick man, and summon a physician? “I am sick, sir; help me. Consider what I ought to do; it is my part to obey you.” So also in the present instance. “I know not what I ought to be doing, but I have come to find out.” Thus one should speak. No, but this is what one hears, “Talk to me about anything else, but on this point I have made my decision.” “Anything else” indeed! Why, what is more important or more to your advantage than to be convinced that it is not sufficient for a man merely to have reached decisions, and to refuse to change? These are the sinews of madness, not health. “If you force me to this, I would gladly die.” What for, man? What has happened? “I have decided!” It was fortunate for me that you did not decide to kill me! Or again, another says, “I take no money for my services.” Why so? “Because I have decided.” Rest assured that there is nothing to prevent you from some day turning irrationally to taking money for your services, and that with the same vehemence with which you now refuse to take it, and then saying again, “I have decided”; 20. precisely as in a diseased body, suffering from a flux, the flux inclines now in this direction and now in that. Such is also the sick mind; it is uncertain which way it is inclined, but when vehemence also is added to this inclination and drift, then the evil gets past help and past cure.”

XVI: That we do not practice the application of our judgments about things good and evil.

Wherein lies the good? — In moral purpose. — Wherein lies evil? — In moral purpose. — Wherein lies that which is neither good nor evil? — In the things that lie outside the domain of moral purpose. — Well, what of it? Does any one of us remember these statements outside the classroom? Does any one of us when by himself practice answering facts in the way he answers these questions? “So it is day, is it?” “Yes.” “What then? Is it night?” “No.” “What then? Is the number of the stars even?” “I cannot say.” When you are shown money, have you practiced giving the proper answer, namely, that it is not a good thing? Have you trained yourself in answers of this kind, or merely to answer sophisms? Why, then, are you surprised to find that in the fields in which you have practiced you surpass yourself, but in that in which you have not practiced you remain the same? 5. For why is it that the orator, although he knows that he has composed a good speech, has memorized what he has written and is bringing a pleasing voice to his task, is still anxious despite all that? Because he is not satisfied with the mere practice of oratory. What, then, does he want? He wants to be praised by his audience. Now he has trained himself with a view to being able to practice oratory, but he has not trained himself with reference to praise and blame. For when did he ever hear any one say what praise is, what blame is, and what is the nature of each? What kinds of praise are to be sought, and what kinds of blame are to be avoided? And when did he ever go through this course of training in accordance with these principles? Why, then, are you any longer surprised because he surpasses all others in the field in which he has studied, but in that in which he has not practiced he is no better than the multitude? He is like a citharoede who knows how to play to the harp, sings well, has a beautiful flowing gown, and still trembles when he comes upon the stage; for all that has gone before he knows, but what a crowd is he does not know, nor what the shouting and the scornful laughter of a crowd are. 10. Nay, he does not even know what this anxiety itself is, whether it is something that we can control, or beyond our powers, whether he can stop it or not. That is why, if he is praised, he goes off the stage all puffed up; but if he is laughed to scorn, that poor windbag of his conceit is pricked and flattens out.

We too experience something of the same kind. What do we admire? Externals. What are we in earnest about? About externals. Are we, then, at a loss to know how it comes about that we are subject to fear and anxiety? Why, what else can possibly happen, when we regard impending events as things evil? We cannot help but be in fear, we cannot help but be in anxiety. And then we say, “O Lord God, how may I escape anxiety?” Fool, have you not hands? Did not God make them for you? Sit down now and pray forsooth that the mucus in your nose may not run! Nay, rather wipe your nose and do not blame God! What then? Has he given you nothing that helps in the present case? Has he not given you endurance, has he not given you magnanimity, has he not given you courage? When you have such serviceable hands as these do you still look for someone to wipe your nose? 15. But these virtues we neither practice nor concern ourselves withal. Why, show me one single man who cares how he does something, who is concerned, not with getting something, but with his own action. Who is there that is concerned with his own action while he is walking around? Who, when he is planning, is concerned with the plan itself, and not with getting what he is planning about? And then if he gets it, he is all set up and says, “Yes, indeed, what a fine plan we made! Did I not tell you, brother, that, if there was anything at all in my views, it was impossible for the plan to fall out otherwise?” But if the plan goes the other way, he is humble and wretched, and cannot even find any explanation of what has happened. Who of us ever called in a seer for a case of this kind? Who of us ever slept in a temple for enlightenment about our action? Who? Show me but one, that I may see him, the man that I have long been looking for, the truly noble and gifted man; be he young or old, only show him!

Why, then, do we wonder any longer that, although in material things we are thoroughly experienced, nevertheless in our actions we are dejected, unseemly, worthless, cowardly, unwilling to stand the strain, utter failures one and all? For we have not troubled ourselves about these matters in time past, nor do we even now practice them. Yet if we were afraid, not of death or exile, but of fear itself, then we should practice how not to encounter those things that appear evil to us. 20. But as it is, we are fiery and fluent in the schoolroom, and if some trivial question about one of these points comes up, we are able to pursue the logical consequences; yet drag us into practical application, and you will find us miserable shipwrecked mariners. Let a disturbing thought come to us and you will find out what we have been practicing and for what we have been training! As a result, because of our lack of practice, we are ever going out of our way to heap up terrors and to make them out greater than they actually are. For example, whenever I go to sea, on gazing down into the deep or looking around upon the expanse of waters and seeing no land, I am beside myself, fancying that if I am wrecked I shall have to swallow this whole expanse of waters; but it does not occur to me that three pints are enough. What is it, then, that disturbs me? The expanse of sea? No, but my judgment. Again, when there is an earthquake, I fancy that the whole city is going to fall upon me; what, is not a little stone enough to knock my brains out?

What, then, are the things that weigh upon us and drive us out of our senses? Why, what else but our judgments? For when a man goes hence abandoning the comrades, the places, and the social relations to which he is accustomed, what else is the burden that is weighing him down but a judgment? 25. Children, indeed, when they cry a little because their nurse has left, forget their troubles as soon as they get a cookie. Would you, therefore, have us resemble children? No, by Zeus! For I claim that we should be influenced in this way, not by a cookie, but by true judgments. And what are these? The things which a man ought to practice all day long, without being devoted to what is not his own, either comrade, or place, or gymnasia, nay, not even to his own body; but he should remember the law and keep that before his eyes. And what is the law of God? To guard what is his own, not to lay claim to what is not his own, but to make use of what is given him, and not to yearn for what has not been given; when something is taken away, to give it up readily and without delay, being grateful for the time in which he had the use of it — all this if you do not wish to be crying for your nurse and your mammy! For what difference does it make what object a man has a weakness for and depends upon? In what respect are you superior to the man who weeps for a maid, if you grieve for a trivial gymnasium, a paltry colonnade, a group of youngsters, and that way of spending your time? 30. Someone else comes and grieves because he is no longer going to drink the water of Dirce. What, is the water of the Marcian aqueduct inferior to that of Dirce? “Nay, but I was accustomed to that water.” And you will get accustomed to this in turn. And then, if you become addicted to something of this kind, weep for this too in turn, and try to write a line after the pattern of that of Euripides:

To Nero’s baths and Marcian founts once more.

Behold how tragedy arises, when everyday events befall fools!

“When, then, shall I see Athens once more and the Acropolis?” Poor man, are you not satisfied with what you are seeing every day? Have you anything finer or greater to look at than the sun, the moon, the stars, the whole earth, the sea? And if you really understand Him that governs the cosmos, and bear Him about within you, do you yet yearn for bits of stone and a pretty rock? When, therefore, you are about to leave the sun and the moon, what will you do? Will you sit and cry as little children cry? What was it you did at school? What was it you heard and learned? Why did you record yourself as a philosopher when you might have recorded the truth in these words: “I studied a few introductions, and did some reading in Chrysippus, but I did not even get past the door of a philosopher? 35. Since what part have I in that business in which Socrates, who died so nobly, and so nobly lived, had a part? Or in that in which Diogenes had a part?” Can you imagine one of these men crying or fretting because he is not going to see such-and-such a man, or such-and-such a woman, or to live in Athens or in Corinth, but, if it so happen, in Susa or in Ecbatana? What, does he who is at liberty to leave the banquet when he will, and to play the game no longer, keep on annoying himself by staying? Does he not stay, like children, only as long as he is entertained? Such a man would be likely, forsooth, to endure going into exile for life or the exile of death, if this were his sentence.

Are you not willing, at this late date, like children, to be weaned and to partake of more solid food, and not to cry for mammies and nurses — old wives’ lamentations? 40. “But if I leave, I shall cause those women sorrow?” You cause them sorrow? Not at all, but it will be the same thing that causes sorrow to you yourself — bad judgment. What, then, can you do? Get rid of that judgment, and, if they do well, they will themselves get rid of their judgment; otherwise, they will come to grief and have only themselves to thank for it. Man, do something desperate, as the expression goes, now if never before, to achieve peace, freedom, and mindedness. Lift up your neck at last like a man escaped from bondage, be bold to look toward God and say, “Use me henceforward for whatever Thou wilt; I am of one mind with Thee; I am Thine; I crave exemption from nothing that seems good in Thy sight; where Thou wilt, lead me; in what raiment Thou wilt, clothe me. Wouldst Thou have me to hold office, or remain in private life; to remain here or go into exile; to be poor or be rich? I will defend all these Thy acts before men; I will show what the true nature of each thing is.” Nay, you will not; sit rather in the house as girls do and wait for your mammy until she feeds you! If Heracles had sat about at home, what would he have amounted to? He would have been Eurystheus and no Heracles. Come, how many acquaintances and friends did he have with him as he went up and down through the whole world? Nay, he had no dearer friend than God. That is why he was believed to be a son of God, and was. It was therefore in obedience to His will that he went about clearing away wickedness and lawlessness. 45. But you are no Heracles, you say, and you cannot clear away the wickedness of other men, nay, nor are you even a Theseus, to clear away the ills of Attica merely. Very well, clear away your own then. From just here, from out your own mind, cast not Procrustes and Sciron, but grief, fear, desire, envy, joy at others’ ills; cast out greed, effeminacy, incontinency. These things you cannot cast out in any other way than by looking to God alone, being specially devoted to Him only, and consecrated to His commands. But if you wish anything else, with lamentation and groaning you will follow that which is stronger than you are, ever seeking outside yourself for peace, and never able to be at peace. For you seek peace where it is not, and neglect to seek it where it is.

XVII: How ought we adjust our preconceptions to individual instances?

What is the first business of one who practices philosophy? To get rid of thinking that one knows; for it is impossible to get a man to begin to learn that which he thinks he knows. However, as we go to the philosophers we all babble hurly-burly about what ought to be done and what ought not, good and evil, fair and foul, and on these grounds assign praise and blame, censure and reprehension, passing judgment on fair and foul practices, and discriminating between them. But what do we go to the philosophers for? To learn what we do not think we know. And what is that? General principles. For some of us want to learn what the philosophers are saying, thinking it will be witty and shrewd, others, because they wish to profit thereby. 5. But it is absurd to think that when a man wishes to learn one thing he will actually learn something else, or, in short, that a man will make progress in anything without learning it. But the multitude are under the same misapprehension as was Theopompus, the orator, who actually censures Plato for wishing to define every term. Well, what does he say? “Did none of us before your time ever use the words ‘good’ or ‘just’? Or, without understanding what each of these terms severally mean, did we merely utter them as vague and empty sounds?” Why, who tells you, Theopompus, that we did not have a natural conception of each term, that is, a preconceived idea of it? But it is impossible to adjust our preconceived ideas to the appropriate facts without having first systematized them and having raised precisely this question — what particular fact is to be classified under each preconception. Suppose, for example, that you make the same sort of remark to the physicians: “Why, who among us did not use terms ‘healthy’ and ‘diseased’ before Hippocrates was born? Or were we merely making an empty noise with these sounds?" For, of course, we have a certain preconception of the idea “healthy.” But we are unable to apply it. That is why one person says, “Keep abstaining from food,” and another, “Give nourishment”; again, one says, “Cut a vein,” and another says, “Use the cupping-glass.” What is the reason? Is it really anything but the fact that a person is unable properly to apply the preconceived idea of “healthy” to the specific instances?

10. So it stands here also, in the affairs of life. Who among us has not upon his lips the words “good” and “evil,” “advantageous” and “disadvantageous”? For who among us does not have a preconceived idea of each of these terms? Very well, is it fitted into a system and complete? Prove that it is. “How shall I prove it?” Apply it properly to specific facts. To start with, Plato classifies definitions under the preconception “the useful,” but you classify them under that of “the useless.” Is it, then, possible for both of you to be right? How can that be? Does not one man apply his preconceived idea of “the good” to the fact of wealth, while another does not? And another to that of pleasure, and yet another to that of health? Indeed, to sum up the whole matter, if all of us who have these terms upon our lips possess no mere empty knowledge of each one severally, and do not need to devote any pains to the systematic arrangement of our preconceived ideas, why do we disagree, why fight, why blame one another?

And yet what need is there for me to bring forward now our strife with one another and make mention of that? Take your own case; if you apply properly your preconceived ideas, why are you troubled, why are you hampered? 15. Let us pass by for the moment the second field of study — that which has to do with our choices and the discussion of what is our duty in regard to them. Let us pass by also the third — that which has to do with our assents. I make you a present of all this. Let us confine our attention to the first field, one which allows an almost palpable proof that you do not properly apply your preconceived ideas. Do you at this moment desire what is possible in general and what is possible for you in particular? If so, why are you hampered? Why are you troubled? Are you not at this moment trying to escape what is inevitable? If so, why do you fall into any trouble, why are you unfortunate? Why is it that when you want something it does not happen, and when you do not want it, it does happen? For this is the strongest proof of trouble and misfortune. I want something, and it does not happen; and what creature is more wretched than I? I do not want something, and it does happen; and what creature is more wretched than I?

Medea, for example, because she could not endure this, came to the point of killing her children. In this respect at least hers was the act of a great spirit. For she had the proper conception of what it means for anyone’s wishes not to come true. 20. “Very well, then,” says she, “in these circumstances I shall take vengeance upon the man who has wronged and insulted me. Yet what good do I get out of his being in such an evil plight? How can that be accomplished? I kill my children. But I shall be punishing myself also. Yet what do I care?” This is the outbursting of a soul of great force. For she did not know where the power lies to do what we wish — that we cannot get this from outside ourselves, nor by disturbing and deranging things. Give up wanting to keep your husband, and nothing of what you want fails to happen. Give up wanting him to live with you at any cost. Give up wanting to remain in Corinth, and, in a word, give up wanting anything but what God wants. And who will prevent you, who will compel you? No one, any more than anyone prevents or compels Zeus.

When you have such a leader as Zeus and identify your wishes and your desires with His, why are you still afraid that you will fail? Give to poverty and to wealth your aversion and your desire: you will fail to get what you wish, and you will fall into what you would avoid. Give them to health; you will come to grief; so also if you give them to offices, honors, country, friends, children, in short to anything that lies outside the domain of moral purpose. 25. But give them to Zeus and the other gods; entrust them to their keeping, let them exercise the control; let your desire and your aversion be ranged on their side — and how can you be troubled any longer? But if you show envy, wretched man, and pity, and jealousy, and timidity, and never let a day pass without bewailing yourself and the gods, how can you continue to say that you have been educated? What kind of education, man, do you mean? Because you have worked on syllogisms, and arguments with equivocal premises? Will you not unlearn all this, if that be possible, and begin at the beginning, realizing that hitherto you have not even touched the matter; and for the future, beginning at this point, add to your foundations that which comes next in order — provision that nothing shall be that you do not wish, and that nothing shall fail to be that you do wish?

Give me but one young man who has come to school with this purpose in view, who has become an athlete in this activity, saying, “As for me, let everything else go; I am satisfied if I shall be free to live untrammelled and untroubled, to hold up my neck in the face of facts like a free man, and to look up to heaven as a friend of God, without fear of what may possibly happen.” 30. Let one of you show me such a person, so that I can say to him: Enter, young man, into your own, for it is your destiny to adorn philosophy, yours are these possessions, yours these books, yours these discourses. Then, when he has worked his way through this first field of study and mastered it like an athlete, let him come to me again and say, “I want, it is true, to be tranquil and free from turmoil, but I want also, as a god-fearing man, a philosopher and a diligent student, to know what is my duty toward the gods, toward parents, toward brothers, toward my country, toward strangers." Advance now to the second field of study; this also is yours. “Yes, but I have already studied this second field. What I wanted was to be secure and unshaken, and that not merely in my waking hours, but also when asleep, and drunk, and melancholy-mad.” Man, you are a god, great are the designs you cherish!

No, that is not the way it goes, but someone says, “I wish to know what Chrysippus means in his treatise on The Liar.” If that is your design, go hang, you wretch! And what good will knowing that do you? With sorrow you will read the whole treatise, and with trembling you will talk about it to others. 35. This is the way you also, my hearers, behave. You say: “Shall I read aloud to you, brother, and you to me?” “Man, you write wonderfully.” And again, “You have a great gift for writing in the style of Xenophon,” “You for that of Plato,” “You for that of Antisthenes.” And then, when you have told dreams to one another, you go back to the same things again; you have exactly the same desires as before, the same aversions, in the same way you make your choices, your designs, and your purposes, you pray for the same things and are interested in the same things. In the second place, you do not even look for anybody to give you advice, but you are annoyed if you are told what I am telling you. Again, you say: “He is an old man without the milk of human kindness in him; he did not weep when I left, nor say, ‘I fear you are going into a very difficult situation, my son; if you come through safely, I will light lamps.’” Is this what a man with the milk of human kindness in him would say? It will be a great piece of good luck for a person like you to come through safely, a thing worth lighting lamps to celebrate! Surely you ought to be free from death and free from disease!

It is this conceit of fancying that we know something useful, that, as I have said, we ought to cast aside before we come to philosophy, as we do in the case of geometry and music. 40. Otherwise we shall never even come near to making progress, even if we go through all the Introductions and the Treatises of Chrysippus, with those of Antipater and Archedemus thrown in!

XVIII: How must we struggle against our external impressions?

Every habit and faculty is confirmed and strengthened by the corresponding actions, that of walking by walking, that of running by running. If you wish to be a good reader, read; if you wish to be a good writer, write. If you should give up reading for thirty days one after the other, and be engaged in something else, you will know what happens. So also if you lie in bed for ten days, get up and try to take a rather long walk, and you will see how wobbly your legs are. In general, therefore, if you want to do something, make a habit of it; if you want not to do something, refrain from doing it, and accustom yourself to something else instead. 5. The same principle holds true in the affairs of the mind also; when you are angry, you may be sure, not merely that this evil has befallen you, but also that you have strengthened the habit, and have, as it were, added fuel to the flame. When you have yielded to someone in carnal intercourse, do not count merely this one defeat, but count also the fact that you have fed your incontinence, you have given it additional strength. For it is inevitable that some habits and faculties should, in consequence of the corresponding actions, spring up, though they did not exist before, and that others which were already there should be intensified and made strong.

In this way, without doubt, the infirmities of our mind and character spring up, as the philosophers say. For when once you conceive a desire for money, if reason be applied to bring you to a realization of the evil, both the passion is stilled and our governing principle is restored to its original authority; but if you do not apply a remedy, your governing principle does not revert to its previous condition, but, on being aroused again by the corresponding external impression, it bursts into the flame of desire more quickly than it did before. And if this happens over and over again, the next stage is that a callousness results and the infirmity strengthens the avarice. 10. For the man who has had a fever, and then recovered, is not the same as he was before the fever, unless he has experienced a complete cure. Something like this happens also with the affections of the mind. Certain imprints and weals are left behind on the mind, and unless a man erases them perfectly, the next time he is scourged upon the old scars, he has weals no longer but wounds. If, therefore, you wish not to be hot-tempered, do not feed your habit, set before it nothing on which it can grow. As the first step, keep quiet and count the days on which you have not been angry. “I used to be angry every day, after that every other day, then every third, and then every fourth day.” If you go as much as thirty days without a fit of anger, sacrifice to God. For the habit is first weakened and then utterly destroyed. “Today I was not grieved” (and so the next day, and thereafter for two or three months); “but I was on my guard when certain things happened that were capable of provoking grief.” Know that things are going splendidly with you.

15. Today when I saw a handsome lad or a handsome woman I did not say to myself, “Would that a man might sleep with her,” and “Her husband is a happy man,” for the man who uses the expression “happy” of the husband means “Happy is the adulterer” also; I do not even picture to myself the next scene — the woman herself in my presence, disrobing and lying down by my side. I pat myself on the head and say. Well done, Epictetus, you have solved a clever problem, one much more clever than the so-called “Master”: But when the wench is not only willing, but nods to me and sends for me, yes, and when she even lays hold upon me and snuggles up to me, if I still hold aloof and conquer, this has become a solved problem greater than The Liar, and The Quiescent. On this score a man has a right to be proud indeed, but not about his proposing “The Master” problem.

How, then, may this be done? Make it your wish finally to satisfy your own self, make it your wish to appear beautiful in the sight of God. Set your desire upon becoming pure in the presence of your pure self and of God. 20. “Then when an external impression of that sort comes suddenly upon you,” says Plato, “go and offer an expiatory sacrifice, go and make offering as a suppliant to the sanctuaries of the gods who avert evil”; it is enough if you only withdraw “to the society of the good and excellent men,” and set yourself to comparing your conduct with theirs, whether you take as your model one of the living, or one of the dead. Go to Socrates and mark him as he lies down beside Alcibiades and makes light of his youthful beauty. Bethink yourself how great a victory he once won and knew it himself, like an Olympic victory, and what his rank was, counting in order from Heracles; so that, by the gods, one might justly greet him with the salutation, “Hail, wondrous man!” for he was victor over something more than these rotten boxers and pancratiasts, and the gladiators who resemble them. If you confront your external impression with such thoughts, you will overcome it, and not be carried away by it. But, to begin with, be not swept off your feet, I beseech you, by the vividness of the impression, but say, “Wait for me a little, O impression; allow me to see who you are, and what you are an impression of; allow me to put you to the test.” 25. And after that, do not suffer it to lead you on by picturing to you what will follow. Otherwise, it will take possession of you and go off with you wherever it will. But do you rather introduce and set over against it some fair and noble impression, and throw out this filthy one. And if you form the habit of taking such exercises, you will see what mighty shoulders you develop, what sinews, what vigor; but as it is, you have merely your philosophic quibbles, and nothing more.

The man who exercises himself against such external impressions is the true athlete in training. Hold, unhappy man; be not swept along with your impressions! Great is the struggle, divine the task; the prize is a kingdom, freedom, serenity, peace. Remember God; call upon Him to help you and stand by your side, just as voyagers, in a storm, call upon the Dioscuri. For what storm is greater than that stirred up by powerful impressions which unseat the reason? As for the storm itself, what else is it but an external impression? 30. To prove this, just take away the fear of death, and then bring on as much thunder and lightning as you please, and you will realize how great is the calm, how fair the weather, in your governing principle. But if you be once defeated and say that by and by you will overcome, and then a second time do the same thing, know that at last you will be in so wretched a state and so weak that by and by you will not so much as notice that you are doing wrong, but you will even begin to offer arguments in justification of your conduct; and then you will confirm the truth of the saying of Hesiod:

Forever with misfortunes dire must he who loiters cope.

XIX: To those who take up the teachings of the philosophers only to talk about them?

The “Master argument” appears to have been propounded on the strength of some such principles as the following. Since there is a general contradiction with one another between these three propositions, to wit: (1) Everything true as an event in the past is necessary, and (2) An impossible does not follow a possible, and (3) What is not true now and never will be, is nevertheless possible. Diodorus, realizing this contradiction, used the plausibility of the first two propositions to establish the principle, Nothing is possible which is neither true now nor ever will be. But one man will maintain, among the possible combinations of two at a time, the following, namely, (3) Something is possible, which is not true now and never will be, and (2) An impossible does not follow a possible; yet he will not grant the third proposition (1), Everything true as an event in the past is necessary, which is what Cleanthes and his group, whom Antipater has stoutly supported, seem to think. But others will maintain the other two propositions, (3) A thing is possible which is not true now and never will be, and (1) Everything true as an event in the past is necessary, and then will assert that, An impossible does follow a possible.[3] But there is no way by which one can maintain all three of these propositions, because of their mutual contradiction.

5. If, then, someone asks me, “But which pair of these do you yourself maintain?” I shall answer him that I do not know; but I have received the following account: Diodorus used to maintain one pair, Panthoides and his group, I believe, and Cleanthes another, and Chrysippus and his group the third. “What, then, is your opinion?” I do not know, and I was not made for this purpose — to test my own external impression upon the subject, to compare the statements of others, and to form a judgment of my own. For this reason I am no better than the grammarian. When asked, “Who was the father of Hector?” he replied, “Priam.” “Who were his brothers?” “Alexander and Deiphobus.” “And who was their mother?” “Hecuba. This is the account that I have received.” “From whom?” “From Homer,” he said. “And Hellanicus also, I believe, writes about these same matters, and possibly others like him.” And so it is with me about the “Master Argument”; what further have I to say about it? But if I am a vain person, I can astonish the company, especially at a banquet, by enumerating those who have written on the subject. “Chrysippus also has written admirably on this topic in the first book of his treatise On Things Possible. And Cleanthes has written a special work on the subject, and Archedemus. Antipater also has written, not only in his book On Things Possible, but also a separate monograph in his discussion of The Master Argument. 10. Have you not read the treatise?” “I have not read it.” “Then read it.” And what good will it do him? He will be more trifling and tiresome than he is already. You, for example, what have you gained by the reading of it? What judgment have you formed on the subject? Nay, you will tell us of Helen, and Priam, and the island of Calypso which never was and never will be!

And in the field of literary history, indeed, it is of no great consequence that you master the received account without having formed any judgment of your own. But in questions of conduct we suffer from this fault much more than we do in literary matters. “Tell me about things good and evil.” “Listen:

The wind that blew me from the Trojan shore
Brought me to the Ciconians.

Of things some are good, others bad, and yet others indifferent. Now the virtues and everything that shares in them are good, while vices and everything that shares in vice are evil, and what falls in between these, namely, wealth, health, life, death, pleasures, pain, are indifferent.” “Where do you get that knowledge?” “Hellanicus says so in his History of Egypt.” For what difference does it make whether you say this, or that Diogenes says so in his Treatise on Ethics, or Chrysippus, or Cleanthes? Have you, then, tested any of these statements and have you formed your own judgment upon them? 15. Show me how you are in the habit of conducting yourself in a storm on board ship. Do you bear in mind this logical distinction between good and evil when the sail crackles, and you have screamed and some fellow-passenger, untimely humorous, comes up and says, “Tell me, I beseech you by the gods, just what you were saying a little while ago. Is it a vice to suffer shipwreck? Is there any vice in that?” Will you not pick up a piece of wood and cudgel him? “What have we to do with you, fellow? We are perishing and you come and crack jokes!” And if Caesar sends for you to answer an accusation, do you bear in mind this distinction? Suppose someone approaches you when you are going in pale and trembling, and says, “Why are you trembling, fellow? What is the affair that concerns you? Does Caesar inside the palace bestow virtue and vice upon those who appear before him?” “Why do you also make mock of me and add to my other ills?” “But yet, philosopher, tell me, why are you trembling? Is not the danger death, or prison, or bodily pain, or exile, or disrepute? Why, what else can it be? Is it a vice at all, or anything that shares in vice? What was it, then, that you used to call these things?” “What have I to do with you, fellow? My own evils are enough for me” And in that you are right. For your own evils art enough for you — your baseness, your cowardice, the bragging that you indulged in when you were sitting in the lecture room. Why did you pride yourself upon things that were not your own? Why did you call yourself a Stoic?

20. Observe yourselves thus in your actions and you will find out to what sect of the philosophers you belong. You will find that most of you are Epicureans, some few Peripatetics, but these without any backbone; for wherein do you in fact show that you consider virtue equal to all things else, or even superior? But as for a Stoic, show me one if you can! Where, or how? Nay, but you can show me thousands who recite the petty arguments of the Stoics. Yes, but do these same men recite the petty arguments of the Epicureans any less well? Do they not handle with the same precision the petty arguments of the Peripatetics also? Who, then, is a Stoic? As we call a statue “Pheidian” that has been fashioned according to the art of Pheidias, in that sense show me a man fashioned according to the judgments which he utters. Show me a man who though sick is happy, though in danger is happy, though dying is happy, though condemned to exile is happy, though in disrepute is happy. Show him! By the gods, I would fain see a Stoic! 25. But you cannot show me a man completely so fashioned; then show me at least one who is becoming so fashioned, one who has begun to tend in that direction; do me this favor; do not begrudge an old man the sight of that spectacle which to this very day I have never seen. Do you fancy that you are going to show me the Zeus or the Athena of Pheidias, a creation of ivory and gold? Let one of you show me the soul of a man who wishes to be of one mind with God, and never again to blame either God or man, to fail in nothing that he would achieve, to fall into nothing that he would avoid, to be free from anger, envy and jealousy — but why use circumlocutions? — a man who has set his heart upon changing from a man into a god, and although he is still in this paltry body of death, does none the less have his purpose set upon fellowship with Zeus. Show him to me! But you cannot. Why, then, do you mock your own selves and cheat everybody else? And why do you put on a guise that is not your own and walk about as veritable thieves and robbers who have stolen these designations and properties that in no sense belong to you?

And so now I am your teacher, and you are being taught in my school. And my purpose is this — to make of you a perfect work, secure against restraint, compulsion, and hindrance, free, prosperous, happy, looking to God in everything both small and great; and you are here with the purpose of learning and practicing all this. 30. Why, then, do you not complete the work, if it is true that you on your part have the right kind of purpose and I on my part, in addition to the purpose, have the right kind of preparation? What is it that is lacking? When I see a craftsman who has material lying ready at hand, I look for the finished product. Here also, then, is the craftsman, and here is the material; what do we yet lack? Cannot the matter be taught? It can. Is it, then, not under our control? Nay, it is the only thing in the whole world that is under our control. Wealth is not under our control, nor health, nor fame, nor, in a word, anything else except the right use of external impressions. This alone is by nature secure against restraint and hindrance. Why, then, do you not finish the work? Tell me the reason. For it lies either in me, or in you, or in the nature of the thing. The thing itself is possible and is the only thing that is under our control. Consequently, then, the fault lies either in me, or in you, or, what is nearer the truth, in us both. What then? Would you like to have us at last begin to introduce here a purpose such as I have described? Let us let bygones be bygones. Only let us begin, and, take my word for it, you shall see.

XX: Against Epicureans and Academics.

The propositions which are true and evident must of necessity be employed even by those who contradict them; and one might consider as perhaps the strongest proof of a proposition being evident the fact that even the man who contradicts it finds himself obliged at the same time to employ it. For example, if a man should contradict the proposition that there is a universal statement which is true, it is clear that he must assert the contrary, and say: No universal statement is true. Slave, this is not true, either. For what else does this assertion amount to than: If a statement is universal, it is false? Again, if a man comes forward and says, “I would have you know that nothing is knowable, but that everything is uncertain”; or if someone else says, “Believe me, and it will be to your advantage, when I say: One ought not to believe a man at all”; or again, someone else, “Learn from me, man, that it is impossible to learn anything; 5. it is I who tell you this and I will prove it to you, if you wish,” what difference is there between these persons and — whom shall I say? — those who call themselves Academics? “O men,” say the Academics, “give your assent to the statement that no man assents to any statement; believe us when we say that no man can believe anybody.”

So also Epicurus, when he wishes to do away with the natural fellowship of men with one another, at the same time makes use of the very principle that he is doing away with. For what does he say? “Be not deceived, men, nor led astray, nor mistaken; there is no natural fellowship with one another among rational beings; believe me. Those who say the contrary are deceiving you and leading you astray with false reasons.” Why do you care, then? Allow us to be deceived. Will you fare any the worse, if all the rest of us are persuaded that we do have a natural fellowship with one another, and that we ought by all means to guard it? Nay, your position will be much better and safer. Man, why do you worry about us, why keep vigil on our account, why light your lamp, why rise betimes, why write such big books? Is it to keep one or another of us from being deceived into the belief that the gods care for men, or is it to keep one or another of us from supposing that the nature of the good is other than pleasure? 10. For if this is so, off to your couch and sleep, and lead the life of a worm, of which you have judged yourself worthy; eat and drink and copulate and defecate and snore. What do you care how the rest of mankind will think about these matters, or whether their ideas be sound or not? For what have you to do with us? Come, do you interest yourself in sheep because they allow themselves to be shorn by us, and milked, and finally to be butchered and cut up? Would it not be desirable if men could be charmed and bewitched into slumber by the Stoics and allow themselves to be shorn and milked by you and your kind? Is not this something that you ought to have said to your fellow Epicureans only and to have concealed your views from outsiders, taking special pains to persuade them, of all people, that we are by nature born with a sense of fellowship, and that self-control is a good thing, so that everything may be kept for you? Or ought we to maintain this fellowship with some, but not with others? With whom, then, ought we to maintain it? With those who reciprocate by maintaining it with us, or with those who are transgressors of it? And who are greater transgressors of it than you Epicureans who have set up such doctrines?

15. What, then, was it that roused Epicurus from his slumbers and compelled him to write what he did? What else but that which is the strongest thing in men — nature, which draws a man to do her will though he groans and is reluctant? “For,” says she, “since you hold these anti-social opinions, write them down and bequeathe them to others and give up your sleep because of them and become in fact yourself the advocate to denounce your own doctrines.” Shall we speak of Orestes as being pursued by the Furies and roused from his slumbers? But are not the Furies and the Avengers that beset Epicurus more savage? They roused him from sleep and would not let him rest, but compelled him to herald his own miseries, just as madness and wine compel the Galli. Such a powerful and invincible thing is the nature of man. For how can a vine be moved to act, not like a vine, but like an olive, or again an olive to act, not like an olive, but like a vine? It is impossible, inconceivable. Neither, then, is it possible for a man absolutely to lose the affections of a man, and those who cut off their bodily organs are unable to cut off the really important thing — their sexual desires. 20. So with Epicurus: he cut off everything that characterizes a man, the head of a household, a citizen, and a friend, but he did not succeed in cutting off the desires of human beings; for that he could not do, any more than the easy-going Academics are able to cast away or blind their own sense-perceptions, although they have made every effort to do so.

Ah, what a misfortune! A man has received from nature measures and standards for discovering the truth, and then does not go on and take the pains to add to these and to work out additional principles to supply the deficiencies, but does exactly the opposite, endeavoring to take away and destroy whatever faculty he does possess for discovering the truth. What do you say, philosopher? What is your opinion of piety and sanctity? “If you wish, I shall prove that it is good.” By all means, prove it, that our citizens may be converted and may honor the Divine and at last cease to be indifferent about the things that are of supreme importance. “Do you, then, possess the proofs?” I do, thank heaven. “Since, then, you are quite satisfied with all this, hear the contrary: The gods do not exist, and even if they do, they pay no attention to men, nor have we any fellowship with them, and hence this piety and sanctity which the multitude talk about is a lie told by impostors and sophists, or, I swear, by legislators to frighten and restrain evildoers.” Well done, philosopher! You have conferred a service upon our citizens, you have recovered our young men who were already inclining to despise things divine. 25. “What then? Does not all this satisfy you? Learn now how righteousness is nothing, how reverence is folly, how a father is nothing, how a son is nothing.” Well done, philosopher! Keep at it; persuade the young men, that we may have more who feel and speak as you do. It is from principles like these that our well-governed states have grown great! Principles like these have made Sparta what it was! These are the convictions which Lycurgus wrought into the Spartans by his laws and his system of education, namely that neither is slavery base rather than noble, nor freedom noble rather than base! Those who died at Thermopylae died because of these judgments regarding slavery and freedom! And for what principles but these did the men of Athens give up their city? And then those who talk thus marry and beget children and fulfil the duties of citizens and get themselves appointed priests and prophets! Priests and prophets of whom? Of gods that do not exist! And they themselves consult the Pythian priestess — in order to hear lies and to interpret the oracles to others! Oh what monstrous shamelessness and imposture!

Man, what are you doing? You are confuting your own self every day, and are you unwilling to give up these frigid attempts of yours? When you eat, where do you bring your hand? To your mouth, or to your eye? When you take a bath, into what do you step? When did you ever call the pot a plate, or the ladle a spit? If I were slave to one of these men, even if I had to be soundly flogged by him every day, I would torment him. “Boy, throw a little oil into the bath.” I would have thrown a little fish sauce in, and as I left would pour it down on his head. “What does this mean?” “I had an external impression that could not be distinguished from olive oil; indeed, it was altogether like it. I swear by your fortune.” “Here, give me the gruel.” 30. I would have filled a side dish with vinegar and fish sauce and brought it to him. “Did I not ask for the gruel?” “Yes, master; this is gruel.” “Is not this vinegar and fish sauce?” “How so, any more than gruel.” “Take and smell it, take and taste it.” “Well, how do you know, if the senses deceive us?” If I had had three or four fellow-slaves who felt as I did, I would have made him burst with rage and hang himself, or else change his opinion. But as it is, such men are toying with us; they use all the gifts of nature, while in theory doing away with them.

Grateful men indeed and reverential: Why, if nothing else, at least they eat bread every day, and yet have the audacity to say, “We do not know if there is a Demeter, or a Kore, or a Pluto”; not to mention that, although they enjoy night and day, the changes of the year and the stars and the sea and the earth and the co-operation of men, they are not moved in the least by any one of these things, but look merely for a chance to belch out their trivial ”problem,” and after thus exercising their stomach to go off to the bath. But what they are going to say, or what they are going to talk about, or to whom, and what their hearers are going to get out of these things that they are saying, all this has never given them a moment’s concern. I greatly fear that a noble-spirited young man may hear these statements and be influenced by them, or, having been influenced already, may lose all the germs of the nobility which he possessed; 35. that we may be giving an adulterer grounds for brazening out his acts; that some embezzler of public funds may lay hold of a specious plea based upon these theories; that someone who neglects his own parents may gain additional affrontery from them.

What, then, in your opinion is good or bad, base or noble? This or that? What then? Is there any use in arguing further against any of these persons, or giving them a reason, or listening to one of theirs, or trying to convert them? By Zeus, one might much rather hope to convert a filthy degenerate than men who have become so deaf and blind!

XXI: Of inconsistency.

Some of their faults men readily admit, but others not so readily. Now no one will admit that he is foolish or unintelligent, but, quite the contrary, you hear everyone say, “I wish I had as much luck as I have sense.” But they readily admit that they are timid, and say, “I am a bit timid, I admit; but in general you will not find me to be a fool.” A man will not readily admit that he is incontinent, not at all that he is unjust, and will never admit that he is envious or meddlesome; but most men will admit that they are moved by pity. What is the reason for this? The principal reason is confusion of thought and an unwilligness to admit a fault in matters which involve good and evil; but, apart from that, different people are affected by different motives, and, as a rule, they will never admit anything that they conceive to be disgraceful; 5. timidity, for example, they conceive to be an indication of a prudent disposition, and the same is true of pity, but stupidity they conceive to be a slave’s quality altogether; also they will never plead guilty to offenses against society. Now in the case of most errors, the principal reason why men are inclined to admit them is because they conceive that there is an involuntary element in them, as, for instance, in timidity and pity. And if a man ever does, grudgingly, admit that he is incontinent, he adds that he is in love, expecting to be excused as for an involuntary act. But injustice they do not at all conceive of as involuntary. In jealousy there is also, as they fancy, an element of the involuntary, and therefore this too is a fault which men grudgingly admit.

When such are the men we live among — so confused, so ignorant both of what they mean by “evil” and what evil quality they have, or whether they have one, or, if so, how they come to have it, or how they will get rid of it — among such men I wonder whether it is not worthwhile for us also to watch ourselves, each one asking himself the questions: “Is it possible that I too am one of these people? What conceit am I cherishing regarding myself? How do I conduct myself? Do I for my part act like a wise man? Do I for my part act like a man of self-control? Do I for my part ever say that I have been educated to meet whatever comes? 10. Have I the consciousness, proper to a man who knows nothing, that I do know nothing? Do I go to my teacher, like one who goes to consult an oracle, prepared to obey? Or do I, too, like a sniffling child, go to school to learn only the history of philosophy and to understand the books which I did not understand before, and, if chance offers, to explain them to others?” Man, at home you have fought a regular prize-fight with your slave, you have driven your household into the street, you have disturbed your neighbors’ peace; and now do you come to me with a solemn air, like a philosopher, and sitting down pass judgment on the explanation I gave of the reading of the text and on the application, forsooth, of the comments I made as I babbled out whatever came into my head? You have come in a spirit of envy, in a spirit of humiliation because nothing is being sent you from home, and you sit there while the lecture is going on, thinking, on your part, of nothing in the world but how you stand with your father or your brother! You reflect: “What are my people at home saying about me? At this moment they are thinking that I am making progress in my studies, and they are saying ‘He will know everything when he comes back home!’ I did want, at one time, I suppose, to learn everything before going back home, but that requires a great deal of hard work, and nobody sends me anything, and at Nicopolis they have rotten accommodations at the baths, and my lodgings are bad, and the school here is bad.”

15. And then people say: “Nobody gets any good from going to school.” Well, who goes to school — who, I repeat — with the expectation of being cured? Who with the expectation of submitting his own judgments for purification? Who with the expectation of coming to a realization of what judgments he needs? Why, then, are you surprised, if you carry back home from your school precisely the judgments you bring to it? For you do not come with the expectation of laying them aside, or of correcting them, or of getting others in exchange for them. Not at all, nor anything like it. Look rather to this at least — whether you are getting what you came for. You want to be able to speak fluently about philosophic principles. Well, are you not becoming more of an idle babbler? Do not these petty philosophic principles supply you with material for making exhibitions? Do you not resolve syllogisms, and arguments with equivocal premises? Do you not examine the assumptions in The Liar syllogism, and in hypothetical syllogisms? Why, then, are you still vexed, if you are getting what you came for? “Yes, but if my child or my brother dies, or if I must die, or be tortured, what good will such things do me?” But was it really for this that you came? Is it really for this that you sit by my side? Did you ever really light your lamp, or work late at night, for this? Or when you went out into the covered walk did you ever set before yourself, instead of a syllogism, some external impression and examine this with your fellow-students? When did you ever do that? 20. And then you say, “The principles are useless.” To whom? To those who do not use them properly. For instance, eye-salves are not useless to those who rub them on when and as they ought, and poultices are not useless, jumping-weights are not useless; but they are useless to some people, and, on the other hand, useful to others. If you ask me now, “Are our syllogisms useful?” I will tell you that they are, and, if you wish, I will show how they are useful “Have they, then, helped me at all?” Man, you did not ask, did you? whether they are useful to you, but whether they are useful in general? Let the man who is suffering from dysentery ask me whether vinegar is useful; I will tell him that it is useful. “Is it useful, then, to me?” I will say, “No. Seek first to have your discharge stopped, the little ulcers healed.” So do you also, men, first cure your ulcers, stop your discharges, be tranquil in mind, bring it free from distraction into the school; and then you will know what power reason has.

XXII: Of friendship.

Whatever a man is interested in he naturally loves. Now do men take an interest in things evil? Not at all. Well, and do they take an interest in things which in no respect concern them? No, not in these, either. It remains, therefore, that men take an interest in good things only; and if they take an interest in them, they love them. Whoever, then, has knowledge of good things, would know how to love them too; but when a man is unable to distinguish things good from things evil, and what is neither good nor evil from both the others, how could he take the next step and have the power to love? Accordingly, the power to love belongs to the wise man and to him alone.

How so? says someone; for I am foolish myself, but yet I love my child. 5. — By the gods, I am surprised at you; at the very outset you have admitted that you are foolish. For something is lacking in you; what is it? Do you not use sense perception, do you not distinguish between external impressions, do you not supply the nourishment for your body that is suitable to it, and shelter, and a dwelling? How comes it, then, that you admit you are foolish? Because, by Zeus, you are frequently bewildered and disturbed by your external impressions, and overcome by their persuasive character; and at one moment you consider these things good, and then again you consider them, though the very same, evil, and later on as neither good nor evil; and, in a word, you are subject to pain, fear, envy, turmoil, and change; that is why you are foolish, as you admit you are. And in loving are you not changeable? But as for wealth, and pleasure, and, in a word, material things, do you not consider them at one moment good, at another bad? And do you not consider the same persons at one moment good, and at another bad, and do you not at one moment feel friendly toward them, and at another unfriendly, and at one moment praise them, while at another you blame them? — Yes, I am subject to exactly these emotions. — What then? Do you think that the man who has been deceived about someone can be his friend? — No, indeed. — And can the man whose choice of a friend is subject to change show good will to that friend? — No, neither can he. — And the man who now reviles someone, and later on admires him? — No, neither can he. — What then? Did you never see dogs fawning on one another and playing with one another, so that you say, “Nothing could be more friendly”? But to see what their friendship amounts to, throw a piece of meat between them and you will find out. 10. Throw likewise between yourself and your son a small piece of land, and you will find out how much your son wants to bury you, the sooner the better, and how earnestly you pray for your son’s death. Then you will change your mind again and say, “What a child I have brought up! All this time he has been ready to carry me to my grave.” Throw between you a pretty wench, and the old man as well as the young one falls in love with her; or, again, a bit of glory. And if you have to risk your life you will say what the father of Admetus did:

“Thou joyest seeing daylight: dost suppose
Thy father joys not too?”

Do you imagine that he did not love his own child when it was small, and that he was not in agony when it had the fever, and that he did not say over and over again, “If only I had the fever instead”? And then, when the test comes and is upon him, just see what words he utters! Were not Eteocles and Polyneices born of the same mother and the same father? Had they not been brought up together, lived together, played together, slept together, many a time kissed one another? So that I fancy if anyone had seen them, he would have laughed at the philosophers for their paradoxical views on friendship. But when the throne was cast between them, like a piece of meat between the dogs, see what they say:

Eteo. ⁠Where before the wall dost mean to stand?
Poly. ⁠Why asked thou this of me?
Eteo. ⁠I shall range myself against thee.
Poly. ⁠Mine is also that desire!

Such also are the prayers they utter.

15. It is a general rule — be not deceived — that every living thing is to nothing so devoted as to its own interest. Whatever, then, appears to it to stand in the way of this interest, be it a brother, or father, or child, or loved one, or lover, the being hates, accuses, and curses it. For its nature is to love nothing so much as its own interest; this to it is father and brother and kinsmen and country and God. When, for instance, we think that the gods stand in the way of our attainment of this, we revile even them, cast their statues to the ground, and burn their temples, as Alexander ordered the temples of Asclepius to be burned when his loved one died. For this reason, if a man puts together in one scale his interest and righteousness and what is honorable and country and parents and friends, they are all safe; but if he puts his interest in one scale, and in the other friends and country and kinsmen and justice itself, all these latter are lost because they are outweighed by his interest. For where one can say “I” and “mine,” to that side must the creature perforce incline; if they are in the flesh, there must the ruling power be; if they are in the moral purpose, there must it be; if they are in externals, there must it be. 20. If, therefore, I am where my moral purpose is, then, and then only, will I be the friend and son and the father that I should be. For then this will be my interest — to keep my good faith, my self-respect, my forbearance, my abstinence, and my co-operation, and to maintain my relations with other men. But if I put what is mine in one scale, and what is honorable in the other, then the statement of Epicurus assumes strength, in which he declares that “the honorable is either nothing at all, or at best only what people hold in esteem.”

It was through ignorance of this that the Athenians and Lacedaemonians quarrelled, and the Thebans with both of them, and the Great King with Greece, and the Macedonians with both of them, and in our days the Romans with the Getae, and yet earlier than any of these, what happened at Ilium was due to this. Alexander was a guest of Menelaus, and if anyone had seen their friendly treatment of one another, he would have disbelieved any man who said they were not friends. But there was thrown in between them a morsel, a pretty woman, and to win her war arose. So now, when you see friends, or brothers, who seem to be of one mind, do not instantly make pronouncement about their friendship, not even if they swear to it, nor even if they say that they cannot be separated from one another. 25. The ruling principle of the bad man is not to be trusted; it is insecure, incapable of judgment, a prey now to one external impression and now to another. Nay, do not make the same inquiry that most men do, asking whether two men are of the same parents, or were brought up together, or had the same school attendant, but this, and this only: Where do they put their interest — outside themselves, or in their moral purpose? If outside, call them not friends, any more than you would call them faithful, steadfast, courageous, or free; nay, call them not even human beings, if you are wise. For it is no judgment of human sort which makes them bite (that is revile) one another, and take to the desert (that is, to the market-place) as wild beasts take to the mountains, and in courts of law act the part of brigands; nor is it a judgment of human sort which makes them profligates and adulterers and corrupters; nor is it any such thing which makes men guilty of any of the many other crimes which they commit against one another; it is because of one single judgment, and this alone — because they put themselves and what belongs to themselves in the category of things which lie outside the sphere of moral purpose. But if you hear these men assert that in all sincerity they believe the good to be where moral purpose lies, and where there is the right use of external impressions, then you need no longer trouble yourself as to whether they are son and father, or brothers, or have been schoolmates a long time and are comrades; but though this is the only knowledge you have concerning them, you may confidently declare them “friends,” just as you may declare them “faithful” and “upright.” 30. For where else is friendship to be found than where there is fidelity, respect, a devotion to things honorable and to naught beside?

“But he has paid attention to me all these years; and did he not love me?” How do you know, slave, whether he has paid attention to you just as he sponges his shoes, or curries his horse? How do you know but that, when you have lost your utility, as that of some utensil, he will throw you away like a broken plate? “But she is my wife and we have lived together all these years.” But how long did Eriphyle live with Amphiaraus, yes, and bore him children, and many of them? But a necklace came in between them. And what does a necklace signify? One’s judgment about things like a necklace. That was the brutish element, that was what sundered the bond of love, what would not allow a woman to be a wife, a mother to remain a mother. So let every one of you who is eager to be a friend to somebody himself, or to get somebody else for a friend, eradicate these judgments, hate them, banish them from his own soul. 35. When this is done, first of all, he will not be reviling himself, fighting with himself, repenting, tormenting himself: and, in the second place, in relation to his comrade, he will be always straightforward to one who is like him himself, while to one who is unlike he will be tolerant, gentle, kindly, forgiving, as to one who is ignorant or is making a mistake in things of the greatest importance; he will not be harsh with anybody, because he knows well the saying of Plato, that “every soul is unwillingly deprived of the truth.” But if you fail to do this, you may do everything else that friends do — drink together, and share the same tent, and sail on the same ship — and you may be sons of the same parents; yes, and so may snakes! But they will never be friends and no more will you, as long as you retain these brutish and abominable judgments.

XXIII: Of the faculty of expression.

Everyone would read with greater pleasure and ease the book that is written in the clearer characters. Therefore everyone would also listen with greater ease to those discourses that are expressed in appropriate and attractive language. We must not, therefore, say that there is no faculty of expression, for this is to speak both as an impious man and as a coward. As an impious man, because one is thereby disparaging the gifts received from God, as though one were denying the usefulness of the faculty of vision, or that of hearing, or that of speech itself. Did God give you eyes to no purpose, did He to no purpose put in them a spirit so strong and so cunningly devised that it reaches out to a great distance and fashions the forms of whatever is seen? And what messenger is so swift and so attentive as the eye? And did He to no purpose make also the intervening air so active and so intent that the vision passes through it as through some tense medium? And did He to no purpose create light, without the presence of which all else were useless?

5. Man, be neither ungrateful for these gifts, nor yet forgetful of the better things, but for sight and hearing, yes and, by Zeus, for life itself and for what is conducive to it, for dry fruits, for wine, for olive oil, give thanks unto God; and at the same time remember that He has given you something better than all these things — the faculty which can make use of them, pass judgment upon them, estimate the value of each. For what is that which, in the case of each of these faculties, shows what it is worth? Is it each faculty itself? Did you ever hear the faculty of sight say anything about itself? Or the faculty of vision? No, but they have been appointed as servants and slaves to minister to the faculty which makes use of external impressions. And if you ask, what each thing is worth, of whom do you ask? Who is to answer you? How, then, can any other faculty be superior to this which both uses the rest as its servants, and itself passes judgment upon each several thing and pronounces upon it? For which one of them knows what it is and what it is worth? Which one of them knows when one ought to use it, and when not? What is the faculty that opens and closes the eyes, and turns them away from the things from which it should turn them, but directs them toward other things? The faculty of sight? No, but the faculty of moral purpose. What is the faculty that closes and opens the ears? 10. What is that faculty by virtue of which men are curious and inquisitive, or again, unmoved by what is said? The faculty of hearing? No, it is none other than the faculty of moral purpose. When, then, this faculty sees that all the other faculties which surround it are blind and deaf, and unable to see anything but the very acts for which they have been appointed to serve and minister unto it, while it alone sees clearly and surveys, not only all the rest, determining what each is worth, but itself also, is it likely to pronounce that anything else is supreme but itself? And what else can the open eye do but see? But whether it ought to see someone’s wife and how, what faculty tells it? That of moral purpose. And what faculty tells a man whether he ought to believe what he has been told, or disbelieve, and, if he believes, whether he ought to be provoked by it or not? Is it not that of moral purpose? And this faculty of speech and of the adornment of language, if it really is a separate faculty, what else does it do, when discourse arises about some topic, but ornament and compose the words, as hairdressers do the hair? 15. But whether it is better to speak than to keep silence, and to do so in this way, or in that, and whether this is appropriate or not appropriate, and the proper occasion and utility of each action — what else tells us all this but the faculty of moral purpose? Would you, then, have it come forward and condemn itself?

“What then,” says an objector, “if the matter stands like this, and it is possible for that which serves to be superior to what it serves — the horse to the rider, or the dog to the hunter, or his instrument to the harper, or his servants to the king?” Well, what faculty is it that uses the services of the rest in this way? Moral purpose. What is it that attends to everything? Moral purpose. What is it that destroys the whole man, sometimes by hunger, sometimes by a noose, sometimes by hurling him over a cliff? Moral purpose. Is there, then, anything stronger than this among men? Yet how can the things that are subject to hindrance be stronger than that which is unhindered? What are by their very nature capable of hindering the faculty of vision? Both moral purpose and things that lie outside its sphere. The same hinder vision; and so it is also with speech. But what is by its very nature capable of hindering moral purpose? Nothing that lies outside its sphere, but only itself when perverted. For this reason moral purpose becomes the only vice, or the only virtue.

20. Therefore, since it is so great a faculty and has been set over everything else, let it come before us and say that the flesh is of all things the most excellent. Nay, even if the flesh itself called itself most excellent, one would not have tolerated such a statement. But now what is it, Epicurus, that makes such a declaration? that composed the treatise On the End, or The Physics, or On the Standard? that caused you to let your beard grow long? that wrote as it was dying: “We are spending what is our last and at the same time a happy day?” Was it the flesh or the moral purpose? Come, do you confess that you have something superior to the flesh, and you are not insane, either? Are you, in all truth, so blind and deaf?

Well, what then? Does a man despise his other faculties? Far from it! Does a man say there is no use or advancement save in the faculty of moral purpose? Far from it! That is unintelligent, impious, ungrateful toward God. Nay, he is but assigning its true value to each thing. For there is some use in an ass, but not as much as there is in an ox; there is use also in a dog, but not as much as there is in a slave; there is use also in a slave, but not as much as there is in your fellow-citizens; there is use also in these, but not as much as there is in the magistrates. 25. Yet because some things are superior we ought not to despise the use which the others give. There is a certain value also in the faculty of eloquence, but it is not as great as that of the faculty of moral purpose. When, therefore, I say this, let no one suppose that I am bidding you neglect speech, any more than I bid you neglect eyes, or ears, or hands, or feet, or dress, or shoes. But if you ask me, “What, then, is the highest of all things?” what shall I say? The faculty of eloquence? I cannot; but rather that of moral purpose, when it becomes a right moral purpose. For it is this which uses not only that faculty of eloquence but also all the other faculties both small and great; when this has been set right a man becomes good, when it has failed a man becomes bad; it is through this that we are unfortunate, and are fortunate, blame one another, and are pleased with one another; in a word, it is this which, when ignored, produces wretchedness, but when attended to produces happiness.

30. But to do away with the faculty of eloquence and to say that in all truth it is nothing is the act not merely of a man ungrateful to those who have given it, but also cowardly. For such a person seems to me to be afraid that, if there really is a faculty of this kind, we may not be able to despise it. Such also are those who assert that there is no difference between beauty and ugliness. What! could a man be affected in the same way by the sight of Thersites and that of Achilles? Or by the sight of Helen and that of some ordinary woman? But these are the notions of foolish and boorish persons who do not know the nature of each several thing, but are afraid that if a man notices the superiority of the faculty in question he will immediately be carried away by it and come off worsted. Nay, the great thing is this: to leave each in the possession of his own proper faculty, and, so leaving him, to observe the value of the faculty, and to learn what is the highest of all things, and in everything to pursue after this, to be zealous about this, treating all other things as of secondary value in comparison with it, though without neglecting these, as far as this is possible. 35. For we must take care of our eyes too, yet not as the highest thing, but we must take care of them for the sake of the highest; because this latter will not have its natural perfection unless it uses the eyes with reason and chooses one thing instead of another.

What, then, generally takes place? Men act like a traveler on the way to his own country who stops at an excellent inn, and, since the inn pleases him, stays there. Man, you have forgotten your purpose; you were not traveling to this but through it. “But this is a fine inn.” And how many other inns are fine, and how many meadows — yet simply for passing through. But your purpose is the other thing, to return to your country, to relieve the fear of your kinsmen, to do the duties of a citizen yourself, to marry, bring up children, hold the customary offices. For you did not come into the world to select unusually fine places, I ween, but to live and go about your business in the place where you were born and were enrolled as a citizen. 40. Something like this takes place also in the matter which we are considering. Since a man must advance to perfection through the spoken word and such instruction as you receive here, and must purify his own moral purpose and correct the faculty which makes use of external impressions, and since the instruction must necessarily be given by means of certain principles, and in a particular style, and with a certain variety and impressiveness in the form of these principles, some persons are captivated by all these things and stay where they are; one is captivated by style, another by syllogisms, another by arguments with equivocal premises, another by some other “inn” of that sort, and staying there they moulder away as though they were among the Sirens.

Man, your purpose was to make yourself competent to use conformably with nature the external impressions that came to you, in desire not to fail in what you would attain, and in avoidance not to fall into what you would avoid, never suffering misfortune, never ill fortune, free, unhindered, unconstrained, conforming to the governance of Zeus, obeying this, well satisfied with this, blaming no one, charging no one, able to say with your whole heart the verses, beginning:

“Lead thou me on, O Zeus, and Destiny.”

And then, although you have this purpose, because some petty trick of style, or certain principles, catch your fancy, are you going to stay just where you are and choose to dwell there, forgetful of the things at home and saying “This is fine”? Well, who says that it is not fine? But only like a passageway, like an “inn.” For what is to prevent a man having the eloquence of Demosthenes and yet being unhappy, and what is to prevent him from analyzing syllogisms like Chrysippus, and yet being wretched, from sorrowing, envying, in a word, from being disturbed and miserable? Absolutely nothing. 45. You see, then, that these were “inns” of no value, while your purpose was something else. When I speak thus to some people they think that I am disparaging the study of rhetoric or that of general principles. Yet I am not disparaging this, but only the habit of dwelling unceasingly on these matters and setting one’s hopes in them. If a man does his hearers harm by presenting this view, set me down too as one of those who work harm. But when I see that one thing is highest and supreme, I cannot say the same of something else, in order to gratify you, my hearers.

XXIV: To one of those whom he did not deem worthy.

Someone said to him: I have often come to you, wishing to hear you and you have never given me an answer; and now, if it be possible, I beg you to say something to me. He answered: Do you think that, just as in anything else there is an art, so there is also an art in speaking, and that he who has this art will speak with skill, while he who does not have it will speak without skill? — I do. — Then he who by speaking benefits himself and is able to benefit others would be speaking with skill, while he who confers injury rather than benefit would be without skill in this art of speaking? You would find that some are injured and others benefited. And are all those who hear benefited by what they hear, or would you find that of them too some are benefited but others injured? — Yes, that is true of them also, he said. — Then in this case too are all those that show skill in listening benefited, but all those that do not show such skill are injured? — He agreed. 5. — Is there, therefore, also a certain skill in listening, just as there is in speaking? — So it seems. — But, if you please, look at the matter from this angle also: whose part do you think it is to handle an instrument musically? — The musician’s. — Very well, and whose part does it appear to you to be to make a statue properly? — The sculptor’s. — Does it appear to you to require no art to look at a statue with skill? — This also requires art. — If, then, to speak as one ought is the part of a skilled person, do you see that to hear with benefit to himself is also the part of the skilled person? Now as for perfection and benefit, if you please, let us drop the consideration of them for the present, since both of us are far removed from anything of that sort; 10. but this I think everyone would admit, that the man who is going to listen to the philosophers needs at least a certain amount of practice in listening. Is it not so?

What, then, shall I talk to you about? Tell me. What are you capable of hearing about? About things good and evil? Good and evil for what? Do you mean for a horse? — No. — Well then, for an ox? — No. — What then? For a man? — Yes. — Do we know, then, what a man is, what his nature is, what the concept of man is? And have we ears that are to any degree open with regard to this? Nay, have you a conception of what nature is, or can you in any measure follow me when I speak? But shall I use a demonstration for you? How can I? For do you really understand what a proof is, or how anything is demonstrated, or by what means? Or what things resemble demonstration, but are not demonstration? Do you know, for instance, what is true, or what is false; what follows what, what contradicts, or is out of agreement, or out of harmony with what? But am I to interest you in philosophy? 15. How shall I set before you the contradiction in the ideas of the multitude, which leads them to disagree about things good and evil, advantageous and disadvantageous, when you do not know what contradiction itself is? Show me, then, what I shall accomplish by a discussion with you. Arouse in me an eagerness for it. Just as suitable grass when shown to the sheep arouses in it an eagerness to eat, whereas if you set before it a stone or a loaf of bread, it will not be moved to eat, so we have certain moments of natural eagerness for speech also, when the suitable hearer appears, and when he himself stimulates us. But when the would-be hearer by our side is like a stone, or grass, how can he arouse desire in the breast of a man? Does the vine say to the husbandman, “Pay attention to me”? Nay, but the vine by its very appearance shows that it will profit him to pay attention to it, and so invites him to devote his attention. Who is not tempted by attractive and wide-awake children to join their sports, and crawl on all fours with them, and talk baby talk with them? But who is eager to play with an ass, or to join its braying? For however small it may be, it is still nothing but a little ass.

Why, then, have you nothing to say to me? — There is only one thing I can say to you — that the man who does not know who he is, and what he is born for, and what sort of a world this is that he exists in, and whom he shares it with; and does not know what the good things are and what are the evil, what the noble and what the base; and is unable to follow either reason or demonstration, or what is true and what is false, and cannot distinguish one from the other; and will manifest neither desire, nor aversion, nor choice, nor purpose in accordance with nature; will not assent, will not dissent, will not withhold judgment — such a man, to sum it all up, will go about deaf and blind, thinking that he is somebody, when he really is nobody. 20. What I do you think that this is something new? Has it not been true from the time when the human race began to be, that every mistake and every misfortune has been due to this kind of ignorance? Why did Agamemnon and Achilles quarrel? Was it not because they did not know what things are expedient and what are inexpedient? Does not one of them say that it is expedient to give Chryseïs back to her father, while the other says that it is not expedient? Does not one of them say that he ought to get some other man’s meed of honor, while the other says that he ought not? Is it not true that this made them forget who they were and what they had come for? Ho, there, man, what have you come for? To get sweethearts or to fight? “To fight” With whom? The Trojans or the Greeks? “The Trojans.” Well, then, are you turning your back on Hector and drawing your sword against your own king? As for you, O best of men, are you turning your back on your duties as king,

Who has the charge of nations and sustains
Such mighty cares,

and for the sake of a paltry damsel engage in a fist-fight with the greatest warrior among your allies, a man whom you ought to honor and protect in every way? And do you sink below the level of an elegant high priest who treats the noble gladiators with all respect? Do you see the sort of thing that ignorance of what is expedient leads to?

“But I too am rich.” You are not, then, richer than Agamemnon, are you? “But I am also handsome.” You are not, then, handsomer than Achilles, are you? “But I have also a fine head of hair.” And did not Achilles have a finer, and golden hair, too? And did he not comb it elegantly and dress it up? 25. “But I am also strong.” You are not, then, able to lift as large a stone as Hector or Aias lifted, are you? “But I am also noble born.” Your mother is not a goddess, is she, or your father of the seed of Zeus? What good, then, does all this do him when he sits in tears about the damsel? “But I am an orator.” And was not he? Do you not observe how he has dealt with Odysseus and Phoenix, the most skillful of the Greeks in eloquence, how he stopped their mouths?

This is all I have to say to you, and even for this I have no heart. — Why so? — Because you have not stimulated me. For what is there in you that I may look at and be stimulated, as experts in horseflesh are stimulated when they see thoroughbred horses? At your paltry body? But you make it ugly by the shape which you give to it. At your clothes? There is something too luxurious about them, also. At your air, at your countenance? I have nothing to look at. When you wish to hear a philosopher, do not ask him, “Have you nothing to say to me?” but only show yourself capable of hearing him, and you will see how you will stimulate the speaker.

XXV: How is logic necessary?

When someone in his audience said, Convince me that logic is necessary, he answered: Do you wish me to demonstrate this to you? — Yes. — Well, then, must I use a demonstrative argument? — And when the questioner had agreed to that, Epictetus asked him. How, then, will you know if I impose upon you? — As the man had no answer to give, Epictetus said: Do you see how you yourself admit that all this instruction is necessary, if, without it, you cannot so much as know whether it is necessary or not?

XXVI: What is the distinctive characteristic of error?

Every error involves a contradiction. For since he who is in error does not wish to err, but to be right, it is clear that he is not doing what he wishes. For what does the thief wish to achieve? His own interest. Therefore, if thievery is against his interest, he is not doing what he wishes. Now every rational soul is by nature offended by contradiction; and so, as long as a man does not understand that he is involved in contradiction, there is nothing to prevent him from doing contradictory things, but when he has come to understand the contradiction, he must of necessity abandon and avoid it, just as a bitter necessity compels a man to renounce the false when he perceives that it is false; but as long as the falsehood does not appear, he assents to it as the truth.

He, then, who can show to each man the contradiction which causes him to err, and can clearly bring home to him how he is not doing what he wishes, and is doing what he does not wish, is strong in argument, and at the same time effective both in encouragement and refutation. 5. For as soon as anyone shows a man this, he will of his own accord abandon what he is doing. But so long as you do not point this out, be not surprised if he persists in his error; for he does it because he has an impression that he is right. That is why Socrates, because he trusted in this faculty, used to say: “I am not in the habit of calling any other witness to what I say, but I am always satisfied with my fellow-disputant, and I call for his vote and summon him as a witness, and he, though but a single person, is sufficient for me in place of all men.” For Socrates knew what moves a rational soul, and that like the beam of a balance it will incline, whether you wish or no. Point out to the rational governing faculty a contradiction and it will desist; but if you do not point it out, blame yourself rather than the man who will not be persuaded.

Book III

I: Of personal adornment.

Once, when he was visited by a young student of rhetoric whose hair was somewhat too elaborately dressed, and whose attire in general was highly embellished, Epictetus said: Tell me if you do not think that some dogs are beautiful, and some horses, and so every other creature. — I do, said the young man. — Is not the same true also of men, some of them are handsome, and some ugly? — Of course. — Do we, then, on the same grounds, pronounce each of these creatures in its own kind beautiful, or do we pronounce each beautiful on special grounds? I shall show you what I mean. Since we see that a dog is born to do one thing, and a horse another, and, if you will, a nightingale for something else, in general it would not be unreasonable for one to declare that each of them was beautiful precisely when it achieved supreme excellence in terms of its own nature; and, since each has a different nature, each one of them, I think, is beautiful in a different fashion. Is that not so? — He agreed. — Does it not follow, then, that precisely what makes a dog beautiful, makes a horse ugly, and precisely what makes a horse beautiful, makes a dog ugly, if, that is, their natures are different? — So it appears. 5. — Yes, for, to my way of thinking, what makes a pancratiast beautiful does not make a wrestler good, and, more than that, makes a runner quite absurd: and the same man who is beautiful for the pentathlon is very ugly for wrestling? — That is so, said he. — What, then, makes a man beautiful other than just that which makes a dog or a horse beautiful in its kind? — Just that, said he. — What is it, then, that makes a dog beautiful? The presence of a dog’s excellence. What makes a horse beautiful? The presence of a horse’s excellence. What, then, makes a man beautiful? Is it not the presence of a man’s excellence? Very well, then, young man, do you too, if you wish to be beautiful, labor to achieve this, the excellence that characterizes a man. — And what is that? — Observe who they are whom you yourself praise, when you praise people dispassionately; is it the just, or the unjust? — The just; — is it the temperate, or the dissolute? — The temperate; — and is it the self-controlled, or the uncontrolled? — The self-controlled. — In making yourself that kind of person, therefore, rest assured that you will be making yourself beautiful; but so long as you neglect all this, you must needs be ugly, no matter if you employ every artifice to make yourself look beautiful.

10. Beyond that I know not what more I can say to you; for if I say what I have in mind, I shall hurt your feelings, and you will leave, perhaps never to return; but if I do not say it, consider the sort of thing I shall be doing. Here you are coming to me to get some benefit, and I shall be bestowing no benefit at all; and you are coming to me as to a philosopher, and I shall be saying nothing to you as a philosopher. Besides, is it anything but cruel for me to leave you unreformed? If some time in the future you come to your senses, you will have good reason to blame me: “What did Epictetus observe in me,” you will say to yourself, “that, although he saw me in such a condition and coming to him in so disgraceful a state, he should let me be so and say never a word to me? Did he so completely despair of me? Was I not young? Was I not ready to listen to reason? And how many other young fellows make any number of mistakes of the same kind in their youth? I am told that once there was a certain Polemo who from being a very dissolute young man underwent such an astonishing transformation. Well, suppose he did not think that I should be another Polemo; he could at least have set my hair right, he could have stripped me of my ornaments, he could have made me stop plucking my hairs; but although he saw me looking like — what shall I say? — he held his peace.” 15. As for me, I do not say what it is you look like, but you will say it, when you come to yourself, and will realize what it is and the kind of people those are who act this way.

If you bring this charge against me some day, what shall I be able to say in my own defense? Yes; but suppose I speak and he not obey. And did Laius obey Apollo? Did he not go away and get drunk and say good-bye to the oracle? What then? Did that keep Apollo from telling him the truth? Whereas I do not know whether you will obey me or not. Apollo knew perfectly well that Laius would not obey, and yet he spoke. — But why did he speak? — And why is he Apollo? And why does he give out oracles? And why has he placed himself in this position, to be a prophet and a fountain of truth, and for the inhabitants of the civilized world to come to him? And why are the words “Know thyself” carved on the front of his temple, although no one pays attention to them?

Did Socrates succeed in prevailing upon all his visitors to keep watch over their own characters? No, not one in a thousand. Nevertheless, once he had been assigned this post, as he himself says, by the ordinance of the Deity, he never abandoned it. Nay, what does he say even to his judges? 20. “If you acquit me,” he says, “on these conditions, namely, that I no longer engage in my present practices, I will not accept your offer, neither will I give up my practices, but I will go up to young and old, and, in a word, to everyone whom I meet, and put to him the same question that I put now, and beyond all others I will especially interrogate you,” he says, “who are my fellow-citizens, inasmuch as you are nearer akin to me.” Are you so inquisitive, O Socrates, and meddlesome? And why do you care what we are about? “Why, what is that you are saying? You are my partner and kinsman, and yet you neglect yourself and provide the State with a bad citizen, and your kin with a bad kinsman, and your neighbors with a bad neighbor.” “Well, who are you?” Here it is a bold thing to say, “I am he who must needs take interest in men.” For no ordinary ox dares to withstand the lion himself; but if the bull comes up and withstands him, say to the bull, if you think fit, “But who are you?” and “What do you care?” Man, in every species nature produces some superior individual, among cattle, dogs, bees, horses. Pray do not say to the superior individual, “Well, then, who are you?” Or if you do, it will get a voice from somewhere and reply to you, “I am the same sort of thing as red in a mantle; do not expect me to resemble the rest, and do not blame my nature because it has made me different from the rest.”

What follows? Am I that kind of person? Impossible. Are you, indeed, the kind of person to listen to the truth? I would that you were! But nevertheless, since somehow or other I have been condemned to wear a gray beard and a rough cloak, and you are coming to me as to a philosopher, I shall not treat you cruelly, nor as though I despaired of you, but I shall say: Young man, whom do you wish to make beautiful? 25. First learn who you are, and then, in the light of that knowledge, adorn yourself. You are a human being; that is, a mortal animal gifted with the ability to use impressions rationally. And what is “rationally”? In accordance with nature and perfectly. What element of superiority, then, do you possess? The animal in you? No. Your mortality? No. Your ability to use impressions? No. Your reason is the element of superiority which you possess; adorn and beautify that; but leave your hair to Him who fashioned it as He willed. Come, what other designations apply to you? Are you a man or a woman? — A man. — Very well then, adorn a man, not a woman. Woman is born smooth and dainty by nature, and if she is very hairy she is a prodigy, and is exhibited at Rome among the prodigies. But for a man not to be hairy is the same thing, and if by nature he has no hair he is a prodigy, but if he cuts it out and plucks it out of himself, what shall we make of him? Where shall we exhibit him and what notice shall we post? “I will show you,” we say to the audience, “a man who wishes to be a woman rather than a man.” What a dreadful spectacle! No one but will be amazed at the notice; by Zeus, I fancy that even the men who pluck out their own hairs do what they do without realizing what it means. 30. Man, what reason have you to complain against your nature? Because it brought you into the world as a man? What then? Ought it to have brought all persons into the world as women? And if that had been the case, what good would you be getting of your self-adornment? For whom would you be adorning yourself, if all were women? Your paltry body doesn’t please you, eh? Make a clean sweep of the whole matter; eradicate your — what shall I call it? — the cause of your hairiness; make yourself a woman all over, so as not to deceive us, not half-man and half-woman. Whom do you wish to please? Frail womankind? Please them as a man. “Yes, but they like smooth men.” Oh, go hang! And if they liked sexual perverts, would you have become such a pervert? Is this your business in life, is this what you were born for, that licentious women should take pleasure in you? Shall we make a man like you a citizen of Corinth, and perchance a warden of the city, or superintendent of ephebi, or general, or superintendent of the games? 35. Well, and when you have married are you going to pluck out your hairs? For whom and to what end? And when you have begotten boys, are you going to introduce them into the body of citizens as plucked creatures too? A fine citizen and senator and orator! Is this the kind of young men we ought to pray to have born and brought up for us?

By the gods, young man, may such not be your fate! But once you have heard these words go away and say to yourself, “It was not Epictetus who said these things to me; why, how could they have occurred to him? but it was some kindly god or other speaking through him. For it would not have occurred to Epictetus to say these things, because he is not in the habit of speaking to anyone. Come then, let us obey God, that we rest not under His wrath.” Nay, but if a raven gives you a sign by his croaking, it is not the raven that gives the sign, but God through the raven; whereas if He gives you a sign through a human voice, will you pretend that it is the man who is saying these things to you, so that you may remain ignorant of the power of the divinity, that He gives signs to some men in this way, and to others in that, but that in the greatest and most sovereign matters He gives His sign through His noblest messenger? What else does the poet mean when he says:

⁠Since ourselves we did warn him,
Sending down Hermes, the messenger god, the slayer of Argus,
Neither to murder the husband himself, nor make love to his consort?

As Hermes descended to tell Aegisthus that, so now the gods tell you the same thing.

Sending down Hermes, the messenger god, the slayer of Argus,

not to distort utterly nor to take useless pains about that which is already right, but to leave the man a man, and the woman a woman, the beautiful person beautiful as a human being, the ugly ugly as a human being. 40. Because you are not flesh, nor hair, but moral purpose; if you get that beautiful, then you will be beautiful. So far I do not have the courage to tell you that you are ugly, for it looks to me as though you would rather hear anything than that. But observe what Socrates says to Alcibiades, the most handsome and youthfully beautiful of men: “Try, then, to be beautiful.” What does he tell him? “Dress your locks and pluck the hairs out of your legs?” God forbid! No, he says, “Make beautiful your moral purpose, eradicate your worthless opinions.” How treat your paltry body, then? As its nature is. This is the concern of Another; leave it to Him. — What then? Does the body have to be left unclean? — God forbid! but the man that you are and were born to be, keep that man clean, a man to be clean as a man, a woman as a woman, a child as a child. 45. No, but let’s pluck out also the lion’s mane, so that he may not fail to be “cleaned up,” and the cock’s comb, for he too ought to be “cleaned up”! Clean? Yes, but clean as a cock, and the other clean as a lion, and the hunting dog clean as a hunting dog!

II: The fields of study in which the man who expects to make progress will have to go into training; and that we neglect what is most important.

There are three fields of study in which the man who is going to be good and excellent must first have been trained. The first has to do with desires and aversions, that he may never fail to get what he desires, nor fall into what he avoids; the second with cases of choice and of refusal, and, in general, with duty, that he may act in an orderly fashion, upon good reasons, and not carelessly; the third with the avoidance of error and rashness in judgment, and, in general, about cases of assent. Among these the most important and especially pressing is that which has to do with the stronger emotions; for a strong emotion does not arise except a desire fails to attain its object, or an aversion falls into what it would avoid. This is the field of study which introduces to us confusions, tumults, misfortunes and calamities; and sorrows, lamentations, envies; and makes us envious and jealous — passions which make it impossible for us even to listen to reason. The second field of study deals with duty; for I ought not to be unfeeling like a statue, but should maintain my relations, both natural and acquired, as a religious man, as a son, a brother, a father, a citizen.

5. The third belongs only to those who are already making progress; it has to do with the element of certainty in the matters which have just been mentioned, so that even in dreams, or drunkenness, or a state of melancholy-madness, a man may not be taken unawares by the appearance of an untested sense-impression. — This, says someone, is beyond us. — But philosophers nowadays pass by the first and second fields of study, and concentrate upon the third, upon arguments which involve equivocal premises, which derive syllogisms by the process of interrogation, which involve hypothetical premises, and sophisms like The Liar. — Of course, he says, even when a man is engaged in subjects of this kind he has to preserve his freedom from deception. — But what kind of a man ought to engage in them? — Only the one who is already good and excellent. — Do you, then, fall short in this? Have you already attained perfection in the other subjects? Are you proof against deception in handling small change? If you see a pretty wench, do you resist the sense-impression? If your neighbor receives an inheritance, do you not feel a twinge of envy? And is security of judgment now the only thing in which you fall short? Wretch, even while you are studying these very topics you tremble and are worried for fear someone despises you, and you ask whether anybody is saying anything about you. 10. And if someone should come and say, “A discussion arising as to who was the best of the philosophers, someone who was there said that So-and-so was the only real philosopher,” immediately your poor little one-inch soul shoots up a yard high. But if another party to the discussion says, “Nonsense, it’s a waste of time to listen to So-and-so. Why, what does he know? He has the rudiments, but nothing else,” you are beside yourself, you grow pale, immediately you shout, “I’ll show him who I am, that I am a great philosopher!” Yet we see what a man is by just such conduct. Why do you wish to show it by anything else? Do you not know that Diogenes showed one of the sophists thus, pointing out his middle finger at him, and then when the man was furious with rage, remarked, “That’s So-and-so; I’ve pointed him out to you.” For a man is not something like a stone or a stick of wood to be pointed out with a finger, but when one shows a man’s judgments, then one shows him as a man.

Let us take a look at your judgments too. Is it not evident that you set no value on your own moral purpose, but look beyond to the things that lie outside the province of the moral purpose, namely, what So-and-so will say, and what impression you will make, whether men will think you a scholar, or that you have read Chrysippus or Antipater? Why, if you have read them and Archedemus too, you have everything! Why are you any longer worried for fear you will not show us who you are? Do you wish me to tell you what kind of a man you have shown us that you are? A person who comes into our presence mean, hypercritical, quick-tempered, cowardly, finding fault with everything, blaming everybody, never quiet, vain-glorious; these are the qualities which you have exhibited to us. 15. Go away now and read Archedemus; then if a mouse falls down and makes a noise, you are dead with fright. For the same kind of death awaits you that carried off — what’s his name? — oh, yes, Crinus. He, too, was proud of himself because he could understand Archedemus. Wretch, are you not willing to let alone those things that do not concern you? They are appropriate for those who can study them without disturbance of spirit, who have the right to say, “I do not yield to anger, or sorrow, or envy; I am not subject to restraint, or to compulsion. What do I yet lack? I enjoy leisure, I have peace of mind. Let us see how we ought to deal with equivocal premises in arguments; let us see how a person may adopt an hypothesis and yet not be led to an absurd conclusion.” These things belong to men of that type. When men are prospering it is appropriate to light a fire, to take luncheon, and, if you will, even to sing and dance; but when the ship is already sinking you come up to me and start to hoist the topsails!

III: What is the subject-matter with which the good man has to deal; and what should be the chief object of our training?

The subject-matter with which the good and excellent man has to deal is his own governing principle, that of a physician and the masseur is the body, of a farmer is his farm; but the function of the good and excellent man is to deal with his impressions in accordance with nature. Now just as it is the nature of every soul to assent to the true, dissent from the false, and to withhold judgment in a matter of uncertainty, so it is its nature to be moved with desire toward the good, with aversion toward the evil, and feel neutral toward what is neither evil nor good. For just as neither the banker nor the greengrocer may legally refuse the coinage of Caesar, but if you present it, whether he will or no, he must turn over to you what you are purchasing with it, so it is also with the soul. The instant the good appears it attracts the soul to itself, while the evil repels the soul from itself. A soul will never refuse a clear sense-impression of good, any more than a man will refuse the coinage of Caesar, On this concept of the good hangs every impulse to act both of man and of God.

10. That is why the good is preferred above every form of kinship. My father is nothing to me, but only the good. “Are you so hard-hearted?” Yes, that is my nature. This is the coinage which God has given me. For that reason, if the good is something different from the noble and the just, then father and brother and country and all relationships simply disappear. But shall I neglect my good, so that you may have it, and shall I make way for you? What for? “I am your father.” But not a good. “I am your brother.” But not a good. If, however, we define the good as consisting in a right moral purpose, then the mere preservation of the relationships of life becomes a good; and furthermore, he who gives up some of the externals achieves the good. “My father is taking away my money,” But he is doing you no harm, “My brother is going to get the larger part of the farm,” Let him have all he wants. That does not help him at all to get a part of your modesty, does it, or of your fidelity, or of your brotherly love? Why, from a possession of this kind who can eject you? Not even Zeus. Nay, nor did He even wish to, but this matter He put under my control, and He gave it to me even as He had it Himself, free from hindrance, compulsion, restraint.

When, therefore, different persons have different pieces of coinage, a man offers the coin and gets what is bought by it. A thief has come to the province as Proconsul. What coinage does he use? Silver. Offer it and carry away what you wish. An adulterer has come. What coinage does he use? Frail wenches. “Take,” says one, “the coin and sell me the little baggage.” Give, and buy. Another is interested in boys. Give him the coin and take what you wish. Another is fond of hunting. Give him a fine horse or dog; with sighs and groans he will sell for it what you wish; for Another constrains him from within, the one who has established this currency.

It is chiefiy with this principle in mind that a man must exercise himself. Go out of the house at early dawn, and no matter whom you see or whom you hear, examine him and then answer as you would to a question. What did you see? A handsome man or a handsome woman? Apply your rule. Is it outside the province of the moral purpose, or inside? Outside. Away with it. 15. What did you see? A man in grief over the death of his child? Apply your rule. Death lies outside the province of the moral purpose. Out of the way with it. Did a Consul meet you? Apply your rule. What sort of thing is a consulship? Outside the province of the moral purpose, or inside? Outside. Away with it, too, it does not meet the test; throw it away, it does not concern you. If we had kept doing this and had exercised ourselves from dawn till dark with this principle in mind, — by the gods, something would have been achieved! But as it is, we are caught gaping straightway at every external impression that comes along, and we wake up a little only during the lecture, if indeed we do so even then. After that is over we go out, and if we see a man in grief, we say, “It is all over with him”; if we see a Consul, we say, “Happy man”; if we see an exile, “Poor fellow”; or a poverty-stricken person, “Wretched man, he has nothing with which to get a bite to eat.” These, then, are the vicious judgments which we ought to eradicate; this is the subject upon which we ought to concentrate our efforts. Why, what is weeping and sighing? A judgment. What is misfortune? A judgment. What are strife, disagreement, faultfinding, accusing, impiety, foolishness? They are all judgments, and that, too, judgments about things that lie outside the province of moral purpose, assumed to be good or evil. Let a man but transfer his judgments to matters that lie within the province of the moral purpose, and I guarantee that he will be steadfast, whatever be the state of things about him.

20. The soul is something like a bowl of water, and the external impressions something like the ray of light that falls upon the water. Now when the water is disturbed, it looks as though the ray of light is disturbed too, but it is not disturbed. And so, therefore, when a man has an attack of vertigo, it is not the arts and the virtues that are thrown into confusion, but the spirit in which they exist; and when this grows steady again, so do they too.

IV: To the man who took sides, in an undignified manner, while in a theater.

The Procurator of Epirus took the side of a comic actor in a somewhat undignified manner and was reviled by the people for doing so. Thereupon he brought word to Epictetus that he had been reviled, and gave expression to his indignation at the men who had so reviled him. Why, what wrong were they doing? said Epictetus. They too were taking sides, just as you yourself were. But when the other asked. Is that the way, then, in which a man takes sides? he replied, Yes, they saw you, their Governor, the friend and Procurator of Caesar, taking sides in this way, and weren’t they likely to take sides themselves in the same way? Why, if people should not take sides in this way, you had better not do so yourself; but if they should, why are you angry if they imitated you? For whom have the people to imitate but you, their superior? Whom do they look to but you, when they go to the theaters? “See,” says one of them, “how the Procurator of Caesar acts in the theater; he shouts; very well, I’ll shout too. He jumps up and down; I’ll jump up and down too. His claque of slaves sit in different parts of the house and shout, whereas I haven’t any slaves; very well, I’ll shout as loud as I can to make up for all of them.“ 5. You ought to know, then, that when you enter the theater, you enter as a standard of behavior and as an example to the rest, showing them how they ought to act in the theater. Why, then, did they revile you? Because every man hates what stands in his way. They wanted So-and-so to get the crown, while you wanted the other man to get it. They were standing in your way, and you in theirs. You turned out to be the stronger; they did what they could, and reviled what was standing in their way. What, then, do you wish? That you should be able to do what you wish, but that they should not even say what they wish? And what is there surprising in all that? Don’t the farmers revile Zeus, when he stands in their way? Don’t the sailors revile Zeus? Do men ever stop reviling Caesar? What then? Doesn’t Zeus know about it? Isn’t Caesar informed of what is said? What, then, does he do? He knows that if he punishes all who revile him he will have no one left to rule over. What then? Ought you upon entering the theater to say, “Come, let’s see that Sophron gets the crown”? and not rather, “Come, let me in this subject-matter maintain my moral purpose in accord with nature”? 10. No one is dearer to me than myself; it is absurd, therefore, for me to let myself be hurt in order that another man may win a victory as a comic actor. — Whom, then, do I wish to win the victory? The victor; and so the one whom I wish to win the victory will always win it. — But I wish Sophron to get the crown. — Stage as many contests as you will in your own house, and proclaim him victor in the Nemean, Pythian, Isthmian, and Olympic games; but out in public do not arrogate to yourself more than your due, and do not filch away a public privilege. Otherwise you must put up with being reviled; because, when you do the same things that the people do, you are putting yourself on their level.

V: To those who leave school because of illness.

I am ill here, says one of the students, and want to go back home. — What, were you free from illness at home? Do you not raise the question whether you are doing here any of the things that have a bearing upon your moral purpose, so that it shall be improved? For if you are not accomplishing anything, it was no use for you to have come in the first place. Go back and tend to your affairs at home. For if your governing principle cannot be brought into conformity with nature, no doubt your paltry piece of land can be made to conform with it. You will increase the amount of your small change; you will care for your father in his old age, you will walk up and down in the market, you will hold office; a poor wretch yourself, you will do wretchedly whatever comes next. But if you understand yourself, namely, that you are putting away certain bad judgments and taking on others in their place, and that you have transferred your status from what lies outside the province of the moral purpose to what lies inside the same, and that if ever you say “Alas!” you are speaking, not for your father’s sake, or your brother’s sake, but “for my own sake,” then why take account of illness any longer? 5. Do you not know that disease and death needs must overtake us, no matter what we are doing? They overtake the farmer at his work in the fields, the sailor on the sea. What do you wish to be doing when it overtakes you? For no matter what you do you will have to be overtaken by death. If you have anything better to be doing when you are so overtaken, get to work on that.

As for me, I would fain that death overtook me occupied with nothing but my own moral purpose, trying to make it tranquil, unhampered, unconstrained, free. This is what I wish to be engaged in when death finds me, so that I may be able to say to God, “Have I in any respect transgressed Thy commands? Have I in any respect misused the resources which Thou gavest me, or used my senses to no purpose, or my preconceptions? Have I ever found any fault with Thee? Have I blamed Thy governance at all? I fell sick, when it was Thy will; so did other men, but I willingly. I became poor, it being Thy will, but with joy, I have held no office, because Thou didst not will it, and I never set my heart upon office. Hast Thou ever seen me for that reason greatly dejected? Have I not ever come before Thee with a radiant countenance, ready for any injunctions or orders Thou mightest give? 10. And now it is Thy will that I leave this festival; I go, I am full of gratitude to Thee that Thou hast deemed me worthy to take part in this festival with Thee, and to see Thy works, and to understand Thy governance.” Be this my thought, this my writing, this my reading, when death comes upon me.

But my mother will not hold my head in her arms when I am ill. — Very well, go back to your mother; you are just the sort of person who deserves to have his head held in somebody’s arms when he is ill! — But at home I used to have a nice bed to lie on. — Go back to your bed; without doubt you deserve to lie on such a fine bed even when you are well! Pray, then, do not lose by staying here what you can do there.

But what does Socrates say? “As one man rejoices,” remarks he, “in improving his own farm, and another his own horse, so I rejoice day by day in following the course of my own improvement.” 15. In what respect; in little philosophic phrases? — Man, hold your tongue. — In little philosophic theories, then? — What are you doing? — Well, I don’t see anything else that the philosophers spend their time on. — Is it nothing in your eyes never to bring accusation against anyone, be it God or man? Never to blame anyone? Always to wear the same expression on one’s face, whether one is coming out or going in? These are the things which Socrates knew, and yet he never said that he either knew or taught anything. But if someone called for little philosophic phrases or theories, he used to take him over to Protagoras or Hippias. It was just as though someone had come to him for fresh vegetables, and he would have taken him over to the market gardener. Who, then, among you makes this purpose of Socrates the purpose of his own life? Why, if you did, you would have been glad even to be ill, and to go hungry, and to die. If any one of you was ever in love with a pretty wench, he knows that what I say is true.

VI: Some scattered sayings.

When someone asked how it was that, despite the greater amount of work which was done nowadays in logic, there was more progress made in former times, Epictetus replied. On what has labor been expended in our time, and in what was the progress greater in those days? For in that upon which labor has been expended in our time, progress also will be found in our time. The fact is that in our time labor has been expended upon the solution of syllogisms, and there is progress along that line; but in the early days not only had labor been expended upon maintaining the governing principle in a state of accord with nature, but there was also progress along that line. Do not, therefore, substitute one thing for the other, and do not expect, when you devote labor to one thing, to be making progress in another. But see whether any one of us who is devoting himself to keeping in a state of conformity with nature, and to spending his life so, fails to make progress. For you will find that there is none of whom that is true.

5. The good man is invincible; naturally, for he enters no contest where he is not superior. “If you want my property in the country,” says he, “take it; take my servants, take my office, take my paltry body. But you will not make my desire fail to get what I will, nor my aversion fall into what I would avoid.” This is the only contest into which the good man enters, one, namely, that is concerned with the things that belong in the province of the moral purpose; how, then, can he help but be invincible?

When someone asked him what “general perception” was, he replied. Just as a sense of hearing which distinguishes merely between sounds would be called “general,” but that which distinguishes between tones is no longer “general,” but “technical,” so there are certain things which those men who are not altogether perverted see by virtue of their general faculties. Such a mental constitution is called “general perception.”

It is not an easy thing to prevail upon soft young men; no, and you can’t catch soft cheese on a fishhook either — but the gifted young men, even if you try to turn them away, take hold of reason all the more firmly. And so also Rufus for the most part tried to dissuade men, using such efforts to dissuade as a means of discriminating between those who were gifted and those who were not. For he used to say, “Just as a stone, even if you throw it upwards, will fall downwards to earth by virtue of its very constitution, so is also the gifted man; the more one beats him back, the more he inclines toward his natural object.”

VII: A conversation with the Imperial Bailiff of the Free Cities, who was an Epicurean.

When the Imperial Bailiff, who was an Epicurean, came to visit him, Epictetus said: It is proper for us laymen to make inquiry of you philosophers what the best thing in the world is — just as those who have come to a strange town make inquiry of the citizens and people who are familiar with the place — so that, having learned what it is, we may go in quest of it ourselves and behold it, as do strangers with the sights in the cities. Now that three things belong to man, soul, and body, and things external, hardly anyone denies; all you have to do, then, is to answer the question, Which is the best? what are we going to tell men? The flesh? And was it for this that Maximus sailed all the way to Cassiope during the winter with his son, to see him on his way? Was it to have pleasure in the flesh? When the other had denied that and said “God forbid!” Epietetus continued: Is it not proper to have been very zealous for that which is best? — It is certainly most proper. — What have we better, then, than the flesh? — The soul, said he. — Are the goods of the best thing better, or those of the inferior? 5. — Those of the best thing. — Do goods of the soul belong in the sphere of the moral purpose, or do they not? — To the sphere of the moral purpose. — Is the pleasure of the soul, therefore, something that belongs in this sphere? — He agreed. — At what is this produced? At itself? But that is inconceivable. For we must assume that there is already in existence a certain antecedent essence of the good, by partaking of which we shall feel pleasure of soul. — He agreed to this also. — At what, then, are we going to feel this pleasure of soul? If it is at the goods of the soul, the essence of the good has already been discovered. For it is impossible that one thing be good, and yet that it is justifiable for us to take delight in something else; nor again, that when the antecedent is not good the consequent be good; because, in order to justify the consequent, the antecedent must be good. But say not so, you Epicureans, if you are in your right mind; for you will be saying what is inconsistent both with Epicurus and with the rest of your doctrines. The only thing left for you to say is that pleasure of soul is pleasure in the things of the body, and then they become matters of prime importance, and the true nature of the good.

10. That is why Maximus acted foolishly if he made his voyage for the sake of anything but the flesh, that is, for the sake of anything but the best. And a man acts foolishly too, if, when he is judge and able to take the property of other men, he keeps his hands off it. But, if you please, let us consider this point only, that the stealing be done secretly, safely, without anybody’s knowledge. For even Epicurus himself does not declare the act of theft evil, but only getting caught, and merely because it is impossible to feel certain that one will not be detected, he says, “Do not steal.” But I tell you that if it is done adroitly and circumspectly, we shall escape detection; besides that, we have influential friends in Rome, both men and women; and the Greeks are a feeble folk, none of them will have the courage to go up to Rome for that purpose. Why refrain from your own good? This is foolish, it is silly. And again, I shall not believe you, even if you tell me that you do refrain. 15. For just as it is impossible to assent to what is seen to be false, and to reject what is true, so it is impossible to reject what is seen to be good. Now wealth is a good, and when it comes to pleasures is, so to speak, the thing most productive of them. Why should you not acquire it? And why should we not seduce our neighbor’s wife, if we can escape detection? And if her husband talks nonsense, why should we not break his neck to boot? That is, if you wish to be a proper sort of philosopher, a perfect one, consistent with your own doctrines. If not, you will be no better than we who bear the name of Stoics; for we too talk of one thing and do another. We talk of the noble and do the base; but you will be perverse in the opposite way, laying down base doctrines, and doing noble deeds.

In the name of God, I ask you, can you imagine an Epicurean State? One man says, “I do not marry.” “Neither do I,” says another, “for people ought not to marry.” No, nor have children; no, nor perform the duties of a citizen. And what, do you suppose, will happen then? Where are the citizens to come from? Who will educate them? Who will be superintendent of the ephebi, or gymnasium director? Yes, and what will either of these teach them? What the young men of Lacedaemon or Athens were taught? 20. Take me a young man; bring him up according to your doctrines. Your doctrines are bad, subversive of the State, destructive to the family, not even fit for women. Drop these doctrines, man. You live in an imperial State; it is your duty to hold office, to judge uprightly, to keep your hands off the property of other people; no woman but your wife ought to look handsome to you, no boy handsome, no silver plate handsome, no gold plate. Look for doctrines consistent with these principles of conduct, doctrines which will enable you to refrain gladly from matters so persuasive to attract and to overpower a man. If, however, in addition to the persuasive power of the things just mentioned, we shall have gone ahead and invented also some such doctrine as this of yours, which helps to push us on into them, and gives them additional strength, what is going to happen?

In a piece of plate what is the best thing, the silver or the art? The substance of the hand is mere flesh, but the important thing is the works of the hand. 25. Now duties are of three kinds; first, those that have to do with mere existence, second, those that have to do with existence of a particular sort, and third, the principal duties themselves. So also in the case of man, it is not his material substance that we should honor, his bits of flesh, but the principal things. What are these? The duties of citizenship, marriage, begetting children, reverence to God, care of parents, in a word, desire, avoidance, choice, refusal, the proper performance of each one of these acts, and that is, in accordance with our nature. And what is our nature? To act as free men, as noble, as self-respecting. Why, what other living being blushes, what other comprehends the impression of shame? And it is our nature to subordinate pleasure to these duties as their servant, their minister, so as to arouse our interest and keep us acting in accordance with nature.

But I am rich and need nothing. — Why, then, do you still pretend to be a philosopher? Your gold and silver plate are enough to satisfy you; what do you need doctrines for? 30. — Yes, but I sit too as judge over the Hellenes. — Do you know how to sit as judge? What has brought you to know that? — Caesar wrote credentials for me. — Let him write you credentials that will allow you to sit as a judge in music and literature; and what good will it do you? However this may be, there is another question, and that is, how did you come to be a judge? Whose hand did you kiss — that of Symphorus or that of Numenius? In front of whose bedroom door did you sleep? To whom did you send presents? After all, don’t you recognize that the office of judge is worth exactly as much as Numenius is? — But I can throw whom I will into prison. — As you can a stone. — But I can have beaten to death with a club whom I will. — As you can an ass. — That is not governing men. Govern us as rational beings by pointing out to us what is profitable, and we will follow you; point out what is unprofitable, and we will turn away from it. Bring us to admire and emulate you, as Socrates brought men to admire and emulate him. He was the one person who governed people as men, in that he brought them to subject to him their desire, their aversion, their choice, their refusal. 35. “Do this; do not do this; otherwise I will throw you into prison.” Say that, and yours ceases to be a government as over rational beings. Nay, rather, say, “As Zeus has ordained, do this; if you do not do so, you will be punished, you will suffer injury.” What kind of injury? No injury but that of not doing what you ought; you will destroy the man of fidelity in you, the man of honor, the man of decent behavior. You need not look for greater injuries than these.

VIII: How ought we to exercise ourselves to deal with the impressions of our senses?

As we exercise ourselves to meet the sophistical interrogations, so we ought also to exercise ourselves daily to meet the impressions of our senses, because these too put interrogations to us. So-and-so’s son is dead. Answer, “That lies outside the sphere of the moral purpose, it is not an evil.” His father has disinherited So-and-so; what do you think of it? “That lies outside the sphere of the moral purpose, it is not an evil.” Caesar has condemned him. “That lies outside the sphere of the moral purpose, it is not an evil.” He was grieved at all this. “That lies within the sphere of the moral purpose, it is an evil.” He has borne up under it manfully. “That lies within the sphere of the moral purpose, it is a good.” Now if we acquire this habit, we shall make progress; for we shall never give our assent to anything but that of which we get a convincing sense-impression. 5. His son is dead. What happened? His son is dead. Nothing else? Not a thing. His ship is lost. What happened? His ship is lost. He was carried off to prison. What happened? He was carried off to prison. But the observation: “He has fared ill,” is an addition that each man makes on his own responsibility. “But,” you say, “Zeus does not do right in all this.” What makes you think so? Because He has made you capable of patient endurance, and high-minded, because He has taken from these things the quality of being evils, because you are permitted to suffer these things and still to be happy, because He has opened for you the door, whenever they are not to your good? Man, go out, and do not complain.

Hear how the Romans feel about philosophers, if you care to know. Italicus, who has a very great reputation among them as a philosopher, once, when I was present, got angry at his friends, as though he were suffering something intolerable, and said, “I cannot bear it: you are the death of me! you will make me just like him,” and pointed at me!

IX: To a certain rhetorician who was going to Rome for a lawsuit.

There came in to visit Epictetus one day a man who was on his way to Rome, where he was engaged in a lawsuit involving an honor to be bestowed on him. Epictetus asked what the reason was for the trip to the Capital, and the man proceeded to ask what opinion he had about the matter. If you ask me what you are going to do in Rome, says Epictetus, whether you will succeed or fail, I have no precept to offer. If, however, you ask how you are going to fare, I have this to say: If you have sound judgments, you will fare well; if unsound judgments, ill; since in every case the way a man fares is determined by his judgment. For what is it that made you eager to be elected patron of the people of Cnossos? Your judgment. What is it that impels you now to go up to Rome? Your judgment. And that in stormy weather, in danger, and at expense? — Yes, but I have to. — Who tells you that? Your judgment. Very well, then, if a man’s judgments determine everything, and if a man has unsound judgments, whatever be the cause such also will be the consequence. 5. Do we all, then, have sound judgments, both you and your opponent? If so, then how do you come to disagree? But do you have sound judgments rather than he? Why? You think so. So does he, and so do madmen. This is a poor criterion. But show me that you have made any study of your own judgments and have paid attention to them. And as now you are sailing to Rome so as to become patron of the men of Cnossos, and you are not satisfied to stay at home and keep the honors that you had, but you have set your heart upon something greater and more conspicuous, so did you ever make a voyage for the purpose of studying your own judgments, and of rejecting one, if it is unsound? Whom have you ever visited for this purpose? What time have you set yourself, what period of your life? Review the periods of your life, all to yourself, if you are ashamed to do so before me. When you were a boy were you in the habit of examining your judgments? Did you not habitually do what you then did just as you do everything now? And when you grew to be a youth and were attending the lectures of the rhetoricians, and were yourself practicing, what did you fancy that you yet lacked? And when you were a young man and began to take part in politics, and to plead cases yourself, and to have a good reputation, who any longer seemed in your eyes to be your equal? Would you under any circumstances have submitted to be put through an examination on the charge that you had wretched judgments? 10. Very well then, what do you wish me to say to you? — Help me in this affair. — I have no precepts to offer for this; and you too, if you came to me for this purpose, have not come to me as to a philosopher, but as to a vegetable-dealer, as to a cobbler. — To what end, then, do philosophers have precepts to offer? — To this end, that whatever happen, our governing principle shall be, and abide to the end, in accord with nature. Do you regard that as a trifle? — No; it is of the utmost moment. — What then? Does this require only a little time, and is it possible to acquire it on a passing visit? Acquire it, then, if you can!

Then you will say, “When I met Epictetus it was like meeting a stone, a statue.” Yes, for you took a look at me, and nothing more. The person who meets a man as a man is one who learns to understand the other’s judgments, and in his turn exhibits his own. Learn to know my judgments; show me your own, and then say you have met me. Let us put one another to the test; if I cherish any evil judgment, take it away; if you cherish one, bring it forward. That is what it means to meet a philosopher. Oh no; but your way is: “We are passing, and while we are hiring our ship, we have a chance to take a look at Epictetus; let’s see what in the world he has to say.” Then you leave with the remark: “Epictetus was nothing at all, his language was full of solecisms and barbarisms.” What else were you capable of judging, when you came in like that?

15. “But,” says someone, “if I devote myself to these things, I shall not own a farm any more than you do, I shall not have silver goblets any more than you, or fine cattle any more than you.” To all this it is perhaps enough to answer: ”I do not need them; but you, even if you acquire many possessions, need still others, and whether you will or not, are more poverty-stricken than I am.” — What, then, do I need? — What you do not have; steadfastness, your mind in a state of conformity with nature, freedom from vexation of spirit. Patron or not patron, what do I care? But you care. I am richer than you are; I am not worried about what Caesar is going to think of me; I flatter no man for that purpose. All this is what I have as an offset to your silver plate, and your gold plate. You have furnishings of gold, but your reason, your judgments, your assent, your choice, your desire — of earthenware. But when I have these in a state of conformity with nature, why should I not take up logic also as a sort of hobby? For, I have plenty of leisure; my mind is not being dragged this way and that. What shall I do, seeing there is nothing that disturbs me? What have I which more becomes a man than this? You and your kind when you have nothing to do are restless, 20. go to the theater, or wander up and down aimlessly. Why should not the philosopher develop his own reason? You turn to vessels of crystal, I to the syllogism called “The Liar”; you to myrrhine ware, I to the syllogism called “The Denyer.” Everything that you already have seems small in your sight, but everything that I have seems important to me. Your strong desire is insatiate, mine is already satisfied. The same thing happens to the children who put their hand down into a narrow-necked jar and try to take out figs and nuts: if they get their hand full, they can’t get it out, and then they cry. Drop a few and you will get it out. And so do you too drop your desire; do not set your heart upon many things and you will obtain.

X: How ought we to bear our illnesses?

When the need arises for each separate judgment, we ought to have it ready; at lunch our judgments about lunch, at the bath our judgments about a bath, in bed our judgments about a bed.

“Also allow not sleep to draw nigh to your languorous eyelids,
Ere you have reckoned up each several deed of the daytime:
‘Where went I wrong? Did what? And what to be done was left undone?’
Starting from this point review, then, your acts, and thereafter remember:
Censure yourself for the acts that are base, but rejoice in the goodly.”

And keep these verses on hand to use, not by way of exclamations, as we cry, “Paean Apollo!” 5. Again, in a fever have ready the judgments which apply to that. Let us not, if we fall into a fever, abandon and forget all our principles, saying: “If I ever study philosophy again, let anything happen that will! I’ll have to go away somewhere and take care of my poor body.” Yes indeed, if fever does not go there too! But what is philosophy? Does it not mean making preparation to meet the things that come upon us? Do you not understand, then, that what you are saying amounts to something like this: “If I ever again prepare to bear quietly the things that come upon me, let anything happen that will”? It is just as if a man should give up the pancratium because he has received blows. The only difference is that in the pancratium a man may stop, and so avoid a severe beating, but in life, if we stop the pursuit of philosophy, what good does it do? What, then, ought a man to say to himself at each hardship that befalls him? “It was for this that I kept training, it was to meet this that I used to practice.” God says to you, “Give Me proof, whether you have striven lawfully, eaten what is prescribed, taken exercise, heeded your trainer.” After that, do you flinch when the time for action arrives? Now it is time for your fever, let it come upon you in the right way; for thirst, bear your thirst in the right way; to go hungry, bear hunger in the right way. It is not in your power, you say? Who is there to prevent you? Nay, your physician will prevent you from drinking, but he cannot prevent you from thirsting in the right way; and he will prevent you from eating, but he cannot prevent you from bearing hunger in the right way.

10. But am I not a scholar? — And for what purpose do you devote yourself to scholarship? Slave, is it not that you may be happy? Is it not that you may be secure? Is it not that you may conform to nature and live your life in that way. What prevents you, when you have a fever, from having your governing principle conform with nature? Here is the proof of the matter, the test of the philosopher. For this too is a part of life; like a stroll, a voyage, a journey, such is also a fever. I presume you do not read while taking a stroll, do you? — No. — No more than when you have a fever. But if you stroll in the right way, you perform what is expected of a stroller; if you have fever in the right way, you perform the things expected of the man who has a fever. What does it mean to have fever in the right way? Not to blame God, or man, not to be overwhelmed by what happens to you, to await death bravely and in the right way, to do what is enjoined upon you; when your physician comes to see you, not to be afraid of what he will say, and at the same time not to be carried away with joy, if he says, “You are doing splendidly”; for what good to you lay in that remark? Why, when you were well, what good was it to you? It means not to be downhearted, too, if he says, “You are in a bad way.” For what does it mean to be in a bad way? That you are close to a separation of the soul from the body. What, then, is terrifying about that? If you do not draw near now, will you not draw near later? And is the cosmos going to be upset when you die? 15. Why, then, do you wheedle your physician? Why do you say, “If you wish, Master, I shall get well”? Why do you give him occasion to put on airs? Why not give him just what is his due? As I give the shoemaker his due about my foot, the builder his due about my house, so also the physician his due about my paltry body, something that is not mine, something that is by nature dead. These are the things that the moment demands for a man who is in a fever; if he meets these demands, he has what properly belongs to him. For it is not the business of the philosopher to guard these external matters — neither his paltry wine, nor his paltry oil, nor his paltry body — but what? His own governing principle. And how treat externals? Only so far as not to act thoughtlessly about them. What proper occasion is there, then, any longer for fear? What proper occasion, then, any longer for anger? Or for fear about things that are not his own concern, worthless things? For here are the two principles that you ought to have ready at hand: Outside the sphere of the moral purpose there is nothing either good or bad; and. We ought not to lead events, but to follow them. “My brother ought not to have treated me so.” No; but it is for him to look to that. As for me, no matter how he behaves, I shall observe all my relations to him as I ought. For this is my part, the other does not belong to me; in this nobody can hinder me, the other is subject to hindrance.

XI: Some scattered sayings.

There are certain punishments, assigned as it were by law, for those who are disobedient to the divine dispensation. “Whoever shall regard as good anything but the things that fall within the scope of his moral purpose, let him envy, yearn, flatter, feel disturbed; whoever shall regard anything else as evil, let him sorrow, grieve, lament, be unhappy.” Nevertheless, for all that we are so severely punished, we cannot desist.

Remember what the poet says about the stranger:

Stranger, I may not with right dishonor a stranger, not even
Worse man were he than art thou; for of God are all strangers and beggars.

This, then, is what one should have ready to use in the case of a father: “I may not rightfully dishonor a father, not even if a worse man than art thou should come; for of Zeus, the God of Fathers, are they all”; and so in the case of a brother: “For of Zeus, the God of Kindred, are they all.” And similarly, in the other social relations, we shall find Zeus overseeing them all.

XII: Of training.

We ought not to take our training in things that are unnatural or fantastic, since in that case we who profess to be philosophers will be no better than the mountebanks. For it is a hard thing also to walk a tight-rope, and not merely hard but dangerous too. Ought we also for this reason to practice walking a tight-rope, or setting up a palm, or throwing our arms about statues? Not a bit of it. Not every difficult and dangerous thing is suitable for training, but only that which is conducive to success in achieving the object of our effort. And what is the object of our effort? To act without hindrance in choice and in aversion. And what does this mean? Neither to fail to get what we desire, nor to fall into what we would avoid. Toward this end, therefore, our training also should tend. 5. For since it is impossible without great and constant training to secure that our desire fail not to attain, and our aversion fall not into what it would avoid, be assured that, if you allow training to turn outward, toward the things that are not in the realm of the moral purpose, you will have neither your desire successful in attaining what it would, nor your aversion successful in avoiding what it would. And since habit is a powerful influence, when we have accustomed ourselves to employ desire and aversion only upon these externals, we must set a contrary habit to counteract this habit, and where the very slippery nature of sense-impressions is in play, there we must set our training as a counteracting force.

I am inclined to pleasure; I will betake myself to the opposite side of the rolling ship, and that beyond measure, so as to train myself I am inclined to avoid hard work; I will strain and exercise my sense-impressions to this end, so that my aversion from everything of this kind shall cease. For who is the man in training? He is the man who practices not employing his desire, and practices employing his aversion only upon the things that are within the sphere of his moral purpose, yes, and practices particularly in the things that are difficult to master. And so different men will have to practice particularly to meet different things. To what purpose is it, then, under these conditions, to set up a palm tree, or to carry around a leather tent, or a mortar and pestle? 10. Man, practice, if you are arrogant, to submit when you are reviled, not to be disturbed when you are insulted. then you will make such progress, that, even if someone strikes you, you will say to yourself, “Imagine that you have thrown your arms about a statue.” Next train yourself to use wine with discretion, not with a view to heavy drinking (for there are some clumsy fools who practice with this in mind), but first for the purpose of achieving abstention from wine, and keeping your hands off a wench, or a sweet-cake. And then some day, if the occasion for a test really comes, you will enter the lists at a proper time for the sake of discovering whether your sense-impressions still overcome you just as they did before. But first of all flee far away from the things that are too strong for you. It is not a fair match that, between a pretty wench and a young beginner in philosophy. “A pot,” as they say, “and a stone do not go together.”

After your desire and your aversion the next topic has to do with your choice and refusal. Here the object is to be obedient to reason, not to choose or to refuse at the wrong time, or the wrong place, or contrary to some other similar propriety.

The third topic has to do with cases of assent; it is concerned with the things that are plausible and attractive. 15. For, just as Socrates used to tell us not to live a life unsubjected to examination, so we ought not to accept a sense-impression unsubjected to examination, but should say, “Wait, allow me to see who you are and whence you come” (just as the night-watch say, “Show me your tokens”). “Do you have your token from nature, the one which every sense-impression which is to be accepted must have?” And, in conclusion, all the methods which are applied to the body by the persons who are giving it exercise, might also themselves be conducive to training, if in some such way as this they tend toward desire and aversion; but if they tend toward display, they are characteristic of a man who has turned toward the outside world, and is hunting for something other than the thing itself which he is doing, and is looking for spectators who will say, “Ah, what a great man!” It is this consideration that renders admirable the remark that Apollonius used to make: “When you wish to train for your own sake, then when you are thirsty some hot day take a mouthful of cold water, and spit it out — and don’t tell anybody about it!”

XIII: The meaning of a forlorn state, and the kind of person a forlorn man is.

A forlorn state is the condition of one who is without help. For a man is not forlorn merely because he is alone, any more than a man in the midst of a crowd is necessarily not forlorn. At all events, when we have lost a brother, or a son, or a friend with whom we have shared the same bed, we say that we have been left forlorn, though often we are in Rome, with such large crowds meeting us in the streets, and so many people living in the same house with us, and sometimes even though we have a multitude of slaves. For according to the nature of the concept the ‘forlorn’ means the person who is without help, and exposed to those who wish to injure him. That is why, when we go on a journey, we call ourselves forlorn most especially at the moment that we encounter robbers. For it is not the sight of a human being as such which puts an end to our forlorn condition, but the sight of a faithful, and unassuming, and helpful human being. Why, if being alone is enough to make one forlorn, you will have to say that even Zeus himself is forlorn at the World-Conflagration, and bewails himself: “Wretched me! I have neither Hera, nor Athena, nor Apollo, nor, in a word, brother, or son, or grandson, or kinsman.” 5. There are even those who say that this is what he does when left alone at the World-Conflagration; for they cannot conceive of the mode of life of one who is all alone, starting as they do from a natural principle, namely, the facts of natural community of interest among men, and mutual affection, and joy in intercourse. But one ought none the less to prepare oneself for this also, that is, to be able to be self-sufficient, to be able to commune with oneself; even as Zeus communes with himself, and is at peace with himself, and contemplates the character of his governance, and occupies himself with ideas appropriate to himself, so ought we also to be able to converse with ourselves, not to be in need of others, not to be at a loss for some way to spend our time; we ought to devote ourselves to the study of the divine governance, and of our own relation to all other things; to consider how we used to act toward the things that happen to us, and how we act now; what the things are that still distress us; how these too can be remedied, or how removed; if any of these matters that I have mentioned need to be brought to perfection, to perfect them in accordance with the principle of reason inherent in them.

Behold now, Caesar seems to provide us with profound peace, there are no wars any longer, nor battles, no brigandage on a large scale, nor piracy, but at any hour we may travel by land, or sail from the rising of the sun to its setting. 10. Can he, then, at all provide us with peace from fever too, and from shipwreck too, and from fire, or earthquake, or lightning? Come, can he give us peace from love? He cannot. From sorrow? From envy? He cannot — from absolutely none of these things. But the doctrine of the philosophers promises to give us peace from these troubles too. And what does it say? “Men, if you heed me, wherever you may be, whatever you may be doing, you will feel no pain, no anger, no compulsion, no hindrance, but you will pass your lives in tranquility and in freedom from every disturbance.” When a man has this kind of peace proclaimed to him, not by Caesar — why, how could he possibly proclaim it? — but proclaimed by God through the reason, is he not satisfied, when he is alone? When he contemplates and reflects, “Now no evil can befall me, for me there is no such thing as a brigand, for me there is no such thing as an earthquake, everything is full of peace, everything full of tranquility; every road, every city, every fellow-traveler, neighbor, companion, all are harmless. Another, whose care it is, supplies food; Another supplies raiment; Another has given senses; Another preconceptions. Now whenever He does not provide the necessities for existence, He sounds the recall; He has thrown open the door and says to you, “Go.” Where? To nothing you need fear, but back to that from which you came, to what is friendly and akin to you, to the physical elements. 15. What there was of fire in you shall pass into fire, what there was of earth into earth, what there was of spirit into spirit, what there was of water into water. There is no Hades, nor Acheron, nor Cocytus, nor Pyriphlegethon, but everything is filled with gods and divine powers.” A man who has this to think upon, and who beholds the sun, and moon, and stars, and enjoys land and sea, is no more forlorn than he is without help. “Why, what then? What if someone should attack me when I am alone and murder me?” Fool, not murder you but your trivial body.

What kind of forlornness is left, then, to talk about? What kind of helplessness? Why make ourselves worse than little children? When they are left alone, what do they do? They gather up sherds and dust and build something or other, then tear it down and build something else again; and so they are never at a loss as to how to spend their time. Am I, then, if you set sail, to sit down and cry because I am left alone and forlorn in that fashion? Shan’t I have sherds, shan’t I have dust? But they act thus out of folly, and are we miserable out of wisdom?

20. Great power is always dangerous for the beginner. We ought, therefore, to bear such things according to our power — nay, in accordance with nature … but not for the consumptive. Practice at some one time a style of living like an invalid, that at some other time you may live like a healthy man. Take no food, drink only water; refrain at some one time altogether from desire, that at some other time you may exercise desire, and then with good reason. And if you do so with good reason, whenever you have some good in you, you will exercise your desire aright. No, that’s not our way, but we wish to live like wise men from the very start, and to help mankind. Help indeed! What are you about? Why, have you helped yourself? But you wish to help them progress. Why, have you made progress yourself? Do you wish to help them? Then show them, by your own example, the kind of men philosophy produces, and stop talking nonsense. As you eat, help those who are eating with you; as you drink, those who are drinking with you; by yielding to everybody, giving place, submitting — help men in this way, and don’t bespatter them with your own sputum.

XIV: Some scattered sayings.

As the good chorus-singers in tragedy cannot render solos, but can sing perfectly well with a number of other voices, so some men cannot walk around by themselves. Man, if you are anybody, both walk around by yourself, and talk to yourself, and don’t hide yourself in the chorus. Let yourself be laughed at sometimes, look about you, shake yourself up, so as to find out who you actually are.

Whenever a man drinks water only, or has some ascetic practice, he takes every opportunity to talk about it to everybody: “I drink water only.” 5. Why, do you drink water just for the sake of drinking water? Man, if it is good for you to drink water, drink it! Otherwise your conduct is absurd. But if it does you good and you drink water only, don’t say a word about it to the people who are annoyed by such persons. Why, what’s your object? Are these just the ones you wish to please?

Among actions some are performed primarily on their own account, others on occasion, or as a matter of good management, or as required by tact, or as part of a formal plan.

Here are two things of which one must rid men, conceit and diffidence. Now conceit is to fancy that one needs nothing further. And diffidence is to assume that one cannot enjoy a life of serenity under so many adverse circumstances. Now conceit is removed by cross-examination, and this is what Socrates starts with. … But that the matter is not impossible, consider and search — this kind of search will do you no harm; 10. and, indeed, to philosophize practically amounts to this, that is, to search how it is possible to employ desire and aversion without hindrance.

“I am superior to you, for my father has consular rank.” Another says, “I have been a tribune, and you have not.” And if we were horses, you would be saying: “My sire was swifter than yours,” or, “I have quantities of barley and fodder,” or, “I have pretty neck-trappings.” What then, if, when you were talking like this, I said, “Granted all that, let’s run a race, then”? Come now, is there, then, nothing in man like running in the case of a horse, whereby the worse and the better will be recognized? Isn’t there such a thing as reverence, faith, justice? Prove yourself superior in these points, in order to be superior as a human being. If you tell me, “I can deliver a mighty kick,” I shall say to you in my turn, “You are proud over what is the act of an ass.”

XV: That we ought to approach each separate thing with circumspection.

In each separate thing that you do consider the matters which come first, and those which follow after, and only then approach the thing itself. Otherwise, at the start you will come to it enthusiastically because you have never reflected upon any of the subsequent steps, but later on, when some of them appear, you will give up disgracefully. “I wish to win an Olympic victory.” But consider the matters which come before that and those which follow after; and only when you have done that, then, if it profits you, put your hand to the task. You have to submit to discipline, follow a strict diet, give up sweet-cakes, train under compulsion, at a fixed hour, in heat or in cold; you must not drink cold water, nor wine just whenever you feel like it; you must have turned yourself over to your trainer precisely as you would to a physician. Then when the contest comes on, you have to “dig in” beside your opponent, sometimes dislocate your wrist, sprain your ankle, swallow quantities of sand, take a scourging; yes, and then sometimes get beaten along with all that. 5. After you have counted up these points, go on into the games, if you still wish to; otherwise, I would have you observe that you will be turning back like children. Sometimes they play athletes, again gladiators, again they blow trumpets, and then act a play about anything that they have seen and admired. So you too are now an athlete, now a gladiator, then a philosopher, after that a rhetorician, yet with your whole soul nothing, but like an ape you imitate whatever you see, and one thing after another is always striking your fancy, but what you are accustomed to bores you. For you have never gone out after anything with circumspection, nor after you have examined the whole matter all over and tested it, but you act at haphazard and half-heartedly.

In the same way, when some people have seen a philosopher and heard someone speaking like Euphrates (though, indeed, who can speak like him?), they wish to be philosophers themselves. Man, consider first what the business is, and then your own natural ability, what you can bear. If you wish to be a wrestler, look to your shoulders, your thighs, your loins. 10. For one man has a natural talent for one thing, another for another. Do you suppose that you can do the things you do now, and yet be a philosopher? Do you suppose that you can eat in the same fashion, drink in the same fashion, give way to anger and to irritation, just as you do now? You must keep vigils, work hard, overcome certain desires, abandon your own people, be despised by a paltry slave, be laughed to scorn by those who meet you, in everything get the worst of it, in office, in honor, in court. Look these drawbacks over carefully, and then, if you think best, approach philosophy, that is, if you are willing at the price of these things to secure tranquility, freedom, and calm. Otherwise, do not approach; don’t act like a child — now a philosopher, later on a tax-gatherer, then a rhetorician, then a procurator of Caesar. These things do not go together. You must be one person, either good or bad; you must labor to improve either your own governing principle or externals; you must work hard either on the inner man, or on things outside; that is, play the rôle of a philosopher, or else that of a layman.

When Galba was assassinated, someone said to Rufus, “Is the cosmos governed now by Providence?” But he replied, “Did I ever, even in passing, take the case of Galba as the basis for an argument that the cosmos is governed by Providence?”

XVI: That one should enter cautiously into social intercourse.

The man who consorts frequently with one person or another either for conversation, or for banquets, or for social purposes in general, is compelled either to become like them himself, or else to bring them over to his own style of living; for if you put by the side of a live coal one that has gone out, either the dead coal will put the live one out, or the latter will kindle the former. Since the risk, then, is so great, we ought to enter cautiously into such social intercourse with the laymen, remembering that it is impossible for the man who brushes up against the person who is covered with soot to keep from getting some soot on himself. For what are you going to do if he talks about gladiators, or horses, or athletes, or, worse still, about people: “So-and-so is bad, So-and-so is good; this was well done, this ill”; or again, if he scoffs, or jeers, or shows an ugly disposition? 5. Has any of you the capacity of the expert lyre-player when he takes up his lyre, which enables him, the instant he touches the strings, to recognize the ones that are off pitch, and to tune the instrument? Or the power that Socrates had, which enabled him in every kind of social intercourse to bring over to his own side those who were in his company? How could you have? But you must necessarily be converted by the laymen.

Why, then, are they stronger than you are? Because their rotten talk is based on judgments, but your fine talk comes merely from your lips; that’s why what you say is languid and dead, and why a man may well feel nausea when he hears your exhortations and your miserable “virtue,” which you babble to and fro. And thus the laymen get the better of you; for everywhere judgment is strong, judgment is invincible. Therefore, until these fine ideas of yours are firmly fixed within you, and you have acquired some power which will guarantee you security, my advice to you is to be cautious about joining issue with the laymen; otherwise whatever you write down in the lecture-room will melt away by day like wax in the sun. 10. Retire, then, to some spot or other far away from the sun, so long as the ideas which you have are waxen. It is for this reason that the philosophers advise us to leave even our own countries, because old habits distract us and do not allow a beginning to be made of another custom, and we cannot bear to have men meet us and say, “Look, So-and-so is philosophizing, although he is this sort of a person or that.” Thus also physicians send away to a different region and a different climate those who are suffering from chronic disorders, and that is well. Do you also introduce different habits; fix your ideas, exercise yourselves in them. But no, you go from the class-room to a show, a gladiatorial combat, a gymnasium-colonnade, a circus; and then you come back here from these places, and you go back there again from here, and remain the same persons all the time. 15. And so you acquire no fine habit; you pay no regard or attention to your own self; you do not observe: “How do I deal with the external impressions which befall me? In accordance with nature, or contrary to it? How shall I respond to these impressions? As I should, or as I should not? Do I declare to the things which lie outside the sphere of my moral purpose that they mean nothing to me?” Why, if you have not yet acquired this state of mind, flee from your former habits, flee from the laymen, if you would begin to be somebody some time.

XVII: Of Providence.

Whenever you find fault with Providence, only consider and you will recognize that what happens is in accordance with reason. “Yes,” you say, “but the wicked man is better off.” In what respect? In money; for in respect to that he is superior to you, because he flatters, is shameless, lies awake nights. What is surprising in that? But look rather and see if he is better off than you are in being faithful, and considerate. For you will not find that to be the case; but where you are superior, there you will find that you are better off than he is. And so I once asked a man who was complaining about the prosperity of Philostorgus, “Would you have been willing to cohabit with Sura?” “May that day never come!” said he. 5. Why, then, are you indignant if he gets something for what he sells? Or how can you deem him blessed who acquires what he has by means which you abhor? Or what harm does Providence do if it gives the better thing to the better men? Or is it not better to be considerate than to be rich? He agreed that it was. Why, then, are you indignant, man, when you have the better part? I would have the rest of you always remember, then, and be ready to apply the following truth: That this is a law of nature for the superior to have the better of the inferior, in the respect in which he is superior; and then you will never be indignant. “But my wife treats me badly.” Very well; if someone asks you what this amounts to, say, “My wife treats me badly.” “Nothing else, then?” Nothing. “My father doesn’t give me anything” … But is it necessary in your own mind to add to the preceding statement, that to receive nothing from your father is an evil, and at that to add a lie too? For this reason we ought not to cast out poverty, but only our judgment about poverty, and so we shall be serene.

XVIII: That we ought not to allow any news to disturb us.

Whenever some disturbing news is reported to you, you ought to have ready at hand the following principle: News, on any subject, never falls within the sphere of the moral purpose. Can anyone bring you word that you have been wrong in an assumption or in a desire? — By no means. — But he can bring you word that someone is dead. Very well, what is that to you? That someone is speaking ill of you. Very well, what is that to you? That your father is making certain preparations. Against whom? Surely not against your moral purpose, is it? Why, how can he? But against your paltry body, against your paltry possessions; you are safe, it is not against you. But the judge condemns you on the charge of impiety. And did not the judges similarly condemn Socrates? Surely it is no concern of yours that the judge pronounced you guilty, is it? — No. — Why, then, are you any further concerned? 5. Your father has a certain function, and if he does not perform it, he has destroyed the father in him, the man who loves his offspring, the man of gentleness within him. Do not seek to make him lose anything else on this account. For it never happens that a man goes wrong in one thing, but is injured in another. Again, it is your function to defend yourself firmly, respectfully, without passion. Otherwise, you have destroyed within you the son, the respectful man, the man of honor. What then? Is the judge secure? No; but he too runs just as great a risk. Why, then, are you afraid of what decision he is going to render? What have you to do with another man’s evil? Your own evil is to make a bad defense; only guard against that, but just as being condemned or not being condemned is another’s function, so it is another’s evil. “So-and-so threatens you.” Me? No. “He blames you.” He himself will attend to how he is performing his own proper function. “He is on the point of condemning you unjustly.” Poor devil!

XIX: What is the position of the layman, and what that of the philosopher?

The first difference between a layman and a philosopher: The one says, “Woe is me because of my child, my brother, woe because of my father”; and the other, if he can ever be compelled to say, “Woe is me,” adds, after a pause, “because of myself.” For nothing outside the sphere of the moral purpose can hamper or injure the moral purpose; it alone can hamper or injure itself. If, then, we too tend in this latter direction so that, whenever we go amiss, we blame ourselves, and bear in mind that nothing but judgment is responsible for the disturbance of our peace of mind and our inconstancy, I swear to you by all the gods that we have been making progress. But as it is, we have taken a different course from the start. Even while we were still children, our nurse, if ever we bumped into something, when we were going along with our mouths open, did not scold us, but used to beat the stone. Why, what did the stone do? Ought it to have moved out of the road because of your childish folly? 5. And again, if we when children don’t find something to eat after our bath, our attendant never checks our appetite, but he cudgels the cook. Man, we didn’t make you the cook’s attendant, did we? but our child’s. Correct him, help him. So, even when we have grown up, we look like children. For it is being a child to be unmusical in things musical, to he unlettered in things literary, to be uneducated in life.

XX: That it is possible to derive advantage from everything external.

In the case of our intellectual impressions practically all men have agreed that the good and the evil are in ourselves, and not in externals. Nobody calls the statement that it is day, good, or that it is night, bad, and the greatest of evils, the statement that three is four. But what? They call knowledge good, and error evil; so that even in regard to what is false there arises a good, that is, the knowledge that the false is false. So it ought to be, then, also with our life. Is health a good, and illness an evil? No, man. What then? To be well for a good end is good, to be well for an evil end is evil. — So that it is possible to derive advantage even from illness, you mean? — Why, I call God to witness, isn’t it possible to derive advantage from death? Why, isn’t it possible from lameness? 5. Do you think that Menoeceus derived but little good when he died? — May the one who says anything like that derive the same sort of good that he did! — Ho, there, man, did he not maintain the patriot that he was, the high-minded man, the man of fidelity, the man of honor? And had he lived on, would he not have lost all these? Would he not have won the very opposite? Would he not have acquired the character of the coward, the ignoble man, the disloyal, the lover of his own life? Come now, do you think that Menoeceus derived but little good by his death? Oh, no! But the father of Admetus derived great good from living so ignobly and wretchedly, did he? Why, didn’t he die later? Make an end, I adjure you by the gods, of admiring material things, make an end of turning yourselves into slaves, in the first place, of things, and then, in the second place, on their account, slaves also of the men who are able to secure or to take away these things.

Is it possible, then, to derive advantage from these things? — Yes, from everything. — Even from the man who reviles me? — And what good does his wrestling-companion do the athlete? The very greatest. So also my reviler becomes one who prepares me for my contest; he exercises my patience, my dispassionateness, my gentleness. 10. You say: No. But the man who lays hold of my neck and gets my loins and my shoulders into proper shape helps me, and the rubber does well when he says, “Lift the pestle with both hands,” and the heavier it is, the more good I get out of doing so; whereas, if a man trains me to be dispassionate, does he do me no good? Your attitude means that you do not know how to derive advantage from men. Is your neighbor bad? Yes, for himself; but for me he is good; he exercises my good disposition, my fair-mindedness. Is your father bad? Yes, for himself; but for me he is good. This is the magic wand of Hermes. “Touch what you will,” the saying goes, “and it will turn into gold.” Nay, but bring whatever you will and I will turn it into a good. Bring disease, bring death, bring poverty, reviling, peril of life in court; all these things will become helpful at a touch from the magic wand of Hermes. “What will you make of death?” Why, what else but make it your glory, or an opportunity for you to show in deed thereby what sort of person a man is who follows the will of nature. “What will you make of disease?” I will show its character, I will shine in it, I will be firm, I will be serene, I will not fawn upon my physician, I will not pray for death. 15. What else do you still seek? Everything that you give I will turn into something blessed, productive of happiness, august, enviable.

Not so you; but, “Watch out that you don’t get ill; it’s bad.” Just as if someone said, “Watch out that you never get the impression that three are four; it’s bad.” Man, how do you mean “bad”? If I get the right idea of it, how is it going to hurt me anymore? Will it not rather even do me good? If, then, I get the right idea about poverty, or disease, or not holding office, am I not satisfied? Will they not be helpful to me? How, then, would you have me seek any longer amongst externals for things evil and things good?

But what? These things go thus far, but nobody takes them home with him; nay, as soon as we leave here, there is war on with our slave attendant, our neighbors, those that mock, and those that laugh at us. Blessed be Lesbius, because he convicts me every day of knowing nothing!

XXI: To those who enter light heartedly upon the profession of lecturing.

Those who have learned the principles and nothing else are eager to throw them up immediately, just as persons with a weak stomach throw up their food. First digest your principles, and then you will surely not throw them up this way. Otherwise they are mere vomit, foul stuff and unfit to eat. But after you have digested these principles, show us some change in your governing principle that is due to them; as the athletes show their shoulders as the results of their exercising and eating, and as those who have mastered the arts can show the results of their learning. The builder does not come forward and say, “Listen to me deliver a discourse about the art of building”; but he takes a contract for a house, builds it, and thereby proves that he possesses the art. 5. Do something of the same sort yourself too; eat as a man, drink as a man, adorn yourself, marry, get children, be active as a citizen; endure revilings, bear with an unreasonable brother, father, son, neighbor, fellow-traveler. Show us that you can do these things, for us to see that in all truth you have learned something of the philosophers. No, but “Come and listen to me deliver my comments,” you say. Go to! Look for people on whom to throw up! “Yes, but I will set forth to you the doctrines of Chrysippus as no one else can; his language I will analyse so as to make it perfectly clear; possibly I will throw in a bit of the vivacity of Antipater and Archedemus.”

And then it’s for this, is it, that the young men are to leave their fatherlands and their own parents, — to come and listen to you interpreting trifling phrases? Ought they not to be, when they return home, forbearing, ready to help one another, tranquil, with a mind at peace, possessed of some such provision for the journey of life, that, starting out with it, they will be able to bear well whatever happens, and to derive honor from it? 10. And where did you get the ability to impart to them these things which you do not possess yourself? Why, from the first did you ever do anything but wear yourself out over the question how solutions can be found for syllogisms, for the arguments that involve equivocal premises, and those which derive syllogisms by the process of interrogation? “But So-and-so lectures; why shouldn’t I too?” Slave, these things are not done recklessly, nor at random, but one ought to be of a certain age, and lead a certain kind of life, and have God as his guide. You say: No. But no man sails out of a harbor without first sacrificing to the gods and invoking their aid, nor do men sow hit-or-miss, but only after first calling upon Demeter; and yet will a man, if he has laid his hand to so great a task as this without the help of the gods, be secure in so doing, and will those who come to him be fortunate in so coming? What else are you doing, man, but vulgarizing the Mysteries, and saying, “There is a chapel at Eleusis; see, there is one here too. There is a hierophant there; I too will make a hierophant. There is a herald there; I too will appoint a herald. There is a torch-bearer there; I too will have a torch-bearer. There are torches there; and here too. The words said are the same; and what is the difference between what is done here and what is done there?”? Most impious man, is there no difference? Are the same acts helpful, if they are performed at the wrong place and at the wrong time? Nay, but a man ought to come also with a sacrifice, and with prayers, and after a preliminary purification, and with his mind predisposed to the idea that he will be approaching holy rites, and holy rites of great antiquity. 15. Only thus do the Mysteries become helpful, only thus do we arrive at the impression that all these things were established by men of old time for the purpose of education and for the amendment of our life. But you are publishing the Mysteries abroad and vulgarizing them, out of time, out of place, without sacrifices, without purification; you do not have the dress which the hierophant ought to wear, you do not have the proper head of hair, nor head-band, nor voice, nor age; you have not kept yourself pure as he has, but you have picked up only the words which he utters, and recite them. Have the words a sacred force all by themselves?

One ought to approach these matters in a different fashion; the affair is momentous, it is full of mystery, not a chance gift, nor given to all comers. Nay, it may be that not even wisdom is all that is needed for the care of the young; one ought also to have a certain readiness and special fitness for this task, by Zeus, and a particular physique, and above all the counsel of God advising him to occupy this office, as God counselled Socrates to take the office of examining and confuting men, Diogenes the office of rebuking men in a kingly manner, and Zeno that of instructing men and laying down doctrines. 20. But you are opening up a doctor’s office although you possess no equipment other than drugs, but when or how these drugs are applied you neither know nor have ever taken the trouble to learn. “See,” you say, “that man has these eye-salves, and so have I.” Have you, then, at all the faculty of using them aright? Do you know at all when and how and for whom they will do good? Why, then, do you play at hazard in matters of the utmost moment, why do you take things lightly, why do you put your hand to a task that is altogether inappropriate for you? Leave it to those who are able to do it, and do it with distinction. Do not yourself by your own actions join the number of those who bring disgrace upon philosophy, and do not become one of those who disparage the profession. If, however, you find the principles of philosophy entertaining, sit down and turn them over in your mind all by yourself, but don’t ever call yourself a philosopher, and don’t allow anyone else to say it of you, but say, rather, “He is mistaken; for my desire is no different from what it used to be, nor my choice, nor my assent, nor, in a word, have I changed at all, in my use of external impressions, from my former state.’ Think this and say this about yourself, if you wish to think aright. If not, keep on playing at hazard and doing what you are doing now; for it becomes you.

XXII: On the calling of a Cynic.

When one of his acquaintances, who seemed to have an inclination to take up the calling of a Cynic, asked him what sort of a man the Cynic ought to be, and what was the fundamental conception of his calling, Epictetus said: We will consider it at leisure; but I can tell you this much, that the man who lays his hand to so great a matter as this without God, is hateful to Him, and his wish means nothing else than disgracing himself in public. For in a well-ordered house no one comes along and says to himself, “I ought to be manager of this house”; or if he does, the lord of the mansion, when he turns around and sees the fellow giving orders in a high and mighty fashion, drags him out and gives him a dressing down. So it goes also in this great city, the world; for here also there is a Lord of the Mansion who assigns each and every thing its place. 5.You are the sun; you have the power, as you make the circuit of the heavens, to produce the year and the seasons, to give increase and nourishment to the fruits, to stir and to calm the winds, and to give warmth in moderation to the bodies of men; arise, make the circuit of the heavens, and so set in motion all things from the greatest to the least. You are a calf; when a lion appears, do what is expected of you; otherwise you will smart for it. You are a bull; come on and fight, for this is expected of you, it befits you, and you are able to do it. You are able to lead the host against Ilium; be Agamemnon. You are able to fight a duel with Hector; be Achilles.” But if Thersites came along and claimed command, either he would not have got it, or if he had, he would have disgraced himself in the presence of a multitude of witnesses.

So do you also think about the matter carefully; it is not what you think it is. 10. “I wear a rough cloak even as it is, and I shall have one then; I have a hard bed even now, and so I shall then; I shall take to myself a wallet and a staff, and I shall begin to walk around and beg from those I meet, and revile them; and if I see someone who is getting rid of superfluous hair by the aid of pitch-plasters, or has a fancy cut to his hair, or is strolling about in scarlet clothes, I will come down hard on him.” If you fancy the affair to be something like this, give it a wide berth; don’t come near it, it is nothing for you. But if your impression of it is correct, and you do not think too meanly of yourself, consider the magnitude of the enterprise that you are taking in hand.

First, in all that pertains to yourself directly you must change completely from your present practices, and must cease to blame God or man; you must utterly wipe out desire, and must turn your aversion toward the things which lie within the province of the moral purpose, and these only; you must feel no anger, no rage, no envy, no pity; no wench must look fine to you, no petty reputation, no boy-favorite, no little sweet-cake. For this you ought to know: Other men have the protection of their walls and their houses and darkness, when they do anything of that sort, and they have many things to hide them. A man closes his door, stations someone at the entrance to his bedroom: “If anyone comes, tell him ‘He is not at home, he is not at leisure.’” 15. But the Cynic, instead of all these defences, has to make his self-respect his protection; if he does not, he will be disgracing himself naked and out of doors. His self-respect is his house, his door, his guards at the entrance to his bedroom, his darkness. For neither ought he to wish to keep concealed anything that is his (otherwise he is lost, he has destroyed the Cynic within him, the man of outdoor life, the free man; he has begun to fear something external, he has begun to need something to conceal him), nor can he keep it concealed when he wishes to do so. For where will he conceal himself, or how? And if this instructor of us all, this “pedagogue,” chance to get caught, what must he suffer! Can, then, a man who is afraid of all this continue with all his heart to supervise the conduct of other men? It cannot be done, it is impossible.

In the first place, then, you must make your governing principle pure, and you must make the following your plan of life: 20. “From now on my mind is the material with which I have to work, as the carpenter has his timbers, the shoemaker his hides; my business is to make the right use of my impressions. My paltry body is nothing to me; the parts of it are nothing to me. Death? Let it come when it will, whether it be the death of the whole or some part. Exile? And to what place can anyone thrust me out? Outside the cosmos he cannot. But wherever I go, there are sun, moon, stars, dreams, omens, my converse with gods.”

In the next place, the true Cynic, when he is thus prepared, cannot rest contented with this, but he must know that he has been sent by Zeus to men, partly as a messenger, in order to show them that in questions of good and evil they have gone astray, and are seeking the true nature of the good and the evil where it is not, but where it is they never think; and partly, in the words of Diogenes, when he was taken off to Philip, after the battle of Chaeroneia, as a scout. For the Cynic is truly a scout, to find out what things are friendly to men and what hostile; 25. and he must first do his scouting accurately, and on returning must tell the truth, not driven by fear to designate as enemies those who are not such, nor in any other fashion be distraught or confused by his external impressions.

He must, accordingly, be able, if it so chance, to lift up his voice, and, mounting the tragic stage, to speak like Socrates: “Alas! men, where are you rushing? What are you doing, O wretched people? Like blind men you go tottering all around. You have left the true path and are going off upon another; you are looking for serenity and happiness in the wrong place, where it does not exist, and you do not believe when another points them out to you. Why do you look for it outside? It does not reside in the body. If you doubt that, look at Myron, or Ophellius. It is not in possessions. If you doubt that, look at Croesus, look at the rich nowadays, the amount of lamentation with which their life is filled. It is not in office. Why, if it were, then those who have been consul two or three times ought to be happy men, but they are not. Whom are we going to believe about this question? You who look upon their estate from the outside and are dazzled by the external appearance, or the men themselves? What do they say? Listen to them when they lament, when they groan, when they think that their condition is more wretched and dangerous because of these very consulships, and their own reputation, and their prominence. 30. It is not in royalty. Otherwise Nero would have been a happy man, and Sardanapalus. Nay, even Agamemnon was not a happy man, though a much finer fellow than Sardanapalus or Nero; but while the rest are snoring what is he doing?

“Many a hair did he pluck, by the roots, from his forehead.”

And what are his own words?

“Thus do I wander,”

he says, and

“To and fro am I tossed, and my heart is
Leaping forth from my bosom.”

Poor man, what about you is in a bad state? Your possessions? No, it is not; rather you “are possessed of much gold and of much bronze.” Your body? No, it is not. What, then, is wrong with you? Why, this: You have neglected and ruined whatever that is within you by which we desire, avoid, choose, and refuse. How neglected? It remains ignorant of the true nature of the good, to which it was born, and of the true nature of the evil, and of what is its own proper possession, and what is none of its own concern. And whenever some one of these things that are none of its own concern is in a bad way, it says, “Woe is me, for the Greeks are in danger.” Ah, miserable governing principle, the only thing neglected and uncared for! “They are going to perish, slain by the Trojans.” But if the Trojans do not kill them, will they not die anyway? “Yes, but not all at once.” What difference does it make, then? For if death is an evil, whether they die all at once, or die one at a time, it is equally an evil. Nothing else is going to happen, is it, but the separation of the paltry body from the soul? “Nothing.” And is the door closed for you, if the Greeks perish? Are you not permitted to die? “I am.” Why, then, do you grieve? “Woe is me, a king, and holding the scepter of Zeus!” A king does not become unfortunate any more than a god becomes unfortunate. 35. What are you, then? Truly a shepherd! for you wail as the shepherds do when a wolf carries off one of their sheep; and these men over whom you rule are sheep. But why did you come here in the first place? Your desire was not in danger, was it, or your avoidance, your choice, or your refusal? “No,” he answers, “but my brother’s frail wife was carried off.” Was it not, then, a great gain to lose a frail and adulterous wife? “Shall we, then, be despised by the Trojans?” Who are they? Wise men or foolish? If wise, why are you fighting with them? If foolish, why do you care?

“In what, then, is the good, since it is not in these things? Tell us. Sir messenger and scout.” “It is where you do not expect it, and do not wish to look for it. For if you had wished, you would have found it within you, and you would not now be wandering outside, nor would you be seeking what does not concern you, as though it were your own possession. Turn your thoughts upon yourselves, find out the kind of preconceived ideas which you have. what sort of a thing do you imagine the good to be? Serenity, happiness, freedom from restraint. Come, do you not imagine it to be something naturally great? Something precious? Something not injurious? 40. In what kind of subject-matter for life ought one to seek serenity, and freedom from restraint? In that which is slave, or in that which is free?” “In the free.” “Is the paltry body which you have, then, free or is it a slave?” “We know not.” “You do not know that it is a slave of fever, gout, ophthalmia, dysentery, a tyrant, fire, iron, everything that is stronger?” “Yes, it is their servant.” “How, then, can anything that pertains to the body be unhampered? And how can that which is naturally lifeless, earth, or clay, be great or precious? What then? Have you nothing that is free?” “Perhaps nothing.” “And who can compel you to assent to that which appears to you to be false?” “No one.” “And who to refuse assent to that which appears to you to be true?” “No one.” “Here, then, you see that there is something within you which is naturally free. But to desire, or to avoid, or to choose, or to refuse, or to prepare, or to set something before yourself — what man among you can do these things without first conceiving an impression of what is profitable, or what is not fitting?” “No one.” “You have, therefore, here too, something unhindered and free. Poor wretches, develop this, pay attention to this, seek here your good.”

45. And how is it possible for a man who has nothing, who is naked, without home or hearth, in squalor, without a slave, without a city, to live serenely? Behold, God has sent you the man who will show in practice that it is possible. “Look at me,” he says, “I am without a home, without a city, without property, without a slave; I sleep on the ground; I have neither wife nor children, no miserable governor’s mansion, but only earth, and sky, and one rough cloak. Yet what do I lack? Am I not free from pain and fear, am I not free? When has anyone among you seen me failing to get what I desire, or falling into what I would avoid? When have I ever found fault with either God or man? When have I ever blamed anyone? Has anyone among you seen me with a gloomy face? And how do I face those persons before whom you stand in fear and awe? Do I not face them as slaves? Who, when he lays eyes upon me, does not feel that he is seeing his king and his master?”

50. Lo, these are words that befit a Cynic, this is his character, and his plan of life. But no, you say, what makes a Cynic is a contemptible wallet, a staff, and big jaws; to devour everything you give him, or to stow it away, or to revile tactlessly the people he meets, or to show off his fine shoulder. Do you see the spirit in which you are intending to set your hand to so great an enterprise? First take a mirror, look at your shoulders, find out what kind of loins and thighs you have. Man, it’s an Olympic contest in which you are intending to enter your name, not some cheap and miserable contest or other. In the Olympic games it is not possible for you merely to be beaten and then leave; but, in the first place, you needs must disgrace yourself in the sight of the whole civilized world, not merely before the men of Athens, or Lacedaemon, or Nicopolis; and, in the second place, the man who carelessly gets up and leaves must needs be flogged, and before he is flogged he has to suffer thirst, and scorching heat, and swallow quantities of wrestler’s sand.

Think the matter over more carefully, know yourself, ask the Deity, do not attempt the task without God. For if God so advises you, be assured that He wishes you either to become great, or to receive many stripes. For this too is a very pleasant strand woven into the Cynic’s pattern of life; he must needs be flogged like an ass, and while he is being flogged he must love the men who flog him, as though he were the father or brother of them all. 55. But that is not your way. If someone flogs you, go stand in the midst and shout, “O Caesar, what do I have to suffer under your peaceful rule? let us go before the Proconsul.” But what to a Cynic is Caesar, or a Proconsul, or anyone other than He who has sent him into the world, and whom he serves, that is, Zeus? Does he call upon anyone but Zeus? And is he not persuaded that whatever of these hardships he suffers, it is Zeus that is exercising him? Nay, but Heracles, when he was being exercised by Eurystheus, did not count himself wretched, but used to fulfill without hesitation everything that was enjoined upon him: and yet is this fellow, when he is being trained and exercised by Zeus, prepared to cry out and complain? Is he a man worthy to carry the staff of Diogenes? Hear his words to the passers-by as he lies ill of a fever: “Vile wretches,” he said, “are you not going to stop? Nay, you are going to take that long, long journey to Olympia, to see the struggle of worthless athletes; but do you not care to see a struggle between fever and a man?” No doubt a man of that sort would have blamed God, who had sent him into the world, for mistreating him! Nay, he took pride in his distress, and demanded that those who passed by should gaze upon him. Why, what will he blame God for? Because he is living a decent life? What charge does he bring against Him? The charge that He is exhibiting his virtue in a more brilliant style? 60. Come, what says Diogenes about poverty, death, hardship? How did he habitually compare his happiness with that of the Great King? Or rather, he thought there was no comparison between them. For where there are disturbances, and griefs, and fears, and ineffectual desires, and unsuccessful avoidances, and envies, and jealousies — where is there in the midst of all this a place for happiness to enter? But wherever worthless judgments are held, there all these passions must necessarily exist.

And when the young man asked whether he, as a Cynic, should consent, if, when he had fallen ill, a friend asked him to come to his house, so as to receive proper nursing, Epictetus replied: But where will you find me a Cynic’s friend? For such a person must be another Cynic, in order to be worthy of being counted his friend. He must share with him his scepter and kingdom, and be a worthy ministrant, if he is going to be deemed worthy of friendship, as Diogenes became the friend of Antisthenes, and Crates of Diogenes. Or do you think that if a man as he comes up greets the Cynic, he is the Cynic’s friend, 65. and the Cynic will think him worthy to receive him into his house? So if that is what you think and have in mind, you had much better look around for some nice dunghill, on which to have your fever, one that will give you shelter from the north wind, so that you won’t get chilled. But you give me the impression of wanting to go into somebody’s house for a while and to get filled up. Why, then, are you even laying your hand to so great an enterprise?

But, said the young man, will marriage and children be undertaken by the Cynic as a matter of prime importance? — If, replied Epictetus, you grant me a city of wise men, it might very well be that no one will lightly adopt the Cynic’s profession. For in whose interest would he take on this style of life? If, nevertheless, we assume that he does so act, there will be nothing to prevent him from both marrying and having children; for his wife will be another person like himself, and so will his father-in-law, and his children will be brought up in the same fashion. But in such an order of things as the present, which is like that of a battle-field, it is a question, perhaps, if the Cynic ought not to be free from distraction, wholly devoted to the service of God, free to go about among men, not tied down by the private duties of men, nor involved in relationships which he cannot violate and still maintain his role as a good and excellent man, whereas, on the other hand, if he observes them, he will destroy the messenger, the scout, the herald of the gods, that he is. 70. For see, he must show certain services to his father-in-law, to the rest of his wife’s relatives, to his wife herself; finally, he is driven from his profession, to act as a nurse in his own family and to provide for them. To make a long story short, he must get a kettle to heat water for the baby, for washing it in a bath-tub; wool for his wife when she has had a child, oil, a cot, a cup (the vessels get more and more numerous); not to speak of the rest of his business, and his distraction. Where, I beseech you, is left now our king, the man who has leisure for the public interest,

Who hath charge of the folk and for many a thing must be watchful?

Where, pray, is this king, whose duty it is to oversee the rest of men; those who have married; those who have had children; who is treating his wife well, and who ill; who quarrels; what household is stable, and what not; making his rounds like a physician, and feeling pulses? “You have a fever, you have a headache, you have the gout. You must abstain from food, you must eat, you must give up the bath; you need the surgeon’s knife, you the cautery.” Where is the man who is tied down to the duties of everyday life going to find leisure for such matters? Come, doesn’t he have to get little cloaks for the children? Doesn’t he have to send them off to a school-teacher with their little tablets and writing implements, and little notebooks; and, besides, get the little cot ready for them? For they can’t be Cynics from the moment they leave the womb. And if he doesn’t do all this, it would have been better to expose them at birth, rather than to kill them in this fashion. 75. See to what straits we are reducing our Cynic, how we are taking away his kingdom from him. — Yes, but Crates married. — You are mentioning a particular instance that arose out of passionate love, and you are assuming a wife who is herself another Crates. But our inquiry is concerned with ordinary marriage apart from special circumstances, and from this point of view we do not find that marriage, under present conditions, is a matter of prime importance for the Cynic.

How, then, said the young man, will the Cynic still be able to keep society going? — In the name of God, sir, who do mankind the greater service? Those who bring into the world some two or three ugly-snouted children to take their place, or those who exercise oversight, to the best of their ability, over all mankind, observing what they are doing, how they are spending their lives, what they are careful about, and what they undutifully neglect? And were the Thebans helped more by all those who left them children than by Epaminondas who died without offspring? And did Priam, who begot fifty sons, all rascals, or Danaus, or Aeolus, contribute more to the common weal than did Homer? What? Shall high military command or writing a book prevent a man from marrying and having children, while such a person will not be regarded as having exchanged his childlessness for naught, and yet shall the Cynic’s kingship not be thought a reasonable compensation? 80. Can it be that we do not perceive the greatness of Diogenes, and have no adequate conception of his character, but have in mind the present-day representatives of the profession, these “dogs of the table, guards of the gate,” who follow the masters not at all, except it be in breaking wind in public, forsooth, but in nothing else? Otherwise such points as these you have been raising would never have disturbed us, we should never have wondered why a Cynic will never marry or have children. Man, the Cynic has made all mankind his children; the men among them he has as sons, the women as daughters; in that spirit he approaches them all and cares for them all. Or do you fancy that it is in the spirit of idle impertinence he reviles those he meets? It is as a father he does it, as a brother, and as a servant of Zeus, who is Father of us all.

If you will, ask me also if he is to be active in politics. you ninny, are you looking for any nobler politics than that in which he is engaged? Or would you have someone in Athens step forward and discourse about incomes and revenues, when he is the person who ought to talk with all men, Athenians, Corinthians, and Romans alike, not about revenues, or income, or peace, or war, but about happiness and unhappiness, about success and failure, about slavery and freedom? 85. When a man is engaging in such exalted politics, do you ask me if he is to engage in politics? Ask me also, if he will hold office. Again I will tell you: Fool, what nobler office will he hold than that which he now has?

And yet such a man needs also a certain kind of body, since if a consumptive comes forward, thin and pale, his testimony no longer carries the same weight. For he must not merely, by exhibiting the qualities of his soul, prove to the laymen that it is possible, without the help of the things which they admire, to be a good and excellent man, but he must also show, by the state of his body, that his plain and simple style of life in the open air does not injure even his body: “Look,” he says, “both I and my body are witnesses to the truth of my contention.” That was the way of Diogenes, for he used to go about with a radiant complexion, and would attract the attention of the common people by the very appearance of his body. But a Cynic who excites pity is regarded as a beggar; everybody turns away from him, everybody takes offense at him. No, and he ought not to look dirty either, so as not to scare men away in this respect also; but even his squalor ought to be cleanly and attractive.

90. Furthermore, the Cynic ought to possess great natural charm and readiness of wit — otherwise he becomes mere snivel, and nothing else — so as to be able to meet readily and aptly whatever befalls; as Diogenes answered the man who said: “Are you the Diogenes who does not believe in the existence of the gods?” by saying, “And how can that be? You I regard as hated by the gods!” Or again, when Alexander stood over him as he was sleeping and said,

Sleeping the whole night through beseems not the giver of counsel,

he replied, still half asleep,

Who hath charge of the folk, and for many a thing must he watchful.

But above all, the Cynic’s governing principle should be purer than the sun; if not, he must needs be a gambler and a man of no principle, because he will be censuring the rest of mankind, while he himself is involved in some vice. For see what this means. To the kings and tyrants of this world their bodyguards and their arms used to afford the privilege of censuring certain persons, and the power also to punish those who do wrong, no matter how guilty they themselves were; whereas to the Cynic it is his conscience which affords him this power, and not his arms and his bodyguards. 95. When he sees that he has watched over men, and toiled in their behalf; and that he has slept in purity, while his sleep leaves him even purer than he was before; and that every thought which he thinks is that of a friend and servant to the gods, of one who shares in the government of Zeus; and has always ready at hand the verse

Lead thou me on, O Zeus, and Destiny,

and “If so it pleases the gods, so be it,” why should he not have courage to speak freely to his own brothers, to his children, in a word, to his kinsmen?

That is why the man who is in this frame of mind is neither a busybody nor a meddler; for he is not meddling in other people’s affairs when he is overseeing the actions of men, but these are his proper concern. Otherwise, go call the general a meddler when he oversees and reviews and watches over his troops, and punishes those who are guilty of a breach of discipline. But if you censure other men while you are hiding a little sweet-cake under your arm, I’ll say to you: Wouldn’t you rather go off into a corner and eat up what you have stolen? What have you to do with other people’s business? Why who are you? Are you the bull in the herd, or the queen bee of the hive? Show me the tokens of your leadership, like those which nature gives the queen bee. But if you are a drone and lay claim to the sovereignty over the bees, don’t you suppose your fellow-citizens will overthrow you, just as the bees so treat the drones?

100. Now the spirit of patient endurance the Cynic must have to such a degree that common people will think him insensate and a stone; nobody reviles him, nobody beats him, nobody insults him; but his body he has himself given for anyone to use as he sees fit. For he bears in mind that the inferior, in that respect in which it is inferior, must needs be overcome by the superior, and that his body is inferior to the crowd — the physically weaker, that is, inferior to the physically stronger. Therefore, he never enters this contest where he can be beaten, but immediately gives up what is not his own; he makes no claim to what is slavish. But in the realm of the moral purpose, and the use of his sense-impressions, there you will see he has so many eyes that you will say Argus was blind in comparison with him. Is there anywhere rash assent, reckless choice, futile desire, unsuccessful aversion, incompleted purpose, fault-finding, self-disparagement, or envy? 105. Here is concentrated his earnest attention and energy; but, as far as other things go, he lies flat on his back and snores; he is in perfect peace. There rises up no thief of his moral purpose, nor any tyrant over it. But of his body? Certainly. And of his paltry possessions? Certainly; and of his offices and honors. Why, then, does he pay any attention to these? So when anyone tries to terrify him by means of these things, he says to him, “Go to, look for children; they are scared by masks; but I know that they are made of earthenware, and have nothing inside.”

Such is the nature of the matter about which you are deliberating. Wherefore, in the name of God I adjure you, put off your decision, and look first at your endowment. For see what Hector says to Andromache. “Go,” says he, “rather into the house and weave;

⁠but for men shall war be the business.
Men one and all, and mostly for me.”

So did he recognize not only his own special endowment, but also her incapacity.

XXIII: To those who read and discuss for the purpose of display.

Tell yourself, first of all, what kind of man you want to be; and then go ahead with what you are doing. For in practically every other pursuit we see this done. The athletes first decide what kind of athletes they want to be, and then they act accordingly. If a man wants to be a distance-runner, he adopts a suitable diet, walking, rubbing, and exercise; if he wants to be a sprinter, all these details are different; if he wants to contend in the pentathlon, they are still more different. You will find the same thing in the arts. If you want to be a carpenter, you will have such and such exercises; if a blacksmith, such and such other. For in everything that we do, if we do not refer it to some standard, we shall be acting at random; but if we refer it to the wrong standard, we shall make an utter failure. Furthermore, there are two standards to go by, the one general, the other individual. First of all, I must act as a man. What is included in this? Not to act as a sheep, gently but without fixed purpose; nor destructively, like a wild beast. 5. The individual standard applies to each man’s occupation and moral purpose. The citharoede is to act as a citharoede, the carpenter as a carpenter, the philosopher as a philosopher, the rhetor as a rhetor. When, therefore, you say, “Come and listen to me as I read you a lecture,” see to it first that you are not acting without fixed purpose. And then, if you find that you are using a standard of judgment, see if it is the right one. Do you wish to do good or to be praised? you ask. Immediately you get the answer, “What do I care for praise from the mob?” And that is an excellent answer. Neither does the musician, in so far as he is a musician, nor the geometrician. Do you wish to do good, then? To what end? men reply. Tell us, also, that we too may run to your lecture-room. Now can anybody do good to others unless he has received good himself? No more than the non-carpenter can help others in carpentry, or the non-cobbler in cobbling.

Do you wish, then, to know whether you have received any good? Produce your judgments, philosopher. What does desire promise? Not to fail in getting. What does aversion? Not to fall into what we are avoiding. 10. Well, do we fulfill their promise? Tell me the truth; but if you lie, I will say to you: “The other day, when your audience gathered rather coolly, and did not shout applause, you walked out of the hall in low spirits. And again the other day, when you were received with applause, you walked around and asked everybody, ‘What did you think of me?’ ‘It was marvelous, sir, I swear by my life.’ ‘How did I render that particular passage?’ ‘Which one?’ ‘Where I drew a picture of Pan and the Nymphs?’ ‘It was superb.’” And after all this you tell me that you follow nature in desire and aversion? Go to; try to get somebody else to believe you! Didn’t you, just the other day, praise So-and-so contrary to your honest opinion? And didn’t you flatter So-and-so, the senator? Did you want your children to be like that? — Far from it! — Why then did you praise him and palaver over him? — He is a gifted young man and fond of listening to discourses. — How do you know that? — He is an admirer of mine. — There you gave your proof!

After all, what do you think? Don’t these very same persons secretly despise you? 15. When, therefore, a person who is conscious of never having either thought or done a good thing finds a philosopher who tells him, “You are a genius, straightforward and unspoiled,” what else do you suppose the man says to himself but, “This man wants to use me for something or other”? Or else tell me; what work of genius has he displayed? Look, he has been with you all this time, he has listened to your discourse, he has heard you lecture. Has he settled down? Has he come to himself? Has he realized the evil plight in which he is? Has he cast aside his self-conceit? Is he looking for the man who will teach him? — He is looking, the man says. — The man who will teach him how he ought to live? No, fool, but only how he ought to deliver a speech; for that is why he admires even you. Listen to him, and hear what he says. “This fellow has a most artistic style; it is much finer than Dio’s.” That’s altogether different. He doesn’t say, does he, “The man is respectful, he is faithful and unperturbed”? And even if he had said this, I would have replied: “Since this man is faithful, what is your definition of the faithful man?” And if he had no answer to give, I would have added: “First find out what you are talking about, and then do your talking.”

When you are in such a sorry state as this, then, gaping for men to praise you, and counting the number of your audience, is it your wish to do good to others? “Today I had a much larger audience.” “Yes, indeed, there were great numbers.” “Five hundred, I fancy.” “Nonsense, make it a thousand.” “Dio never had so large an audience.” “How could you expect him to?” “Yes, and they are clever at catching the points.” “Beauty, sir, can move even a stone.” 20. There are the words of a philosopher for you! That’s the feeling of one who is on his way to do good to men! There you have a man who has listened to reason, who has read the accounts of Socrates as coming from Socrates, not as though they were from Lysias, or Isocrates! “‘I have often wondered by what arguments ever’ — no, but ‘by what argument ever’ — this form is smoother than the other!” You have been reading this literature just as you would music-hall songs, haven’t you? Because, if you had read them in the right way, you would not have lingered on these points, but this is the sort of thing rather that would have caught your eye: “Anytus and Meletus can kill me, but they cannot hurt me”; and: “I have always been the kind of man to pay attention to none of my own affairs, but only to the argument which strikes me as best upon reflection.” And for that reason who ever heard Socrates saying, “I know something and teach it”? But he used to send one person here and another there. Therefore men used to go to him to have him introduce them to philosophers, and he used to take them around and introduce them. But no, your idea of him, no doubt, is that, as he was taking them along, he used to say, “Come around today and hear me deliver a discourse in the house of Quadratus”!

Why should I listen to you? Do you want to exhibit to me the clever way in which you put words together? You do compose them cleverly, man; and what good is it to you? “But praise me.” What do you mean by “praise”? “Cry out to me, ‘Bravo!’ or ‘Marvelous!’” All right, I’ll say it. But if praise is some one of those things which the philosophers put in the category of the good, what praise can I give you? If it is a good thing to speak correctly, teach me and I will praise you. 25. What then? Ought one to take no pleasure in listening to such efforts? Far from it. I do not fail to take pleasure in listening to a citharoede; surely I am not bound for that reason to stand and sing to my own accompaniment on the harp, am I? Listen, what does Socrates say? “Nor would it be seemly for me, O men of Athens, at my time of life to appear before you like some lad, and weave a cunning discourse.” “Like some lad,” he says. For it is indeed a dainty thing, this small art of selecting trivial phrases and putting them together, and of coming forward and reading or reciting them gracefully, and then in the midst of the delivery shouting out, “There are not many people who can follow this, by your lives, I swear it!”

Does a philosopher invite people to a lecture? — Is it not rather the case that, as the sun draws its own sustenance to itself, so he also draws to himself those to whom he is to do good? What physician ever invites a patient to come and be healed by him? Although I am told that in these days the physicians in Rome do advertise; however, in my time they were called in by their patients. “I invite you to come and hear that you are in a bad way, and that you are concerned with anything rather than what you should be concerned with, and that you are ignorant of the good and the evil, and are wretched and miserable.” That’s a fine invitation! And yet if the philosopher’s discourse does not produce this effect, it is lifeless and so is the speaker himself Rufus used to say, “If you have nothing better to do than to praise me, then I am speaking to no purpose.” Wherefore he spoke in such a way that each of us as we sat there fancied someone had gone to Rufus and told him of our faults; so effective was his grasp of what men actually do, so vividly did he set before each man’s eyes his particular weaknesses.

30. Men, the lecture-room of the philosopher is a hospital; you ought not to walk out of it in pleasure, but in pain. For you are not well when you come; one man has a dislocated shoulder, another an abscess, another a fistula, another a headache. And then am I to sit down and recite to you dainty little notions and clever little mottoes, so that you will go out with words of praise on your lips, one man carrying away his shoulder just as it was when he came in, another his head in the same state, another his fistula, another his abscess? And so it’s for this, is it, that young men are to travel from home, and leave their parents, their friends, their relatives, and their bit of property, merely to cry “Bravo!” as you recite your clever little mottoes? Was this what Socrates used to do, or Zeno, or Cleanthes?

Well! but isn’t there such a thing as the right style for exhortation? — Why yes, who denies that? Just as there is the style for refutation, and the style for instruction. Who, then, has ever mentioned a fourth style along with these, the style of display? Why, what is the style for exhortation? The ability to show to the individual, as well as to the crowd, the warring inconsistency in which they are floundering about, and how they are paying attention to anything rather than what they truly want. For they want the things that conduce to happiness, but they are looking for them in the wrong place. 35. To achieve that must a thousand benches be placed, and the prospective audience be invited, and you put on a fancy cloak, or dainty mantle, and mount the speaker’s stand, and paint a word-picture of — how Achilles died? By the gods, I beseech you, have done with discrediting, as far as it is in your power to discredit, words and actions that are noble! There is nothing more effective in the style for exhortation than when the speaker makes clear to his audience that he has need of them. Or tell me, who that ever heard you reading a lecture or conducting a discourse felt greatly disturbed about himself, or came to a realization of the state he was in, or on going out said, “The philosopher brought it home to me in fine style; I must not act like this any longer”? But doesn’t he say to a companion, if you make an unusually fine impression, “That was beautiful diction in the passage about Xerxes”; and doesn’t the other answer, “No, I preferred the one about the battle of Thermopylae”? Is this what listening to a philosopher amounts to?

XXIV: That we ought not to yearn for the things which are not under our control.

Let not that which in the case of another is contrary to nature become an evil for you; for you are born not to be humiliated along with others, nor to share in their misfortunes, but to share in their good fortune. If, however, someone is unfortunate, remember that his misfortune concerns himself. For God made all mankind to be happy, to be serene. To this end He gave them resources, giving each man some things for his own, and others not for his own. The things that are subject to hindrance, deprivation, and compulsion are not a man’s own, but those that cannot be hindered are his own. The true nature of the good and the evil, as was fitting for Him who watches over and protects us like a father. He gave to man to be among his own possessions. “But I have parted from So-and-so, and he is stricken with grief.” Yes, but why did he regard what was not his own as his own? Why, when he was glad to see you, did he not reflect that you are mortal, and likely to go on a journey? And therefore he is paying the penalty for his own folly. 5. But why are you bewailing yourself, and to what end? Or did you also neglect to study this matter, but, like worthless women, did you enjoy everything in which you took delight as though you were to enjoy it forever, your surroundings, human beings, your ways of life? And now you sit and wail because you no longer lay eyes upon the same persons, and do not spend your life in the same places. Yes, for that’s what you deserve, to be more wretched than crows and ravens, which can fly away wherever they please, and change their nests, and cross the seas, without groaning or longing for their first home. — Yes, but they feel that way because they are irrational creatures. — Has, then, reason been given us by the gods for misfortune and misery, so that we may spend our lives in wretchedness and mourning? Or shall all men be immortal, and no one leave home, but shall we stay rooted in the ground like the plants? And if any one of our acquaintances leaves home, shall we sit down and wail, and then again, if he comes back, dance and clap our hands as the children do?

Shall we not wean ourselves at last, and call to mind what we have heard from the philosophers? 10. — if, indeed, we did not listen to them as to enchanters — when they said that this cosmos is but a single state, and the substance out of which it has been fashioned is single, and it needs must be that there is a certain periodic change and a giving place of one thing to another, and that some things must be dissolved and others come into being, some things to remain in the same place and others to be moved. Further, that all things are full of friends, first gods, and then also men, who by nature have been made of one household with one another; and that some men must remain with each other, while others must depart, and that though we must rejoice in those who dwell with us, yet we must not grieve at those who depart. And man, in addition to being by nature high-minded and capable of despising all the things that are outside the sphere of his moral purpose, possesses also this further quality, that, namely, of not being rooted nor growing in the earth, but of moving now to one place and now to another, at one time under the pressure of certain needs, and at another merely for the sake of the spectacle.

Now it was something of this sort which fell to the lot of Odysseus:

Many the men whose towns he beheld, and he learned of their temper.

And even before his time it was the fortune of Heracles to traverse the entire inhabited world,

Seeing the wanton behaviour of men and the lawful,

casting forth the one and clearing the world of it, and introducing the other in its place. Yet how many friends do you suppose he had in Thebes, in Argos, in Athens, and how many new friends he made on his rounds, seeing that he was even in the habit of marrying when he saw fit, and begetting children, and deserting his children, without either groaning or yearning for them, or as though leaving them to be orphans? 15. It was because he knew that no human being is an orphan, but all men have ever and constantly the Father, who cares for them. Why, to him it was no mere story which he had heard, that Zeus is father of men, for he always thought of Him as his own father, and called Him so, and in all that he did he looked to Him. Wherefore he had the power to live happily in every place. But it is impossible that happiness, and yearning for what is not present, should ever be united. For happiness must already possess everything that it wants; it must resemble a replete person: he cannot feel thirst or hunger. — Still, Odysseus felt a longing for his wife, and sat upon a rock and wept. — And do you take Homer and his tales as authority for everything? If Odysseus really wept, what else could he have been but miserable? But what good and excellent man is miserable? In all truth the cosmos is badly managed, if Zeus does not take care of His own citizens, that they be like Him, that is, happy. Nay, it is unlawful and unholy to think of such an alternative, 20. but if Odysseus wept and wailed, he was not a good man. Why, what man could be good who does not know who he is? And who knows that, if he has forgotten that the things which come into being are corruptible, and that it is impossible for one human being always to live with another? What then? To reach out for the impossible is slavish and foolish; it is acting like a stranger in the cosmos, one who is fighting against God with the only weapons at his command, his own judgments.

But my mother mourns because she does not see me. — Yes, but why did she not learn the meaning of these words of the philosophers? And I am not saying that you ought to take no pains to keep her from lamenting, but only that a person ought not to want at all costs what is not his own. Now another’s grief is no concern of mine, but my own grief is. Therefore, I will put an end at all costs to what is my own concern, for it is under my control: and that which is another’s concern I will endeavor to check to the best of my ability, but my effort to do so will not be made at all costs. Otherwise I shall be fighting against God, I shall be setting myself in opposition to Zeus, I shall be arraying myself against Him in regard to His administration of the cosmos. And the wages of this fighting against God and this disobedience will not be paid by “children’s children,” but by me myself in my own person, by day and by night, as I start up out of dreams and am disturbed, trembling at every message, with my own peace of mind depending upon letters not my own. 25. Someone has arrived from Rome. “If only there is no bad news!” But how can anything bad for you happen in a place, if you are not there? Someone arrives from Greece. “If only there is no bad news!” In this way for you every place can cause misfortune. Isn’t it enough for you to be miserable where you are? Must you needs be miserable even beyond the seas, and by letter? Is this the fashion in which all that concerns you is secure? — Yes, but what if my friends over there die? — Why, what else than that mortal men died? Or how can you wish to reach old age yourself, and at the same time not behold the death of any that you love? Do you not know that in the long course of time many different things must needs happen; fever must overcome one man, a brigand another, a tyrant a third? Because such is the character of the air about us, such that of our associates; cold and heat and unsuitable food, and journeys by land and by sea, and winds and all manner of perils; this man they destroy, that man they drive into exile, another they send on an embassy, and yet another on a campaign. 30. Sit down, therefore, and get all wrought up at each one of these events, mourning, unfortunate, miserable, depend on something other than yourself, and that not one thing or two, but tens upon tens of thousands of things!

Is that what you used to hear when you sat at the feet of the philosophers? Is that what you learned? Do you not know that the business of life is a campaign? One man must mount guard, another go out on reconnaissance, and another out to fight. It is not possible for all to stay in the same place, nor is it better so. But you neglect to perform the duties assigned you by your commanding officer, and complain when some rather hard order is given you, and fail to understand to what a state you are bringing the army, as far as in you lies; because, if they all imitate you, no one will dig a trench, no one construct a palisade, or watch through the night, or risk his life in fighting, but they will seem useless soldiers. Again, if you take ship as a sailor, take up one place and stick to that! and if you have to climb the mast, be unwilling; if you have to run to the bow, be unwilling! And what ship’s captain will put up with you? Won’t he throw you overboard like a piece of junk, nothing but a nuisance, and a bad example to the other sailors? So also in this world; each man’s life is a kind of campaign, and a long and complicated one at that. You have to maintain the character of a soldier, and do each separate act at the bidding of the General, 35. if possible divining what He wishes. For there is no comparison between this General and an ordinary one, either in His power, or in the pre-eminence of His character. You have been given a post in an imperial city, and not in some mean place; not for a short time either, but you are a senator for life. Do you not know that a man in such a post has to give only a little attention to the affairs of his own household, but for most of the time has to be away, in command, or under command, or serving some official, or in the field, or on the judge’s bench? And then you want to be attached to the same spot and rooted in it like a plant? — Yes, it is pleasant. — Why deny it? But soup is pleasant too, and a pretty woman is a pleasant thing. What else do those say who make pleasure their end?

Do you not realize the kind of men they are whose language you have just uttered? That they are Epicureans and blackguards? And yet, while doing their deeds and holding their opinions, you recite to us the words of Zeno and Socrates? Will you not cast away from you, as far as you can fling them, these alien trappings with which you adorn yourself, although they do not at all become you? Or what else do these fellows want but to sleep without hindrance or compulsion, and after they have arisen, to yawn at their ease, and wash their faces; then to write and read what they please, then to babble something or other, to the applause of their friends, no matter what they say; then to go out for a stroll, and after a short walk to take a bath; then to eat, then to seek their rest, and sleep in such a bed as you might expect such persons to enjoy — why should I say the word? For you can infer what it is like.

40. Come now, do you also tell me your style of life, the one on which you have set your heart, you eager follower of the truth, and of Socrates, and of Diogenes! What do you want to do in Athens? Just what I have described? Nothing at all different? Why, then, do you call yourself a Stoic? Well, but those who falsely claim Roman citizenship are severely punished, and ought those who falsely claim so great and so dignified a calling and title to get off scot-free? Or is that impossible? whereas the divine and mighty and inescapable law is the law which exacts the greatest penalties from those who are guilty of the greatest offenses. Now what are its terms? “Let him who makes pretense to things which in no wise concern him be a braggart, let him be a vainglorious man; let him who disobeys the divine governance be abject, be a slave, suffer grief, envy, pity, — in a word, be miserable, and lament,”

Well, what then? Do you want me to pay court to So-and-so? go to his front-door? — If reason so decides, for the sake of your country, your kinsmen, mankind in general, why not go? Why, you are not ashamed to go to the door of the cobbler when you need shoes, nor to that of the market-gardener when you need lettuce; and are you ashamed to go to the door of the rich when you want something that rich men have? — 45. Very true, for as to the cobbler, I do not have to admire him. — Don’t admire the rich man, either. — And I shall not have to flatter the market-gardener. — Don’t flatter the rich man either. — How, then, shall I get what I need? — Am I telling you, “Go like a man who is certain to get what he wants,” and not simply, “Go in order to do what becomes you”? — Why, then, do I go at all? — So as to have gone, so as to have performed the function of the citizen that you are, of a brother, of a friend. And furthermore, remember that you have come to see a cobbler, a vegetable-dealer, a man who has authority over nothing great or important, even if he sell it for a high price. You are going, as it were, for heads of lettuce; they are worth an obol, not a talent. So it is in our life also. The matter in hand is worth going to a person’s door about; very well, I will go. It is also worth an interview; very well, I will interview him about it. Yes, but I will have to kiss his hand also, and flatter him with words of praise. Go to! that is paying a talent for a head of lettuce! It is not profitable to me, nor to the State, nor to my friends, to ruin by so acting a good citizen and friend.

50. Yes, but if you fail, people will think that you didn’t try hard. Have you gone and forgotten again why you went? Don’t you know that a good and excellent man does nothing for the sake of appearances, but only for the sake of having acted right? — What good does he get, then, from acting right? — And what good does the person get for writing the name “Dio” as it ought to be written? The mere fact of writing it that way. — Is there, then, no further reward? — And are you looking for some further reward in the case of a good man, a reward which is greater than the doing of what is fine and right? At Olympia nobody wants anything else, but you feel content with having received an Olympic crown. Does it seem to you so small and worthless a thing to be good, and excellent, and happy? Therefore, when you have been introduced into this city-state by the gods, and find it now your duty to lay hand to the work of a man, do you yearn for nurses and the breast, and does the weeping of poor silly women move you and make you effeminate? And so will you never get over being an infant? Don’t you know that, when a person acts like a child, the older he is the more ridiculous he is?

In Athens did you see nobody when you went to his house? — Yes, the man I wanted to see. — Here also make up your mind to see this man, and you will see the man you want; only do not go humbly, not with desire or aversion, and all will be well with you. 55. But this result is not to be found by mere going, nor by standing at gates, but in one’s judgments within. When you have contemned things external and outside the province of your moral purpose, and have come to regard none of them as your own, but only the being right in judgment, in thinking, in choosing, in desiring, in avoiding, — where is there any longer room for flattery, where for an abject spirit? Why any longer yearn for the quiet you enjoyed there, or your familiar haunts? Wait a little while and you will find the places here familiar in their turn. And then, if you are so ignoble in spirit, weep and wail again when you leave these too!

How, then, shall I become affectionate? — As a man of noble spirit, as one who is fortunate; for it is against all reason to be abject, or broken in spirit, or to depend on something other than yourself, or even to blame either God or man. I would have you become affectionate in such a way as to maintain at the same time all these rules; if, however, by virtue of this natural affection, whatever it is you call by that name, you are going to be a slave and miserable, it does not profit you to be affectionate. 60. And what keeps you from loving a person as one subject to death, as one who may leave you? Did not Socrates love his own children? But in a free spirit, as one who remembers that it was his first duty to be a friend to the gods. That is why he succeeded in everything that becomes a good man, both in making his defense, and in assessing his own penalty, and before that time in his services as senator or soldier. But we abound in all manner of excuses for being ignoble; with some it is a child, with others a mother, and then again it is brothers. But it is not becoming for us to be unhappy on any person’s account, but to be happy because of all, and above all others because of God, who has made us for this end. Come, was there anybody that Diogenes did not love, a man who was so gentle and kind-hearted that he gladly took upon himself all those troubles and physical hardships for the sake of the common weal? But what was the manner of his loving? 65. As became a servant of Zeus, caring for men indeed, but at the same time subject unto God. That is why for him alone the whole world, and no special place, was his fatherland; and when he had been taken prisoner he did not hanker for Athens nor his acquaintances and friends there, but he got on good terms with the pirates and tried to reform them. And later, when he was sold into slavery at Corinth he kept on living there just as he had formerly lived at Athens; yes, and if he had gone off to the Perrhaebians he would have acted in quite the same way. That is how freedom is achieved. That is why he used to say, “From the time that Antisthenes set me free, I have ceased to be a slave.” How did Antisthenes set him free? Listen to what Diogenes says. “He taught me what was mine, and what was not mine. Property is not mine; kinsmen, members of my household, friends, reputation, familiar places, converse with men — all these are not my own. ‘What, then, is yours? Power to deal with external impressions.’ He showed me that I possess this beyond all hindrance and constraint; no one can hamper me; no one can force me to deal with them otherwise than as I will. 70. Who, then, has authority over me? Philip, or Alexander, or Perdiccas, or the Great King? Where can they get it? For the man who is destined to be overpowered by a man must long before that have been overpowered by things.’ Therefore, the man over whom pleasure has no power, nor evil, nor fame, nor wealth, and who, whenever it seems good to him, can spit his whole paltry body into some oppressor’s face and depart from this life — whose slave can he any longer be, whose subject? But if he had gone on living pleasantly in Athens, and had been enamored of his life there, his fortune would have been in every man’s control, and the man who was stronger than he would have had power to cause him grief. How do you imagine he would have wheedled the pirates to sell him to some Athenian, so that he might some time see the beautiful Piraeus, and the Long Walls and the Acropolis! Who are you that you should see them, slave? A thrall and a person of abject spirit; 75. and what good are they to you? — No, not a slave, but a free man. — Show me how you are free. See, some person or other has laid hands on you — the man who takes you away from your accustomed way of life, and says, “You are my slave; for it is in my power to prevent you from living as you will, it is in my power to lighten your servitude, or to humble you; whenever I wish, you can be happy again, and go off to Athens in high spirits.” What do you say to this man who makes you his slave? Whom have you to offer him as your emancipator? Or do you not even look him in the face at all, but cutting all argument short do you implore him to set you free? Man, you ought to go gladly to prison, in haste, outstripping those who lead you away. And then, I do beseech you, are you loath to live in Rome, and do you yearn for Greece? And when you have to die, then also, I suppose, will you weep all over us, because you are never going to see Athens again or stroll in the Lyceum?

Was that what you went abroad for? Was it for this that you sought to meet someone — that he might do you good? Good indeed! That you might analyze syllogisms more readily, or run down hypothetical arguments? It was for this reason, was it, you left brother, country, friends, and those of your own household — so as to return with this kind of learning? And so you did not go abroad to acquire constancy of character, or peace of mind; not to become secure yourself and thenceforward blame and find fault with no man; not to make it impossible for another to do you wrong, and so maintain without hindrance your relations in society? 80. A fine exchange of goods this which you have achieved, syllogisms, and arguments with equivocal and hypothetical premises! Yes, and if you see fit, seat yourself in the marketplace, and hang out a sign, as the drug-peddlers do. Ought you not rather to deny that you know even all you have learned, so as not to bring your philosophical precepts into ill repute as being useless? What harm has philosophy done you? How has Chrysippus wronged you that you should prove by your own conduct his labors to be useless? Were not the ills at home enough for you, all that you had to cause you grief and sorrow, even if you had not gone abroad, but did you add yet others in addition to them? And if you get other intimates and friends again, you will have more reasons for lamentation, yes, and if you get attached to another land. Why, then, live? Is it to involve yourself in one grief after another that makes you miserable? And then, I ask you, do you call this natural affection? Natural affection forsooth, man! If it is good, it is the source of no evil; if it is evil, I have nothing to do with it. I am born for the things that are good and belong to me, not for things evil.

What, then, is the proper discipline for this? In the first place, the highest and principal discipline, and one that stands at the very gates of the subject, is this: Whenever you grow attached to something, do not act as though it were one of those things that cannot be taken away, but as though it were something like a jar or a crystal goblet, so that when it breaks you will remember what it was like, and not be troubled. 85. So too in life; if you kiss your child, your brother, your friend, never allow your fancy free rein, nor your exuberant spirits to go as far as they like, but hold them back, stop them, just like those who stand behind generals when they ride in triumph, and keep reminding them that they are mortal. In such fashion do you too remind yourself that the object of your love is mortal; it is not one of your own possessions; it has been given you for the present, not inseparably nor for ever, but like a fig, or a cluster of grapes, at a fixed season of the year, and that if you hanker for it in the winter, you are a fool. If in this way you long for your son, or your friend, at a time when he is not given to you, rest assured that you are hankering for a fig in winter-time. For as winter-time is to a fig, so is every state of affairs, which arises out of the cosmos, in relation to the things which are destroyed in accordance with that same state of affairs.

Furthermore, at the very moment when you are taking delight in something, call to mind the opposite impressions. What harm is there if you whisper to yourself, at the very moment you are kissing your child, and say, “Tomorrow you will die”? So likewise to your friend, “Tomorrow you will go abroad, or I shall, and we shall never see each other again”? — Nay, but these are words of bad omen. — Yes, and so are certain incantations, but because they do good, I do not care about that, only let the incantation do us good. But do you call any things ill-omened except those which signify some evil for us? Cowardice is ill-omened, 90. a mean spirit, grief, sorrow, shamelessness; these are words of ill-omen. And yet we ought not to hesitate to utter even these words, in order to guard against the things themselves. Do you tell me that any word is ill-omened which signifies some process of nature? Say that also the harvesting of ears of grain is ill-omened, for it signifies the destruction of the ears; but not of the cosmos. Say that also for leaves to fall is ill-omened, and for the fresh fig to turn into a dried fig, and a cluster of grapes to turn into raisins. For all these things are changes of a preliminary state into something else; it is not a case of destruction, but a certain ordered dispensation and management. This is what going abroad means, a slight change; this is the meaning of death, a greater change of that which now is, not into what is not, but into what is not now. — Shall I, then, be no more? — No, you will not be, but something else will be, something different from that of which the cosmos now has need. And this is but reasonable, for you came into being, not when you wanted, but when the cosmos had need of you.

95. For this reason the good and excellent man, bearing in mind who he is, and whence he has come, and by whom he was created, centers his attention on this and this only, how he may fill his place in an orderly fashion, and with due obedience to God. “Is it Thy will that I should still remain? I will remain as a free man, as a noble man, as Thou didst wish it; for Thou hast made me free from hindrance in what was mine own. And now hast Thou no further need of me? Be it well with Thee. I have been waiting here until now because of Thee and of none other, and now I obey Thee and depart.” “How do you depart?” “Again, as Thou didst wish it, as a free man, as Thy servant, as one who has perceived Thy commands and Thy prohibitions. But so long as I continue to live in Thy service, what manner of man wouldst Thou have me be? An official or a private citizen, a senator or one of the common people, a soldier or a general, a teacher or the head of a household? Whatsoever station and post Thou assign me, I will die ten thousand times, as Socrates says, or ever I abandon it. 100. And where wouldst Thou have me be? In Rome, or in Athens, or in Thebes, or in Gyara? Only remember me there. If Thou sendest me to a place where men have no means of living in accordance with nature, I shall depart this life, not in disobedience to Thee, but as though Thou wert sounding for me the recall. I do not abandon Thee — far be that from me! but I perceive that Thou hast no need of me. Yet if there be vouchsafed a means of living in accordance with nature, I will seek no other place than that in which I am, or other men than those who are now my associates.”

Have thoughts like these ready at hand by night and by day; write them, read them, make your conversation about them, communing with yourself, or saying to another, “Can you give me some help in this matter?” And again, go now to one man and now to another. Then, if some one of those things happens which are called undesirable, immediately the thought that it was not unexpected will be the first thing to lighten the burden. 105. For in every case it is a great help to be able to say, “I knew that the son whom I had begotten was mortal.” For that is what you will say, and again, “I knew that I was mortal,” “I knew that I was likely to leave home,” “I knew that I was liable to banishment,” “I knew that I might be sent off to prison.” And in the next place, if you reflect with yourself and look for the quarter from which the happening comes, immediately you will be reminded of the principle: “It comes from the quarter of the things that are outside the sphere of the moral purpose, that are not mine own; what, then, is it to me?” Then comes the most decisive consideration: “Who was it that has sent the order?” Our Prince, or our General, the State, or the law of the State? “Give it to me, then, for I must always obey the law in every particular.” Later on, when your imagination bites you (for this is something you cannot control), fight against it with your reason, beat it down, do not allow it to grow strong, or to take the next step and draw all the pictures it wants, in the way it wants to do. If you are at Gyara, don’t picture the style of life at Rome, and all the relaxations a man had who was living there, as well as all that he might have upon his return; but since you have been stationed there, you ought to strive to live manfully at Gyara, as beseems the man whose life is spent in Gyara. And again, if you are in Rome, don’t picture the style of life at Athens, but make your life in Rome the one object of your study and practice.

110. Then, in the place of all the other relaxations, introduce that which comes from the consciousness that you are obedient to God, and that you are playing the part of the good and excellent man, not ostensibly but in reality. For what a fine thing it is to be able to say to oneself, “Now I am actually performing what the rest talk solemnly about in their lectures, and are thought to be uttering paradoxes. Yes, they sit and expound my virtues, and study about me, and sing my praise. And of this Zeus wished me to get a demonstration in my own person, while at the same time He wished to know whether He has the right kind of soldier, the right kind of citizen, and to present me before all other men as a witness about the things which lie outside the sphere of the moral purpose. ‘Behold,’ says He, ‘your fears are at haphazard, it is in vain that you desire what you desire. Do not look for your blessings outside, but look for them within yourselves; otherwise you will not find them.’ These are the terms upon which now He brings me here, and again He sends me there; to mankind exhibits me in poverty, without office, in sickness; sends me away to Gyara, brings me into prison. Not because He hates me — perish the thought! And who hates the best of his servants? Nor because He neglects me, for He does not neglect any of even the least of His creatures; but because He is training me, and making use of me as a witness to the rest of men. When I have been appointed to such a service, am I any longer to take thought as to where I am, or with whom, or what men say about me? Am I not wholly intent upon God, and His commands and ordinances?”

115. If you have these thoughts always at hand and go over them again and again in your own mind, and keep them in readiness, you will never need a person to console you, or strengthen you. For disgrace does not consist in not having anything to eat, but in not having reason sufficient to secure you against fear and against grief. But if once you win for yourself security against grief and fear, will there any longer exist for you a tyrant, or a guardsman, or members of Caesar’s household; or will some appointment to office sting you with envy, or those who perform sacrifices on the Capitol in taking the auspices, you who have received so important an office from Zeus? Only make no display of your office, and do not boast about it; but prove it by your conduct; and if no one perceives that you have it, be content to live in health and happiness yourself.

XXV: To those who fail to achieve their purposes.

Consider which of the things that you purposed at the start you have achieved, and which you have not; likewise, how it gives you pleasure to recall some of them, and pain to recall others, and, if possible, recover also those things which have slipped out of your grasp. For men who are engaged in the greatest of contests ought not to flinch, but to take also the blows; for the contest before us is not in wrestling or the pancratium, in which, whether a man succeeds or fails, he may be worth a great deal, or only a little, — yes, by Zeus, he may even be extremely happy or extremely miserable, — but it is a contest for good fortune and happiness itself. What follows? Why here, even if we give in for the time being, no one prevents us from struggling again, and we do not have to wait another four-year period for another Olympic festival to come around, but the moment a man has picked himself up, and recovered himself, and exhibits the same eagerness, he is allowed to contest; and if you give in again, you can enter again; and if once you win a victory, you are as though you had never given in at all. 5. Only don’t begin cheerfully to do the same thing over again out of sheer habit, and end up as a bad athlete, going the whole circuit of the games, and getting beaten all the time, like quails that have once run away. “I am overcome by the impression of a pretty maid. Well, what of it? Wasn’t I overcome just the other day?” “I feel strongly inclined to censure somebody, for didn’t I censure somebody just the other day?” You talk thus to us as though you had come off scot-free; just as if a man should say to his physician who was forbidding him to bathe, “Why, but didn’t I bathe just the other day?” If, then, the physician is able to say to him, “Very well, after you had bathed, then, how did you feel? Didn’t you have a fever? Didn’t your head ache?” So, too, when you censured somebody the other day, didn’t you act like an ugly-spirited man, like a silly babbler? Didn’t you feed this habit by citing the example of your own previous acts? And when you were overcome by the maid, did you escape scot-free? Why, then, do you talk about what you were doing just the other day? In my opinion, you ought to have remembered, as slaves remember their blows, and to have kept away from the same mistakes. 10. But one case is not like the other; for with slaves it is the suffering that produces the memory, but in the case of your mistakes, what suffering is there, what penalty do you feel? Why, when did you ever acquire the habit of avoiding evil activities?

XXVI: To those who fear want.

Aren’t you ashamed to be more cowardly and ignoble than a runaway slave? How do they, when they run off, leave their masters? in what estates or slaves do they put their confidence? Don’t they steal just a little bit to last them for the first few days, and then afterwards drift along over land or sea, contriving one scheme after another to keep themselves fed? And what runaway slave ever died of hunger? But you tremble, and lie awake at night, for fear the necessities of life will fail you. Wretch, are you so blind, and do you so fail to see the road to which lack of the necessities of life leads? Where, indeed, does it lead? Where also fever, or a stone that drops on your head, lead, — to death. Have you not, then, often said this same thing yourself to your companions, read much of the same sort, and written much? How many times have you boasted that, as far as death at least was concerned, you are in a fairly good state? — Yes, but my family too will starve. — What then? Their starvation does not lead to some other end than yours, does it? Have they not also much the same descent thereto, and the same world below? 5. Are you not willing, then, to look with courage sufficient to face every necessity and want, at that place to which the wealthiest needs must go, and those who have held the highest offices, and very kings and tyrants? Only you will descend hungry, if it so happen, and they bursting with indigestion and drunkenness. Did you ever easily find a beggar who was not an old man? Wasn’t he extremely old? But though they are cold night and day, and lie forlorn on the ground, and have to eat only what is absolutely necessary, they approach a state where it is almost impossible for them to die; yet you who are physically perfect, and have hands and feet, are you so alarmed about starving? Can’t you draw water, or write, or escort boys to and from school, or be another’s doorkeeper? — But it is disgraceful to come to such a necessity. — Learn, therefore, first of all, what the disgraceful things are, and after you have done that, come into our presence and call yourself a philosopher. But as the case stands now, do not even allow anyone else to call you one!

Is anything disgraceful to you which is not your own doing, for which you are not responsible, which has befallen you accidentally, as a headache or a fever? If your parents were poor, or if they were rich but left others as their heirs, and if they give you no help though they are living, is all this disgraceful to you? Is that what you learned at the feet of the philosophers? Have you never heard that the disgraceful thing is censurable, and the censurable is that which deserves censure? And whom do you censure for what is not his own doing, which he didn’t produce himself? 10. Well, did you produce this situation? did you make your father what he is? Or is it in your power to reform him? Is that vouchsafed you? What follows? Ought you to wish for what is not given you, or to be ashamed when you fail to get it? And did you really, while studying philosophy, acquire the habit of looking to other persons, and of hoping for nothing yourself from yourself? Very well then, lament and groan, and eat in fear of not having food tomorrow; tremble about your paltry slaves, for fear they will steal something, or run away, or die! Live in this spirit and never cease to live so, you who in name only have approached philosophy, and, as far as in you lay, have discredited its principles by showing them to be useless and good for nothing to those who receive them! But you never desired stability, serenity, peace of mind; you never cultivated anybody’s acquaintance for that purpose, but many persons’ acquaintance for the sake of syllogisms; you never thoroughly tested for yourself any one of these external impressions, asking the questions: “Am I able to bear it, or am I not? What may I expect next?” but just as though everything about you were in an excellent and safe condition, you have been devoting your attention to the last of all topics, that which deals with immutability, in order that you may have immutable — what? your cowardice, your ignoble character, your admiration of the rich, your ineffectual desire, your aversion that fails of its mark! These are the things about whose security you have been anxious!

15. Ought you not, first, to have acquired something from reason, and then to have made that something secure? Why, did you ever see anyone building a cornice all around without first having a wall about which to build it? And what kind of doorkeeper is placed on guard where there isn’t any door? But you practice to get the power to demonstrate; demonstrate what? You practice to avoid being shaken by sophisms; shaken from what? Show me first what you are maintaining, what you are measuring, or what you are weighing: and after that, and under those conditions, show me your scales or your bushel-measure. Or how long will you keep measuring ashes? Are not these what you ought to be demonstrating, the things, namely, that make men happy, that make their affairs prosper for them as they desire, that make it unnecessary for them to blame anybody, and to find fault with anybody, but to acquiesce in the government of the cosmos? Show me these. “See, I do show you,” a man says; “I will analyze syllogisms for you.” Slave, this is a mere measuring instrument, it is not the thing measured. 20. That is why you are now being punished for what you neglected; you tremble, lie awake, take counsel with everyone, and, if your plans are not likely to win the approval of all men, you think that your deliberations have been faulty.

And then you fear hunger, as you fancy. Yet it is not hunger that you fear, but you are afraid that you will not have a professional cook, you will not have another servant to buy the delicacies, another to put on your shoes for you, another to dress you, others to give you your massage, others to follow at your heels, in order that when you have undressed in a bath, and stretched yourself out like men who have been crucified, you may be massaged on this side and on that; and that then the masseur may stand over you and say, “Move over, give me his side, you take his head, hand me his shoulder”; and then, when you have left the bath and gone home, that you may shout out, “Is no one bringing me something to eat?” and after that, “Clear away the tables; wipe them off with a sponge.” What you are afraid of is this — that you may not be able to live the life of an invalid, since, I tell you, you have only to learn the life of healthy men — how the slaves live, the workmen, the genuine philosophers, how Socrates lived — he too with a wife and children — how Diogenes lived, how Cleanthes, who combined going to school and pumping water. If this is what you want, you will have it everywhere, and will live with full confidence. Confidence in what? In the only thing in which one can have confidence — in what is faithful, free from hindrance, cannot be taken away, that is, in your own moral purpose. 25. And why have you made yourself so useless and unprofitable, that no one is willing to take you into his house, no one willing to take care of you? But when a whole and useful implement has been thrown out, anyone who finds it will pick it up and count it gain; yet not when he picks up you, but everyone will count you a loss. You are so unable to serve the purpose of even a dog or a cock. Why, then, do you care to keep on living, if that is the sort of person you are?

Does a good man fear that food will fail him? It does not fail the blind, it does not fail the lame; will it fail a good man? A good soldier does not lack someone to give him pay, or a workman, or a cobbler; and shall a good man? Does God so neglect His own creatures, His servants, His witnesses, whom alone He uses as examples to the uninstructed, to prove that He both is, and governs the cosmos well, and does not neglect the affairs of men, and that no evil befalls a good man either in life or in death? — Yes, but what if He does not provide food? — Why, what else but that as a good general He has sounded the recall? I obey, I follow, lauding my commander, and singing hymns of praise about His deeds. 30. For I came into the world when it so pleased Him, and I leave it again at His pleasure, and while I live this was my function — to sing hymns of praise unto God, to myself and to others, be it to one or to many. God does not give me much, no abundance. He does not want me to live luxuriously; He did not give much to Heracles, either, though he was His own son, but someone else was king over Argos and Mycenae, while he was subject, and suffered labors and discipline. And Eurystheus, such as he was, was not king over either Argos or Mycenae, for he was not king even over himself; but Heracles was ruler and leader of all the land and sea, purging them of injustice and lawlessness, and introducing justice and righteousness; and all this he did naked and by himself. And when Odysseus was shipwrecked and cast ashore, did his necessity make abject his spirit, or break it? Nay, but how did he advance upon the maidens to ask for food, which is regarded as being the most disgraceful thing for one person to ask of another?

As a lion reared in the mountains.

In what did he trust? Not in reputation, or money, or office, but in his own might, that means, his judgments about the things which are under our control, and those which are not under our control. 35. For these are the only things that make men free, that make men unhampered, that lift up the neck of those who have become abject, that make them look with level eyes into the faces of the rich, and the faces of tyrants. And all this was what the philosopher had to give, yet will you not come forth bold, instead of trembling for your paltry clothes and silver plate? Miserable man, have you so wasted your time down to the present?

Yes, but what if I fall ill? — You will bear illness well. — Who will nurse me? — God and your friends. — I shall have a hard bed to lie on. — But like a man. — I shall not have a suitable house. — Then you will fall ill in an unsuitable house. — Who will prepare my food for me? — Those who prepare it for others also. You will be ill like Manes. — And what is also the end of the illness? — Anything but death? Will you, then, realize that this epitome of all the ills that befall man, of his ignoble spirit, and his cowardice, is not death, but it is rather the fear of death? Against this fear, then, I would have you discipline yourself, toward this let all your reasoning tend, your exercises, your reading; and then you will know that this is the only way in which men achieve freedom.

Book IV

I: Of freedom.

He is free who lives as he wills, who is subject neither to compulsion, nor hindrance, nor force, whose choices are unhampered, whose desires attain their end, whose aversions do not fall into what they would avoid. Who, then, wishes to live in error? — No one. — Who wishes to live deceived, impetuous, unjust, unrestrained, peevish, abject? — No one. — Therefore, there is no bad man who lives as he wills, and accordingly no bad man is free. And who wishes to live in grief, fear, envy, pity, desiring things and failing to get them, avoiding things and falling into them? — No one at all. — 5. Do we find, then, any bad man free from grief or fear, not falling into what he would avoid, nor failing to achieve what he desires? — No one. — Then we find no bad man free, either.

Now if some man who has been consul twice hear this, he will forgive you, if you add, “But you are a wise man; this does not apply to you.” Yet if you tell him the truth, to wit: “In point of being a slave you are not a whit better than those who have been thrice sold,” what else can you expect but a flogging? “Why, how am I a slave?” says he. “My father was free, my mother free; no one has a deed of sale for me. More than that, I am a member of the senate, and a friend of Caesar, and I have been consul, and I own many slaves.” Now in the first place, most worthy senator, it is very likely that your father was the same kind of slave that you are, and your mother, and your grandfather, and all your ancestors from first to last. 10. But even if they were free to the limit, what does that prove in your case? Why, what does it prove if they were noble, and you are mean-spirited? If they were brave, and you a coward? If they were self-controlled, and you unrestrained?

And what, says someone, has this to do with being a slave? — Doesn’t it strike you as “having to do with being a slave” for a man to do something against his will, under compulsion? — Granted the point, he replies. But who can put me under compulsion, except Caesar, the lord of all? — There, you have yourself admitted that you have one master. And let it not comfort you that he is, as you say, the common master of all men, but realize that you are a slave in a great house. So also the men of Nicopolis are wont to shout: “Yea, by the fortune of Caesar, we are free men!”

15. However, let us leave Caesar out of account, if you please, for the present, but answer me this: Were you never in love with anyone, a pretty girl, or pretty boy, a slave, a freedman? — What, then, has that to do with being either slave or free? — Were you never commanded by your sweetheart to do something you didn’t wish to do? Did you never cozen your pet slave? Did you never kiss his feet? Yet if someone should compel you to kiss the feet of Caesar, you would regard that as insolence and most extravagant tyranny. What else, then, is slavery? Did you never go out at night where you didn’t want to go? Did you never spend more than you wanted to spend? Did you never utter words with groaning and lamentation, endure to be reviled, to have the door shut in your face? Well, if you are ashamed to admit such things about yourself, observe what Thrasonides says and does, a man who had served on so many campaigns — perhaps more even than you have. First, he went out at night when Geta hasn’t the courage to go abroad, but, if the latter had been compelled by him to do so, he would have gone out crying aloud and bewailing his bitter slavery. 20. And then what does Thrasonides say? Says he,

A cheap little wench has made of me a perfect slave.
Of me, though never a one among all my foemen might.

Sad wretch, to be the slave of a wench, and a cheap one at that! Why, then, do you call yourself free any longer? And why do you talk of your campaigns? Then he calls for a sword, and gets angry at the man who refuses out of good-will to give it to him, and sends presents to the girl who hates him, and begs, and weeps, and again, when he has had a little success, he is elated. And yet even then, so long as he had not learned to give up passionate desire or fear, could this man have been in possession of freedom?

Consider now, in the case of the animals, how we employ the concept of freedom. 25. Men shut up tame lions in a cage, and bring them up, and feed them, and some take them around with them. And yet who will call such a lion free? Is it not true that the more softly the lion lives the more slavishly he lives? And what lion, were he to get sense and reason, would care to be one of these lions? Why, yes, and the birds yonder, when they are caught and brought up in cages, what do they suffer in their efforts to escape? And some of them starve to death rather than endure such a life, while even such as live, barely do so, and suffer and pine away, and if ever they find any opening, make their escape. Such is their desire for physical freedom, and a life of independence and freedom from restraint. And what is wrong with you here in your cage? “What a question! My nature is to fly where I please, to live in the open air, to sing when I please. You rob me of all this, and then ask, ‘What is wrong with you?’”

That is why we shall call free only those animals which do not submit to captivity, but escape by dying as soon as they are captured. 30. So also Diogenes says somewhere: “The one sure way to secure freedom is to die cheerfully”; and to the Persian king he writes: “You cannot enslave the Athenian State any more than you can enslave the fish.” “How so? Shall I not lay hold of them?” “If you do,” he replies, “they will forthwith leave you and escape, like the fish. And that is true, for if you lay hold of one of them, it dies; and if these Athenians die when you lay hold of them, what good will you get from your armament?” That is the word of a free man who has seriously examined the matter, and, as you might expect, had discovered truth about it. But if you look for it where it does not exist, why be surprised if you never find it?

It is the slave’s prayer that he be set free immediately. Why? Do you think it is because he is eager to pay his money to the men who collect the five percent tax? No, it is because he fancies that up till now he is hampered and uncomfortable, because he has not obtained his freedom from slavery. “If I am set free,” he says, “immediately it is all happiness, I shall pay no attention to anybody, I talk to everybody as an equal and as one in the same station in life, I go where I please, I come whence I please, and where I please.” 35. Then he is emancipated, and forthwith, having no place to which to go and eat, he looks for someone to flatter, for someone at whose house to dine. Next he either earns a living by prostitution, and so endures the most dreadful things, and if he gets a manger at which to eat he has fallen into a slavery much more severe than the first; or even if he grows rich, being a vulgarian he has fallen in love with a chit of a girl, and is miserable, and laments, and yearns for his slavery again. “Why, what was wrong with me? Someone else kept me in clothes, and shoes, and supplied me with food, and nursed me when I was sick; I served him in only a few matters. But now, miserable man that I am, what suffering is mine, who am a slave to several instead of one! However, if I get rings on my fingers,” he says, “then indeed I shall live most prosperously and happily.” And so, first, in order to get them he submits to — what he deserves! Then when he has got them, you have the same thing over again. Next he says, “If I serve in a campaign, I am rid of all my troubles.” He serves in a campaign, he submits to all that a jail-bird suffers, but nonetheless he demands a second campaign and a third. 40. After that, when he adds the very colophon, and becomes a senator, then he becomes a slave as he enters the senate, then he serves in the handsomest and sleekest slavery.

Come, let him not be a fool, let him learn, as Socrates used to say, “What each several thing means,” and not apply his preconceptions at random to the particular cases. For this is the cause to men of all their evils, namely, their inability to apply their general preconceptions to the particular instances. But some of us think one thing and some another. One man fancies he is ill. Not at all; the fact is that he is not applying his preconceptions. Another fancies he is a beggar; another that he has a hard-hearted father or mother; still another that Caesar is not gracious to him. But this means one thing and one thing only — ignorance of how to apply their preconceptions. Why, who does not have a preconception of evil, that it is harmful, that it is to be avoided, that it is something to get rid of in every way? One preconception does not conflict with another, 45. but conflict arises when one proceeds to apply them. What, then, is this evil that is harmful and is to be avoided? One person says it is not to be Caesar’s friend; he is off the course, he has missed the proper application, he is in a bad way, he is looking for what is not pertinent to the case in hand; because, when he has succeeded in being Caesar’s friend, he has nonetheless failed to get what he was seeking. For what is it that every man is seeking? To live securely, to be happy, to do everything as he wishes to do, not to be hindered, not to be subject to compulsion. When, therefore, he becomes a friend of Caesar, has he been relieved of hindrance, reheved of compulsion, does he live securely, does he live serenely? From whom shall we inquire? What better witness have we than this very man who has become Caesar’s friend? Come into the midst and tell us. When did you sleep more peacefully, now or before you became Caesar’s friend? Immediately the answer comes: “Stop, I implore you by the gods, and do not jest at my lot; you don’t know what I suffer, miserable man that I am; no sleep visits me, but first one person comes in and then another and reports that Caesar is already awake, and is already coming out; then troubles, then worries!” Come, when did you dine more pleasantly, now or formerly? Listen to him and to what he has to say on this topic. If he is not invited, he is hurt, and if he is invited, he dines like a slave at a master’s table, all the time careful not to say or do something foolish. And what do you suppose he is afraid of? That he be scourged like a slave? How can he expect to get off as well as that? But as befits so great a man, a friend of Caesar, he is afraid he will lose his head. When did you take your bath in greater peace? And when did you take your exercise at greater leisure? In a word, which life would you rather live, your present life or the old one? 50. I can take oath that no one is so insensate or so incurable as not to lament his misfortunes the more he is a friend of Caesar.

When, therefore, neither those who are styled kings live as they will, nor the friends of these kings, what free men are left? — Seek and you will find. For nature has given you resources to find the truth. But if you are unable of yourself, by employing these resources alone, to find the next step, listen to those who have already made the search. What do they say? Does freedom seem to you to be a good? — Yes, the greatest. — Is it possible, then, for a man who has this greatest good to be unhappy, or to fare ill? — No. — When, therefore, you see men unhappy, miserable, grieving, declare confidently that they are not free. — I do so declare. — Very well, then, we have now got away from buying and selling and arrangements of that kind in the acquisition of property. For if you are right in agreeing to these propositions, whether it be the Great King who is unhappy, or a little king, whether it be a man of consular rank, or one who has been a consul twice, he could not be free. — Granted.

Answer me, then, this further question: Does freedom seem to you to be a great and noble thing, and precious? — Of course. — Is it possible, then, for a man who achieves a thing so great and precious and noble, to be of abject spirit? — It is not. 55. — When, therefore, you see one man cringing before another, or flattering him contrary to his own opinion, say confidently of this man also that he is not free; and that not merely if he be doing so for the sake of a paltry meal, but even if it be for a governorship or a consulship. Call rather those who do these things for certain small ends slaves on a small scale, and the others, as they deserve, slaves on a grand scale — This also I grant. — And does freedom seem to you to be something independent and self-governing? — Of course. — When, therefore, it is in another’s power to put hindrances in a man’s way and subject him to compulsion, say confidently that this man is not free. And please don’t look at his grandfathers and great-grandfathers, or look for a deed of sale or purchase, but if you hear him say “Master,” in the center of his being and with deep emotion, call him a slave, even if twelve fasces precede him; and if you hear him say, “Alas! What I must suffer!” call him a slave; and, in short, if you see him wailing, complaining, in misery, call him a slave in a toga praetexta. However, if he does none of these things, do not call him free yet, but find out what his judgments are, whether they are in any respect subject to compulsion, to hindrance, to unhappiness; and if you find him to be that kind of a person, call him a slave on holiday at the Saturnalia; say that his master is out of town; later on he will return, and then you will learn what the fellow suffers. — Who will return? — Anyone who has control over the things which some man desires, to get these for him or to take them away. — Have we, then, so many masters? — Yes, so many. For even before these personal masters we have masters in the form of circumstances, and these are many. Hence, it needs must follow that those too who have authority over some one of these circumstances are our masters. 60. Why, look you, no one is afraid of Caesar himself, but he is afraid of death, exile, loss of property, prison, disfranchisement. Nor does anyone love Caesar himself, unless in some way Caesar is a person of great merit; but we love wealth, a tribuneship, a praetorship, a consulship. When we love and hate and fear these things, it needs must be that those who control them are masters over us. That is why we even worship those persons as gods; for we consider that what has power to confer the greatest advantage is divine. And then we lay down the wrong minor premise: “This man has power to confer the greatest advantage.” It needs must be that the conclusion from these premises is wrong too.

What, then, is it which makes a man free from hindrance and his own master? For wealth does not do it, nor a consulship, nor a province, nor a kingdom, but something else has to be found. What, therefore, is it which makes a man free from hindrance and restraint in writing? — The knowledge of how to write. — And what in playing on the harp? — The knowledge of how to play on the harp. — So also in living, it is the knowledge of how to live. Now you have already heard this, as a general principle, but consider it also in its particular applications. Is it possible for the man who is aiming at some one of these things which are under the control of others to be free from hindrance? — No. 65. — Is it possible for him to be free from restraint? — No. — Therefore, it is not possible for him to be free, either. Consider then: Have we nothing which is under our own exclusive control, or is everything in that state; or are some things under our control and others under the control of others? — How do you mean? — When you want your body to be whole, is the matter under your control, or not? — It is not. — And when you want it to be well? — Nor that, either. — And to live or to die? — Nor that, either. — Therefore, your body is not your own possession, it is subject to everyone who is stronger than you are. — Granted. 65. — And your farm, is it under your control to have it when you want, and as long as you want; and in the condition that you want? — No. — And your paltry slaves? — No. — And your clothes? — No. — And your paltry house? — No. — And your horses? — None of these things. — And if you wish by all means your children to live, or your wife, or your brother, or your friends, is the matter under your control? — No, nor that, either.

Have you, then, nothing subject to your authority, which is under your control and yours only, or do you have something of that sort? — I do not know. — Look, then, at the matter this way, and consider it. No one can make you assent to what is false, can he? — No one. — Well, then, in the region of assent you are free from hindrance and restraint. — Granted. — 70. Come, can anyone force you to choose something that you do not want? — He can; for when he threatens me with death or bonds, he compels me to choose. — If, however, you despise death and bonds, do you pay any further heed to him? — No. — Is it, then, an act of your own to despise death, or is it not your own act? — It is mine. — So it is your own act to choose, or is it not? — Granted that it is mine. — And to refuse something? This also is yours. — Yes, but suppose I choose to go for a walk and the other person hinders me? — What part of you will he hinder? Surely not your assent? — No; but my poor body. — Yes, as he would a stone. — Granted that, but I do not proceed to take my walk. — But who told you, “It is your own act to take a walk unhindered”? As for me, I told you that the only unhindered thing was the desire; but where there is a use of the body and its co-operation, you have heard long ago that nothing is your own. — Granted that also. — Can anyone force you to desire what you do not want? — No one. — Or to purpose or plan, or, in a word, to deal with the impressions that come to you? — No, nor that, either; 75. but he will hinder me, when I set my desire upon something, from achieving what I desire. — If you desire something which is your own and not subject to hindrance, how will he hinder you? — Not at all. — Who, then, tells you that the man who sets his desire upon what is not his own is free from hindrance?

Shall I not, then, set my desire on health? — No, not at all, nor on anything else which is not your own. For that which is not in your power to acquire or to keep is none of yours. Keep far away from it not merely your hands, but above all your desire; otherwise, you have delivered yourself into slavery, you have bowed your neck to the burden, if you admire anything that is not your own, if you conceive a violent passion for anything that is in subjection to another and mortal. — Is not my hand my own? — It is a part of you, but by nature it is clay, subject to hindrance and compulsion, a slave to everything that is stronger than you are. And why do I name you the hand? You ought to treat your whole body like a poor loaded-down donkey, as long as it is possible, as long as it is allowed; and if it be commandeered and a soldier lay hold of it, let it go, do not resist nor grumble. If you do, you will get a beating and lose your little donkey just the same. 80. But when this is the way in which you should act as regards the body, consider what is left for you to do about all the other things that are provided for the sake of the body. Since the body is a little donkey, the other things become little bridles for a little donkey, little pack-saddles, little shoes, and barley, and fodder. Let them go too, get rid of them more quickly and cheerfully than of the little donkey itself.

Once prepared and trained in this fashion to distinguish what is not your own from what is your own possession, the things which are subject to hindrance from those which are free from it, to regard these latter as your concern, and the former as no concern of yours, diligently to keep your desire fixed on the latter, and your aversion directed toward the former, then have you any longer anyone to fear? — No one. — Of course; what is there to be fearful about? About the things that are your own, wherein is the true nature of good and evil for you? And who has authority over these? Who can take them away, who can hinder them, any more than one can hinder God? But shall you be fearful about your body and your property? About the things that are not your own? About the things that are nothing to you? And what else have you been studying, from the very outset, but how to discriminate between what is your own and what is not your own, what is under your control and what is not under your control, what is subject to hindrance and what is free from it? For what purpose did you go to the philosophers? That you might no less than before be unfortunate and miserable? You will not, then, in that case, be free from fear and perturbation. And what has pain to do with you? For fear of things anticipated becomes pain when these things are present. And what will you any longer passionately seek? For you possess a harmonious and regulated desire for the things that are within the sphere of the moral purpose, as being excellent, and as being within your reach; and you desire nothing outside the sphere of the moral purpose, so as to give place to that other element of unreason, which pushes you along and is impetuous beyond all measure.

85. Now when you face things in this fashion, what man can inspire fear in you any longer? For what has one human being about him that is calculated to inspire fear in another human being, in either his appearance, or conversation, or intercourse in general, any more than one horse, or dog, or bee inspires fear in another horse, or dog, or bee? Nay, it is things that inspire man with fear; and when one person is able to secure them for another, or to take them away, then he becomes capable of inspiring fear.

How, then, is a citadel destroyed? Not by iron, nor by fire, but by judgments. For if we capture the citadel in the city, have we captured the citadel of fever also, have we captured that of pretty wenches also, in a word, the acropolis within us, and have we cast out the tyrants within us, whom we have lording it over each of us every day, sometimes the same tyrants, and sometimes others? But here is where we must begin, and it is from this side that we must seize the acropolis and cast out the tyrants; we must yield up the paltry body, its members, the faculties, property, reputation, offices, honors, children, brothers, friends — count all these things as alien to us. And if the tyrants he thrown out of the spot, why should I any longer raze the fortifications of the citadel, on my own account, at least? For what harm does it do me by standing? Why should I go on and throw out the tyrant’s bodyguard? For where do I feel them? Their rods, their spears, and their swords they are directing against others. But I have never been hindered in the exercise of my will, nor have I ever been subjected to compulsion against my will. And how is this possible? I have submitted my freedom of choice unto God. He wills that I shall have fever; it is my will too. He wills that I should choose something; it is my will too. He wills that I should desire something; it is my will too. He wills that I should get something; it is my wish too. He does not will it; I do not wish it. 90. Therefore, it is my will to die; therefore, it is my will to be tortured on the rack. Who can hinder me any longer against my own views, or put compulsion upon me? That is no more possible in my case than it would be with Zeus.

This is the way also with the more cautious among travelers. A man has heard that the road which he is taking is infested with robbers; he does not venture to set forth alone, but he waits for a company, either that of an ambassador, or of a quaestor, or of a proconsul, and when he has attached himself to them he travels along the road in safety. So in this world the wise man acts. Says he to himself: “There are many robber-bands, tyrants, storms, difficulties, losses of what is most dear. Where shall a man flee for refuge? How shall he travel secure against robbery? What company shall he wait for that he may pass through in safety? To whom shall he attach himself? To So-and-so, the rich man, or the proconsul? And what is the good of that? He himself is stripped, groans, sorrows. Yes, and what if my fellow-traveler himself turn upon me and rob me? What shall I do? 95. I will become a friend of Caesar; no one will wrong me if I am a companion of his. But, in the first place, the number of things I must suffer and endure in order to become his friend! and the number of times, and the number of persons by whom I must first be robbed! And then, even if I do become his friend, he too is mortal. And if some circumstance lead him to become my enemy, where indeed had I better retire? To a wilderness? What, does not fever go there? What, then, is to become of me? Is it impossible to find a fellow-traveler who is safe, faithful, strong, free from the suspicion of treachery?” Thus he reflects and comes to the thought that, if he attach himself to God, he will pass through the world in safety.

How do you mean “attach himself”? — Why, so that whatever God wills, he also wills, and whatever God does not will, this he also does not will. — 100. How, then, can this be done? — Why, how else than by observing the choices of God and His governance? What has He given me for my own and subject to my authority, and what has He left for Himself? Everything within the sphere of the moral purpose He has given me, subjected them to my control, unhampered and unhindered. My body that is made of clay, how could He make that unhindered? Accordingly He has made it subject to the revolution of the cosmos — my property, my furniture, my house, my children, my wife. Why, then, shall I strive against God? Why shall I will what is not in the province of the will, to keep under all circumstances what has not been given me outright? But how should I keep them? In accordance with the terms upon which they have been given, and for as long as they can be given. But He who gave also takes away. Why, then, shall I resist? I do not say that I shall be a fool for trying to use force upon one who is stronger than I am, but before that I shall be wicked. For where did I get these things when I came into the world? My father gave them to me. And who gave them to him? Who has made the sun, who the fruits, who the seasons, who the union and fellowship of men one with another?

And so, when you have received everything, and your very self, from Another, do you yet complain and blame the Giver, if He take something away from you? Who are you, and for what purpose have you come? Did not He bring you into the world? Did not He show you the light? Did not He give you fellow-workers? Did not He give you senses also and reason? And as what did He bring you into the world? Was it not as a mortal being? Was it not as one destined to live upon earth with a little portion of paltry flesh, and for a little while to be a spectator of His governance, and to join with Him in His pageant and holiday? 105. Are you not willing, then, for so long as has been given you, to be a spectator of His pageant and His festival, and then when He leads you forth, to go, after you have made obeisance and returned thanks for what you have heard and seen? “No,” you say, “but I wanted to go on with the holiday.” Yes, and so do the initiates in the mysteries want to go on with the initiation, and no doubt the spectators at Olympia want to see still other athletes; but the festival has come to an end; leave, depart as a grateful and reverent spectator departs; make room for others; yet others must be born, even as you were born, and once born they must have land, and houses, and provisions. But if the first-comers do not move along, what is left for those who follow after? Why are you insatiate? Why never satisfied? Why do you crowd the world?

Yes, but I want my little children and my wife to be with me. — Are they yours? Do they not belong to Him who gave them? To Him who made your Will you not, therefore, give up what is not your own? Will you not yield to your superior? — Why, then, did He bring me into the world on these conditions? — And if they do not suit you, leave; God has no need of a fault-finding spectator. He needs those who join in the holiday and the dance, that they may applaud rather, and glorify, and sing hymns of praise about the festival. But the peevish and the cowardly He will not be distressed to see left out of the festival; for when they were present they did not act as though they were on a holiday, nor did they fill the proper role; but they were distressed, found fault with the Deity, with fate, and with the company; insensible to what had been vouchsafed them, and to their own powers which they had received for the very opposite use — high-mindedness, nobility of character, courage, and the very freedom for which we are now seeking. — 110. For what purpose, then, did I receive these gifts? — To use them. — How long? — For as long as He who lent them to you wills. — But what if they are necessary to me? — Do not set your heart upon them, and they will not be necessary to you. Do not say to yourself that they are necessary, and they will not be.

This is what you ought to practice from morning till evening. Begin with the most trifling things, the ones most exposed to injury, like a pot, or a cup, and then advance to a tunic, a paltry dog, a mere horse, a bit of land; thence to yourself, your body, and its members, your children, wife, brothers. Look about on every side and cast these things away from you. Purify your judgments, for fear lest something of what is not your own may be fastened to them, or grown together with them, and may give you pain when it is torn loose. And every day while you are training yourself, as you do in the gymnasium, do not say that you are “pursuing philosophy” (indeed an arrogant phrase!), but that you are a slave presenting your emancipator in court; for this is the true freedom. This is the way in which Diogenes was set free by Antisthenes, and afterwards said that he could never be enslaved again by any man. 115. How, in consequence, did he behave when he was captured! How he treated the pirates! He called none of them master, did he? And I am not referring to the name! it is not the word that I fear, but the emotion, which produces the word. How he censures them because they gave bad food to their captives! How he behaved when he was sold! Did he look for a master? No, but for a slave. And how he behaved toward his master after he had been sold! He began immediately to argue with him, telling him that he ought not to dress that way, or have his hair cut that way, and about his sons, how they ought to live. And what is there strange about that? Why, if he had bought a gymnastic trainer, would he have employed him as a servant, or as a master, in the exercises of the palaestra? And if he had bought a physician, or a master-builder, the same would have been true. And thus in every subject-matter, it is quite unavoidable that the man of skill should be superior to the man without skill. In general, therefore, whoever possesses the science of how to live, how can he help but be the master? For who is master in a ship? — The helmsman. — Why? Because the man who disobeys him is punished. — But my master is able to give me a sound flogging. — He cannot do so with impunity, can he? — So I thought. — But because he cannot do so with impunity, therefore he has no authority to do it; no man can do wrong with impunity. — 120. And what is the punishment that befalls the man who has put his own slave in chains, when he felt like it? — The putting of him in chains; this is something which you will admit yourself, if you wish to maintain the proposition that man is not a wild beast but a tame animal. For when is a vine faring badly? When it is acting contrary to its own nature. When is a cock faring badly? Under the same conditions. So also man. What, then, is his nature? To bite, and kick, and throw into prison, and behead? No, but to do good, to work together, and to pray for the success of others. Therefore, he is faring badly, whether you will or no, when he acts unfeelingly.

You imply, then, that Socrates did not fare badly? — He did not; it was his judges and accusers who fared badly. — Nor Helvidius at Rome? — No, but the man who put him to death. — How so? — Just as you too do not say that the cock which has won a victory, even though he be severely cut up, has fared badly, but rather the one who has been beaten without suffering a blow. Nor do you call a dog happy when he is neither in pursuit nor toiling hard, but when you see him sweating, suffering, bursting from the chase. 125. What is there paradoxical in the statement, if we say that everything’s evil is what is contrary to its own nature? Is that paradoxical? Do you not say it yourself in the case of everything else? Why, then, do you take a different course in the case of man alone? But our statement that the nature of man is gentle, and affectionate, and faithful, is this not paradoxical? — No, that is not paradoxical, either. — How, then, does it come about that he suffers no harm, even though he is soundly flogged, or imprisoned, or beheaded? Is it not thus — if he bears it all in a noble spirit, and comes off with increased profit and advantage, while the other man is the one who suffers harm, the man who is subjected to the most pitiful and disgraceful experience, who becomes a wolf, or a snake, or a wasp, instead of a human being?

Come, now, and let us review the points on which we have reached agreement. The unhampered man, who finds things ready to hand as he wants them, is free. But the man who can be hampered, or subjected to compulsion, or hindered, or thrown into something against his will, is a slave. And who is unhampered? The man who fixes his aim on nothing that is not his own. And what are the things which are not our own? All that are not under our control, either to have, or not to have, or to have of a certain quality, or under certain conditions. 130. Therefore, the body is not our own, its members are not our own, property is not our own. If, then, you conceive a strong passion for some one of these things, as though it were your immediate possession, you will be punished as he should be who fixes his aim upon what is not his own. This is the road which leads to freedom, this is the only surcease of slavery, to be able to say at any time with your whole heart.

Lead thou me on, O Zeus, and Destiny,
To that goal long ago to me assigned.

But what say you, philosopher? The tyrant calls upon you to say something that is unworthy of you. Do you say it, or not say it? Tell me. — Let me think about it. — Think about it now? But what were you thinking about when you were attending lectures? Did you not study the questions, what things are good, and what bad, and what are neither good nor bad? — I did. — What conclusions were approved, then, by you and your fellows? — That things righteous and excellent were good, things unrighteous and disgraceful bad. — Life is not a good thing, is it? — No. — Nor death a bad thing? — No. — Nor imprisonment? — No. — But ignoble speech and faithless, and betrayal of a friend, and flattery of a tyrant, what did you and your fellows think of these? — We thought them evil. — What then? You are not thinking about the question now, nor have you thought about it and considered it hitherto. Why, what kind of inquiry is it, to raise the question whether it is fitting, when it is in my power to get for myself the greatest goods, not to get for myself the greatest evils! A fine and necessary question, forsooth, that requires a great deal of deliberation. Why are you making fun of us, man? Such an inquiry is never made. 135. Besides, if you had honestly imagined that disgraceful things were bad, and all else indifferent, you would never have approached this inquiry, no, nor anything near it; but you would have been able to settle the question on the spot, by intuition, just as in a case involving sight. Why, when do you stop to “think about it,” if the question is, Are black things white, or, Are heavy things light? Do you not follow the clear evidence of your senses? How comes it, then, that now you say you are thinking it over, whether things indifferent are more to be avoided than things bad? But you do not have these judgments; on the contrary, imprisonment and death do not appear to you to be indifferent, but rather the greatest evils, and dishonorable words and deeds are not bad in your sight, but rather things that do not concern us. For that is the habit which you developed from the start. “Where am I?” you say. “In school. And who are listening to me? I am talking in the company of philosophers. But now I have left the school; away with those sayings of pedants and fools!” That is how a friend is condemned on the testimony of a philosopher. that is how a philosopher turns parasite, that is how he hires himself out for money, that is how at a meeting of the senate a man does not say what he thinks, while within his breast his judgment shouts loudly, 140. no cold and miserable remnant suspended from idle argumentations as by a hair, but a strong and serviceable judgment, and familiar with its business by having been trained in action. Watch yourself, and see how you take the word — I do not say the word that your child is dead; how could you possibly bear that? — but the word that your oil is spilled, or your wine drunk up. Well might someone stand over you, when you are in this excited condition, and say simply, “Philosopher, you talk differently in the school; why are you deceiving us? Why, when you are a worm, do you claim that you are a man?” I should like to stand over one of these philosophers when he is engaged in sexual intercourse, so as to see how he exerts himself, what manner of words he utters, whether he remembers his own name, or the arguments that he hears, or repeats, or reads!

And what has all this to do with freedom? — Nay, nothing but all this has to do with freedom, whether you rich people so wish or not. — 145. And what is your witness to this? — Why, what else but you yourselves who have this mighty master, and live at his nod and gesture, who faint away if he but look at one of you with a scowl on his face, paying court to the old women and the old men, and saying, “I cannot do this; I am not allowed”? Why are you not allowed? Were you not just now arguing with me and claiming that you were free? “But Aprulla has prevented me.” Tell the truth, then, slave, and do not run away from your masters, nor make denial, nor dare to present your emancipator, when you have so many proofs to convict you of slavery. And, indeed, when a man out of passionate love is under the compulsion to do something contrary to his opinion, all the time seeing the better thing but lacking the strength to follow, one might be all the more inclined to regard him as deserving pity, because he is in the grip of something violent, and, in a manner of speaking, divine. But who could endure you with your passion for old women and old men, wiping the noses and washing the faces of old women, corrupting them with presents, and all the while you are nursing them, like a slave, in some illness, praying for them to die, and asking the physicians if they are finally on their deathbed? Or again, when for the sake of these mighty and dignified offices and honors you kiss the hands of other men’s slaves, so as to be the slave of men who are not even free? And then, God save the mark, you walk around in your dignity as a praetor or a consul! Don’t I know how you came to be praetor, how you got your consulship, who gave it to you? 150. As for me, I should not care even to live, if I had to owe my life to Felicio, putting up with his insolence and slavish arrogance; for I know what a slave is, who is prosperous as the world goes, and puffed up with pride.

Are you, then, free, says someone? — By the gods I wish to be, and pray to be, but I am not yet able to look into the face of my masters, I still honor my paltry body, I take great pains to keep it sound, although it is not sound in any case. But I can show you a free man, so that you will never again have to look for an example, Diogenes was free. How did that come? It was not because he was born of free parents, for he was not, but because he himself was free, because he had cast off all the handles of slavery, and there was no way in which a person could get close and lay hold of him to enslave him. Everything he had was easily loosed, everything was merely tied on. If you had laid hold of his property, he would have let it go rather than followed you for its sake; if you had laid hold of his leg, he would have let his leg go; if of his whole paltry body, his whole paltry body; and so also his kindred, friends, and country. He knew the source from which he had received them, and from whom, and upon what conditions. His true ancestors, indeed, the gods, and his real Country he would never have abandoned, nor would he have suffered another to yield them more obedience and submission, nor could any other man have died more cheerfully for his Country. 155. For it was never his wont to seek to appear to do anything in behalf of the Cosmos, but he bore in mind that everything which has come into being has its source there, and is done on behalf of that Country, and is entrusted to us by Him who governs it. Therefore, see what he himself says and writes: “For this reason,” he says, “you are permitted, O Diogenes, to converse as you please with the king of the Persians and with Archidamus, the king of the Lacedaemonians.” Was it, indeed, because he was born of free parents? No doubt it was because they were all the children of slaves that the Athenians, and Lacedaemonians, and Corinthians were unable to converse with these monarchs as they pleased, but were afraid of them and paid court to them! Why, then, someone asks, are you permitted? “Because I do not regard my paltry body as my own; because I need nothing; because the law, and nothing else, is everything to me.” This it was which allowed him to be a free man.

And that you may not think I am showing you an example of a man who was solitary, and had neither wife, nor children, nor country, nor friends, nor kinsmen, who might have bent him and diverted him from his purpose, take Socrates and observe a man who had a wife and little children, but regarded them as not his own, who had a country, as far as it was his duty, and in the way in which it was his duty, and friends, and kinsmen, one and all subject to the law and to obedience to the law. 160. That is why, when it was his duty to serve as a soldier, he was the first to leave home, and ran the risks of battle most ungrudgingly; and when he was sent by the Tyrants to fetch Leon, because he regarded it as disgraceful, he never deliberated about the matter at all, although he knew that he would have to die, if it so chanced. And what difference did it make to him? For there was something else that he wished to preserve; not his paltry flesh, but the man of honor, the man of reverence, that he was. These are things which are not to be entrusted to another, not to be made subject. Later on, when he had to speak in defense of his life, he did not behave as one who had children, or a wife, did he? Nay, but as one who was alone in the world. Yes, and when he had to drink the poison, how does he act? When he might have saved his life, and when Crito said to him, “Leave the prison for the sake of your children,” what is his reply? Did he think it a bit of good luck? Impossible! No, he regards what is fitting, and as for other considerations, he does not so much as look at or consider them. For he did not care, he says, to save his paltry body, but only that which is increased and preserved by right conduct, and is diminished and destroyed by evil conduct. Socrates does not save his life with dishonor, the man who refused to put the vote when the Athenians demanded it of him, the man who despised the Tyrants, the man who held such noble discourse about virtue and moral excellence; 165. this man it is impossible to save by dishonor, but he is saved by death, and not by flight. Yes, and the good actor, too, is saved when he stops at the right time, rather than the one who acts out of season. What, then, will the children do? “If I had gone to Thessaly, you would have looked after them; but when I have gone down to the house of Hades, will there be no one to look after them?” See how he calls death soft names, and jests at it. But if it had been you or I, we should forthwith have fallen into the philosophic vein, and said, “One ought to repay evil-doers in kind,” and added, “If I save my life I shall be useful to many persons, but if I die I shall be useful to no one”; yes, indeed, and if we had had to crawl out through a hole to escape, we should have done so! And how should we have been of use to anybody? For where could we have been of use, if the others still remained in Athens? Or if we were useful to men by living, should we not have done much more good to men by dying when we ought, and as we ought? And now that Socrates is dead the memory of him is no less useful to men, nay, is perhaps even more useful, than what he did or said while he still lived.

170. Study these things, these judgments, these arguments, look at these examples, if you wish to be free, if you desire the thing itself in proportion to its value. And what wonder is there if you buy something so great at the price of things so many and so great? For the sake of what is called freedom some men hang themselves, others leap over precipices, sometimes whole cities perish; for true freedom, which cannot be plotted against and is secure, will you not yield up to God, at His demand, what He has given? Will you not, as Plato says, study not merely to die, but even to be tortured on the rack, and to go into exile, and to be severely flogged, and, in a word, to give up everything that is not your own? If not, you will be a slave among slaves; even if you are consul ten thousand times, even if you go up to the Palace — a slave nonetheless; and you will perceive that, as Cleanthes used to say, “Possibly the philosophers say what is contrary to opinion, but assuredly not what is contrary to reason.” For you will learn by experience that what they say is true, and that none of these things which are admired and sought after are of any good to those who attain them; while those who have not yet attained them get an impression that, if once these things come to them, they will be possessed of all things good, and then, when they do come, the burning heat is just as bad, there is the same tossing about on the sea, the same sense of surfeit, the same desire for what they do not have. 175. For freedom is not acquired by satisfying yourself with what you desire, but by destroying your desire. And that you may learn the truth of all this, as you have toiled for those other things, so also transfer your toil to these; keep vigils for the sake of acquiring a judgment which will make you free, devote yourself to a philosopher instead of to a rich old man, be seen about his doors; it will be no disgrace to be so seen, you will not retire thence empty and without profit, if you approach him in the right fashion. Anyway, try it at least; there is no disgrace in making the attempt.

II: Of social intercourse.

To this topic you ought to devote yourself before every other, how, namely, you may avoid ever being so intimately associated with someone of your acquaintances or friends as to descend to the same level with him; otherwise you will ruin yourself. But if there slips into your mind the thought, “He will think me unmannerly and will not be as friendly as he used to be,” remember that nothing is done without paying for it, and that it is impossible for a man to remain the same person that he used to be, if he does not do the same things. Choose, therefore, which you prefer; either to be loved just as much as you used to be by the same persons, remaining like your former self, or else, by being superior to your former self, to lose the same affection. Because if this latter alternative is the better choice, turn forthwith in that direction, and let not the other considerations draw you away; for no man is able to make progress when he is facing both ways. But if you have preferred this course to every other, if you wish to devote yourself to this alone, and labor to perfect it, give up everything else. 5. Otherwise this facing both ways will bring about a double result: You will neither make progress as you ought, nor will you get what you used to get before. For before, when you frankly aimed at nothing worthwhile, you made a pleasant companion. You cannot achieve distinction along both lines, but you must needs fall short in the one to the degree in which you take part in the other. If you do not drink with those you used to drink with, you cannot in their eyes be as pleasant a companion as you used to be; choose, therefore, whether you wish to be a hard drinker and pleasant to those persons, or a sober man and unpleasant. If you do not sing with those you used to sing with, you cannot be loved by them as you used to be; choose, therefore, here also, which you wish. For if it is better to be a man of respectful and modest behavior than for someone to say of you, “He is a pleasant fellow,” give up all other considerations, renounce them, turn your back upon them, have nothing to do with them. But if that does not please you, turn about, the whole of you, to the opposite; become one of the addicts to unnatural vice, one of the adulterers, and act in the corresponding fashion, and you will get what you wish. Yes, and jump up and shout your applause to the dancer. 10. But different characters do not mix in this fashion; you cannot act the part of Thersites and that of Agamemnon too. If you wish to be a Thersites, you ought to be humpbacked and bald; if an Agamemnon, you ought to be tall and handsome, and to love those who have been made subject to you.

III: What things should be exchanged for what things?

Here is a thought to keep ready at hand whenever you lose some external thing: What are you acquiring in its place? and if this be more valuable than the other, never say, “I have suffered a loss.” You have lost nothing if you get a horse for an ass, an ox for a sheep, a noble action for a small piece of money, the proper kind of peace for futile discourse, and self-respect for smutty talk. If you bear this in mind you will everywhere maintain your character as it ought to be. If not, I would have you observe that your time is being spent to no purpose, and all the pains you are now taking with yourself you are sure to spill out utterly and upset. Little is needed to ruin and upset everything, only a slight aberration from reason. 5. For the helmsman to upset his ship he does not need the same amount of preparation that he does to keep it safe; but if he heads it a little too much into the wind, he is lost; yes, even if he does nothing by his own deliberate choice, but merely falls to thinking about something else for a moment, he is lost. In life also it is very much the same; if you doze but for a moment, all that you have amassed hitherto is gone. Pay attention, therefore, to your sense-impressions, and watch over them sleeplessly. For it is no small matter that you are guarding, but self-respect, and fidelity, and constancy, a state of mind undisturbed by passion, pain, fear, or confusion — in a word, freedom. What are the things for which you are about to sell these things? Look, how valuable are they? — But, you say, I shall not get anything of that kind in return for what I am giving up. — Observe also, when you do get something in the exchange, just what it is you are getting for what you give up. “I have a modest behavior, he has a tribuneship; he has a praetorship, I have self-respect. But I do not shout where it is unseemly; I shall not stand up where I ought not; for I am a free man and a friend of God, so as to obey Him of my own free will. 10. No other thing ought I to claim, not body, or property, or office, or reputation — nothing, in short; nor does He wish me to claim them. Had He so desired He would have made them good for me. But as it is, He has not so made them; therefore I cannot transgress any of His commands.” Guard your own good in everything you do; and for the rest be content to take simply what has been given you, in so far as you can make a rational use of it. If you do not, you will have bad luck and no good luck, you will be hampered and hindered. These are the laws that have been sent you from God, these are His ordinances; it is of these you ought to become an interpreter, to these you ought to subject yourself, not the laws of Masurius and Cassius.

IV: To those who have set their hearts upon living in peace.

Remember that it is not merely desire for office and wealth which makes men abject and subservient to others, but desire also for peace, and leisure, and travel, and scholarship. For it makes no difference what the external object be, the value you set upon it makes you subservient to another. What difference, then, does it make for you to set your heart on the senate, or on not becoming a senator? What difference does it make to desire office or to desire not to hold office? What difference does it make to say, “I am in a bad way, I have nothing to do, but am tied to my books as though I were a corpse,” or to say, “I am in a bad way, I have no leisure to read”? For just as salutations and office-holding are among things external and those which lie outside the province of the moral purpose, so also is a book. Or for what purpose do you wish to read? Tell me. If you turn to reading merely for entertainment, or in order to learn something, you are futile and lazy. But if you refer reading to the proper standard, what else is this but a life of serenity? However, if reading does not secure for you a life of serenity, of what good is it? 5. —Nay, it does secure me serenity, one says, and that is why I am discontented because I am deprived of it. — And what kind of serenity is this which any chance comer can impede, not merely Caesar, or a friend of Caesar, but a crow, a flutist, fever, thirty thousand other things? But no feature of serenity is so characteristic as continuity and freedom from hindrance.

At this instant I am being called to do something; at this instant I shall go home with the purpose of observing the due measure that I ought to maintain, acting with self-respect, with security, apart from desire and avoidance of things external; and in the second place I observe men, what they say, how they move, and this in no malignant spirit, nor in order to have something to censure or ridicule, but I look at myself the while, to see if I too am making the same mistakes. “How, then, shall I cease to make mistakes?” There was a time when I too made mistakes, but now no longer, thanks be to God…

Come, if you have acted like this and devoted yourself to these things, have you done anything worse than reading a thousand lines, or writing a thousand? For when you eat, are you annoyed because you are not reading? Are you not satisfied to be eating in accordance with the principles you learned by reading? And when you bathe and take exercise? Why, then, are you not consistent in everything, both when you approach Caesar, and when you approach So-and-so? If you are maintaining the character of a man of tranquility, of imperturbability, of sedateness, 10. if you are observing what happens rather than being yourself observed, if you are not envying those who are preferred in honor above you, if the mere subject-matter of actions does not dazzle you, what do you lack? Books? How, or for what end? What, is not the reading of books a kind of preparation for the act of living? But the full measure of the act of living is made up of things other than books. It is as though the athlete on entering the stadium were to fall a-wailing because he is not exercising outside. This was what you exercised for, this is the purpose of your jumping-weights, your wrestler’s sand, your young training partners. And are you now asking for these things, when the time for action is come? It is as if, when in the sphere of assent we were surrounded with sense-impressions, some of them convincing, and others not convincing, we should not wish to distinguish between them, but to read a treatise On Comprehension!

What, then, is the reason for this? It is because we have never read for this purpose, we have never written for this purpose — in our actions, to treat in accordance with nature the sense-impressions which come to us; but we stop with having learned what is said, and with the ability to explain it to someone else, and with analyzing the syllogism, and examining the hypothetical argument. 15. That is why, where our heart is set, there also our impediment lies. Do you wish at any cost to have the things that are not under your control? Very well then, be hindered, be obstructed, fail. If we should read a treatise On Choice, not in order to know about the subject, but in order to make correct choices; a treatise On Desire and Aversion, in order that we may never fail in our desire nor fall into that which we are trying to avoid; a treatise On Duty, in order that we may remember our relations in society and do nothing irrationally or contrary to the principles of duty; we should not be vexed by being hindered in regard to what we have read, but we should find satisfaction in doing the deeds required by our mutual relations, and we should be reckoning, not the things which we have been accustomed hitherto to reckon: “Today I have read so many lines, I have written so many,” but, “Today I made a choice in the way that the philosophers teach, I did not entertain desire, I avoided only those things that are in the sphere of the moral purpose, I was not overawed by So-and-so, I was not put out of countenance by So-and-so, I exercised my patience, my abstinence, my co-operation,” and thus we should be giving thanks to God for those things for which we ought to give Him thanks. But as it is, we do not realize that we ourselves, though in a different fashion, grow like the multitude. Another man is afraid that he will not have an office; you are afraid that you will. Do not so, man! 20. But just as you laugh at the man who is afraid he will not have an office, so also laugh at yourself. For it makes no difference whether a person is thirsty with fever, or is afraid of water like a man with the rabies. Or how can you any longer say with Socrates, “If so it please God, so be it”? Do you suppose that, if Socrates had yearned to spend his leisure in the Lyceum or the Academy, and to converse daily with the young men, he would have gone forth cheerfully on all the military expeditions in which he served? Would he not have wailed and groaned, “Wretched man that I am I here I am now in misery and misfortune, when I might be sunning myself in the Lyceum”? What, was this your function in life, to sun yourself? Was it not rather to be serene, to be unhampered, to be unhindered? And how would he have been Socrates any longer, if he had wailed like this? How would he have gone on to write paeans in prison?

In a word, then, remember this — that if you are going to honor anything at all outside the sphere of the moral purpose, you have destroyed your moral purpose. And outside the sphere of your moral purpose lie not merely office, but also freedom from office; not merely business, but also leisure. “Am I now, therefore, to pass my life in this turmoil?” What do you mean by “turmoil”? Among many people? And what is there hard about that? Imagine that you are in Olympia, regard the turmoil as a festival. There, too, one man shouts this and another that; one man does this and another that; one man jostles another; there is a crowd in the baths. And yet who of us does not take delight in the Olympic festival and leave it with sorrow? 25. Do not become peevish or fastidious toward events. “The vinegar is rotten, for it is sour.” “The honey is rotten, for it upsets my digestion.” “I don’t like vegetables.” In the same fashion you say, “I don’t like leisure, it is a solitude.” “I don’t like a crowd, it is turmoil.” Say not so, but if circumstances bring you to spend your life alone or in the company of a few, call it peace, and utilize the condition for its proper end; converse with yourself, exercise your sense-impressions, develop your preconceptions. If, however, you fall in with a crowd, call it games, a festival, a holiday, try to keep holiday with the people. For what is pleasanter to a man who loves his fellow-men than the sight of large numbers of them? We are glad to see herds of horses or cattle; when we see many ships we are delighted; is a person annoyed at the sight of many human beings? “Yes, but they deafen me with their shouting.” Oh, well, it is your hearing that is interfered with! What, then, is that to you? Your faculty of employing external impressions is not interfered with, is it? And who prevents you from making natural use of desire and aversion, of choice and refusal? What manner of turmoil avails to do that?

Do but keep in remembrance your general principles: “What is mine? What is not mine? What has been given me? What does God will that I do now, what does He not will?” 30. A little while ago it was His will for you to be at leisure, to converse with yourself, to write about these things, to read, to listen, to prepare yourself; you had time sufficient for that. Now, God says to you, “Come at length to the contest, show us what you have learned, how you have trained yourself. How long will you exercise alone? Now the time has come for you to discover whether you are one of the athletes who deserve victory, or belong to the number of those who travel about the world and are everywhere defeated.” Why, then, are you discontented? No contest is held without turmoil. There must be many training-partners, many to shout applause, many officials, many spectators. — But I wanted to live a life of peace. — Wail, then, and groan, as you deserve to do. For what greater penalty can befall the man who is uninstructed and disobedient to the divine injunctions than to grieve, to sorrow, to envy, in a word to have no good fortune but only misfortune? Do you not wish to free yourself from all this?

And how shall I free myself? — Have you not heard over and over again that you ought to eradicate desire utterly, direct your aversion toward the things that lie within the sphere of the moral purpose, and these things only, that you ought to give up everything, your body, your property, your reputation, your books, turmoil, office, freedom from office? For if once you swerve aside from this course, you are a slave, you are a subject, you have become liable to hindrance and to compulsion, you are entirely under the control of others. Nay, the word of Cleanthes is ready at hand,

Lead thou me on, O Zeus, and Destiny.

Will ye have me go to Rome? I go to Rome. To Gyara? I go to Gyara. To Athens? I go to Athens. To prison? I go to prison. 35. If but once you say, “Oh, when may a man go to Athens?” you are lost. This wish, if unfulfilled, must necessarily make you unfortunate; if fulfilled, vain and puffed up over the wrong kind of thing; again, if you are hindered, you suffer a misfortune, falling into what you do not wish. Give up, then, all these things. “Athens is beautiful.” But happiness is much more beautiful, tranquility, freedom from turmoil, having your own affairs under no man’s control. “There is turmoil in Rome, and salutations.” But serenity is worth all the annoyances. If, then, the time for these things has come, why not get rid of your aversion for them: Why must you needs bear burdens like a belabored donkey? Otherwise, I would have you see that you must be ever the slave of the man who is able to secure your release, to the man who is able to hinder you in everything, and you must serve him as an Evil Genius.

There is but one way to serenity (keep this thought ready for use at dawn, and by day, and at night), and that is to yield up all claim to the things that lie outside the sphere of the moral purpose, to regard nothing as your own possession; to surrender everything to the Deity, to Fortune; to yield everything to the supervision of those persons whom even Zeus has made supervisors; 40. and to devote yourself to one thing only, that which is your own, that which is free from hindrance, and to read referring your reading to this end, and so to write and so to listen. That is why I cannot call a man industrious, if I hear merely that he reads or writes, and even if one adds that he sits up all night, I cannot yet say that the man is industrious, until I know for what end he does so. For neither do you call a man industrious who loses sleep for the sake of a wench; no more do I. But if he acts this way for the sake of reputation, I call him ambitious; if for the sake of money, I call him fond of money, not fond of toil. If, however, the end for which he toils is his own governing principle, to have it be, and live continually, in accordance with nature, then and then only I call him industrious. For I would not have you men ever either praise or blame a man for things that may be either good or bad, but only for judgments. Because these are each man’s own possessions, which make his actions either base or noble. 45. Bearing all this in mind, rejoice in what you have and be satisfied with what the moment brings. If you see any of the things that you have learned and studied thoroughly coming to fruition for you in action, rejoice in these things. If you have put away or reduced a malignant disposition, and reviling, or impertinence, or foul language, or recklessness, or negligence; if you are not moved by the things that once moved you, or at least not to the same degree, then you can keep festival day after day; today because you behaved well in this action, tomorrow because you behaved well in another. How much greater cause for thanksgiving is this than a consulship or a governorship! these things come to you from your own self and from the gods. Remember who the Giver is, and to whom He gives, and for what end. If you are brought up in reasonings such as these, can you any longer raise the questions where you are going to be happy, and where you will please God? Are not men everywhere equally distant from God? Do they not everywhere have the same view of what comes to pass?

V: Against the contentious and brutal.

The good and excellent man neither contends with anyone, nor, as far as he has the power, does he allow others to contend. We have an example before us of this also, as well as of everything else, in the life of Socrates, who did not merely himself avoid contention upon every occasion, but tried to prevent others as well from contending. See in Xenophon’s Symposium how many contentions he has resolved, and again how patient he was with Thrasymachus, Polus, and Callicles, and habitually so with his wife, and also with his son when the latter tried to confute him with sophistical arguments. For Socrates bore very firmly in mind that no one is master over another’s governing principle. He willed, accordingly, nothing but what was his own. 5. And what is that? [Not to try to make other people act] in accordance with nature, for that does not belong to one; but, while they are attending to their own business as they think best, himself none the less to be and to remain in a state of harmony with nature, attending only to his own business, to the end that they also may be in harmony with nature. For this is the object which the good and excellent man has ever before him. To become praetor? No; but if this be given him, to maintain his own governing principle in these circumstances. To marry? No; but if marriage be given him, to maintain himself as one who in these circumstances is in harmony with nature. But if he wills that his son or his wife make no mistake, he wills that what is not his own should cease to be not his own. And to be getting an education means this: To be learning what is your own, and what is not your own.

Where, then, is there any longer room for contention, if a man is in such a state? Why, he is not filled with wonder at anything that happens, is he? Does anything seem strange to him? Does he not expect worse and harsher treatment from the wicked than actually befalls him? Does he not count it as gain whenever they fail to go to the limit? “So-and-so reviled you.” I am greatly obliged to him for not striking me. “Yes, but he struck you too.” I am greatly obliged to him for not wounding me. “Yes, but he wounded you too,” I am greatly obliged to him for not killing me. 10. For when, or from what teacher, did he learn that man is a tame animal, that he manifests mutual affection, that injustice in itself is a great injury to the unjust man? If, therefore, he has never learned this, or become persuaded of this, why shall he not follow what appears to him to be his advantage? “My neighbor has thrown stones.” You have not made a mistake, have you? “No, but my crockery is broken.” Are you a piece of crockery, then? No, but you are moral purpose. What, then, has been given you with which to meet this attack? If you seek to act like a wolf, you can bite back and throw more stones than your neighbor did; but if you seek to act like a man, examine your store, see what faculties you brought with you into the world. You brought no faculty of brutality, did you? No faculty of bearing grudges, did you? When, then, is a horse miserable? When he is deprived of his natural faculties. Not when he can’t sing “cuckoo!” but when he can’t run. And a dog? Is it when he can’t fly? No, but when he can’t keep the scent. Does it not follow, then, that on the same principles a man is wretched, not when he is unable to choke lions, or throw his arms about statues (for no man has brought with him from nature into this world faculties for this), but when he has lost his kindness, and his faithfulness? 15. This is the kind of person for whom “men should come together and mourn, because of all the evils into which he has come”; not, by Zeus, “the one who is born,” or “the one who has died,” but the man whose misfortune it has been while he still lives to lose what is his own; not his patrimony, his paltry farm, and paltry dwelling, and his tavern, and his poor slaves (for none of these things is a man’s own possession, but they all belong to others, are subservient and subject, given by their masters now to one person and now to another); but the qualities which make him a human being, the imprints which he brought with him in his mind, such as we look for also upon coins, and, if we find them, we accept the coins, but if we do not find them, we throw the coins away. “Whose imprint does this sestertius bear? Trajan’s? Give it to me. Nero’s? Throw it out, it will not pass, it is rotten.” So also in the moral life. What imprint do his judgments bear? “He is gentle, generous, patient, affectionate.” Give him to me, I accept him, I make this man a citizen, I accept him as a neighbor and a fellow-voyager. Only see that he does not have the imprint of Nero. Is he choleric, furious, querulous? “If he feels like it, he punches the heads of the people he meets.” Why, then, did you call him a human being? For surely everything is not judged by its outward appearance only, is it? Why, if that is so, you will have to call the lump of beeswax an apple. 20. No, it must have the smell of an apple and the taste of an apple; its external outline is not enough. Therefore, neither are the nose and the eyes sufficient to prove that one is a human being, but you must see whether one has the judgments that belong to a human being. Here is a man who does not listen to reason, he does not understand when he is confuted; he is an ass. Here is one whose sense of self-respect has grown numb; he is useless, a sheep, anything but a human being. Here is a man who is looking for someone whom he can kick or bite when he meets him; so that he is not even a sheep or an ass, but some wild beast.

What then? Do you want me to be despised? — By whom? By men of understanding? And how will men of understanding despise the gentle and the self-respecting person? No, but by men without understanding? What difference is that to you? Neither you nor any other craftsman cares about those who are not skilled in his art. — Yes, but they will fasten themselves upon me all the more. — What do you mean by the word “me”? Can anyone hurt your moral purpose, or prevent you from employing in a natural way the sense-impressions which come to you? — No. — Why, then, are you any longer disturbed, and why do you want to show that you are a timid person? Why do you not come forth and make the announcement that you are at peace with all men, no matter what they do, and that you are especially amused at those who think that they are hurting you? “These slaves do not know either who I am, or where my good and my evil are; they cannot get at the things that are mine.”

25. In this way also those who inhabit a strong city laugh at the besiegers: “Why are these men taking trouble now to no end? Our wall is safe, we have food for ever so long a time, and all other supplies.” These are the things which make a city strong and secure against capture, and nothing but judgments make similarly secure the soul of man. For what manner of wall is so strong, or what manner of body so invincible, or what manner of possession so secure against theft, or what manner of reputation so unassailable? For all things everywhere are perishable, and easy to capture by assault, and the man who in any fashion sets his mind upon any of them must needs be troubled in mind, be discouraged, suffer fear and sorrow, have his desires fail, and his aversions fall into what they would avoid. If this be so, are we not willing to make secure the one means of safety which has been vouchsafed us? And are we not willing to give up these perishable and slavish things, and devote our labors to those which are imperishable and by nature free? And do we not remember that no man either hurts or helps another, but that it is his judgment about each of these things which is the thing that hurts him, that overturns him; this is contention, and civil strife, and war? That which made Eteocles and Polyneices what they were was nothing else but this — their judgment about a throne, and their judgment about exile, namely, that one was the greatest of evils, the other the greatest of goods. 30. And this is the nature of every being, to pursue the good and to flee from the evil; and to consider the man who robs us of the one and invests us with the other as an enemy and an aggressor, even though he be a brother, even though he be a son, even though he be a father; for nothing is closer kin to us than our good. It follows, then, that if these externals are good or evil, neither is a father dear to his sons, nor a brother dear to a brother, but everything on all sides is full of enemies, aggressors, slanderers. But if the right kind of moral purpose and that alone is good, and if the wrong kind of moral purpose and that alone is bad, where is there any longer room for contention, where for reviling? About what? About the things that mean nothing to us? Against whom? Against the ignorant, against the unfortunate, against those who have been deceived in the most important values?

All this is what Socrates bore in mind as he managed his house, putting up with a shrewish wife and an unkindly son. For to what end was she shrewish? To the end that she might pour all the water she pleased over his head, and might trample underfoot the cake. Yet what is that to me, if I regard these things as meaning nothing to me? But this control over the moral purpose is my true business, and in it neither shall a tyrant hinder me against my will, nor the multitude the single individual, nor the stronger man the weaker; for this has been given by God to each man as something that cannot be hindered. 35. These are the judgments which produce love in the household, concord in the State, peace among the nations, make a man thankful toward God, confident at all times, on the ground that he is dealing with things not his own, with worthless things. We, however, although we are capable of writing and reading these things, and praising them when read, are nowhere near capable of being persuaded of them. Wherefore, the proverb about the Lacedaemonians,

Lions at home, but at Ephesus foxes,

will fit us too: Lions in the school-room, foxes outside.

VI: To those who are vexed at being pitied.

I am annoyed, says one, at being pitied. — Is it, then, some doing of yours that you are pitied, or the doing of those who show the pity? Or again; is it in your power to stop it? — It is, if I can show them that I do not deserve their pity. — And do you now possess the power of not being deserving of pity, or do you not possess it? — It seems to me, indeed, that I possess it. Yet these people do not pity me for what would deserve pity, if anything does, that is, my mistakes; but for poverty, and for not holding office, and for things like disease, and death, and the like. — Are you, then, prepared to convince the multitude that none of these things is bad, but that it is possible for a poor man, and one who holds no office or position of honor, to be happy; or are you prepared to show yourself off to them as a rich man and an official? Of these alternatives the second is the part of a braggart, and a tasteless and worthless person. Besides, observe the means by which you must achieve your pretense: You will have to borrow some paltry slaves; and possess a few pieces of silver plate, and exhibit these same pieces conspicuously and frequently, if you can, and try not to let people know that they are the same; and possess contemptible bright clothes, and all other kinds of finery, and show yourself off as the one who is honored by the most distinguished persons; and try to dine with them, or at least make people think that you dine with them; and resort to base arts in the treatment of your person, so as to appear more shapely and of gentler birth than you actually are. 5. All these contrivances you must adopt, if you wish to take the way of the second alternative and avoid pity.

But the first way is ineffectual and tedious — to attempt the very thing which Zeus himself has been unable to accomplish, that is, to convince all men of what things are good, and what evil. Why, that has not been vouchsafed to you, has it? Nay, this only has been vouchsafed — to convince yourself. And you have not convinced yourself yet! And despite that, bless me! are you now trying to convince all other men? Yet who has been living with you so long as you have been living with yourself? And who is so gifted with powers of persuasion to convince you, as you are to convince yourself? Who is more kindly disposed and nearer to you than you are to yourself? How comes it, then, that you have not persuaded yourself to learn? Are not things now upside down? Is this what you have been in earnest about? Not to learn how to get rid of pain, and turmoil, and humiliation, and so become free? Have you not heard that there is but a single way which leads to this end, and that is to give up the things which lie outside the sphere of the moral purpose, and to abandon them, and to admit that they are not your own? 10. To what class of things, then, does another’s opinion about you belong? — To that which lies outside the sphere of the moral purpose. — And so it is nothing to you? — Nothing. — So long, then, as you are stung and disturbed by the opinions of others, do you still fancy that you have been persuaded as to things good and evil?

Will you not, then, let other men alone, and become your own pupil and your own teacher? “All other men shall see to it, whether it is profitable for them to be in a state out of accord with nature and so to live, but as for me no one is closer to myself than I am. What does it mean, then, that I have heard the words of the philosophers and assent to them, but that in actual fact my burdens have become no lighter? Can it be that I am so dull? And yet, indeed, in everything else that I have wanted I was not found to be unusually dull, but I learned my letters rapidly, and how to wrestle, and do my geometry, and analyze syllogisms. Can it be, then, that reason has not convinced me? Why, indeed, there is nothing to which I have so given my approval from the very first, or so preferred, and now I read about these matters, and hear them, and write about them. Down to this moment we have not found a stronger argument than this. What is it, then, that I yet lack? Can it be that the contrary judgments have not all been put away? Can it be that the thoughts themselves are unexercised and unaccustomed to face the facts, and, like old pieces of armor that have been stowed away, are covered with rust, and can no longer be fitted to me? 15. Yet in wrestling, or in writing, or in reading, I am not satisfied with mere learning, but I turn over and over the arguments presented to me, and fashion new ones, and likewise syllogisms with equivocal premises. However, the necessary principles, those which enable a man, if he sets forth from them, to get rid of grief, fear, passion, hindrance, and become free, these I do not exercise, nor do I take the practice that is appropriate for them. After all that, am I concerned with what everyone else will say about me, whether I shall appear important or happy in their eyes?”

O miserable man, will you not see what you are saying about yourself? What sort of a person are you in your own eyes? What sort of a person in thinking, in desiring, in avoiding; what sort of a person in choice, preparation, design, and the other activities of men? Yet you are concerned whether the rest of mankind pity you? — Yes, but I do not deserve to be pitied. — And so you are pained at that? And is the man who is pained worthy of pity? — Yes. — How, then, do you fail to deserve pity after all? By the very emotion which you feel concerning pity you make yourself worthy of pity. 20. What, then, says Antisthenes? Have you never heard? “It is the lot of a king, O Cyrus, to do well, but to be ill spoken of.” My head is perfectly sound and yet everybody thinks I have a headache. What do I care? I have no fever, and yet everybody sympathizes with me as though I had: “Poor fellow, you have had a fever for ever so long.” I draw a long face too, and say, “Yes, it truly is a long time that I have been in a bad way.” “What is going to happen, then?” As God will, I reply, and at the same time I smile quietly to myself at those who are pitying me.

What, then, prevents me from doing the same thing in my moral life also? I am poor, but I have a correct judgment about poverty. Why, then, am I concerned, if men pity me for my poverty? I do not hold office, while others do. But I have the right opinion about holding office and not holding it. Let those who pity me look to it, but as for myself, I am neither hungry, nor thirsty, nor cold, but from their own hunger and thirst they think I too am hungry and thirsty. What, then, am I to do for them? Shall I go about and make proclamation, and say, “Men, be not deceived, it is well with me. I take heed neither of poverty, nor lack of office, nor, in a word, anything else, but only correct judgments; these I possess free from hindrance, I have taken thought of nothing further”? And yet, what foolish talk is this? How do I any longer hold correct judgments when I am not satisfied with being the man that I am, but am excited about what other people think of me?

25. But others will get more than I do, and will be preferred in honor above me. — Well, and what is more reasonable than for those who have devoted themselves to something to have the advantage in that to which they have devoted themselves? They have devoted themselves to office, you to judgments; and they to wealth, you to dealing with your sense-impressions. See whether they have the advantage over you in what you have devoted yourself to, but they neglect; whether their assent is more in accord with natural standards, whether their desire is less likely to achieve its aim than is yours, whether their aversion is less likely to fall into what it would avoid, whether in design, purpose, and choice they hit the mark better, whether they observe what becomes them as men, as sons, as parents, and then, in order, through all the other terms for the social relations. But if they hold office, will you not tell yourself the truth, which is. that you do nothing in order to get office, while they do everything, and that it is most unreasonable for the man who pays attention to something to come off with less than the man who neglects it?

Nay, but because I greatly concern myself with correct judgments, it is more reasonable for me to rule. — Yes, in what you greatly concern yourself with, that is, judgments; but in that with which other men have concerned themselves more greatly than you have, give place to them. It is as though, because you have correct judgments, you insisted that you ought in archery to hit the mark better than the archers, or to surpass the smiths at their trade. Drop, therefore, your earnestness about judgments, and concern yourself with the things which you wish to acquire, and then lament if you do not succeed, for you have a right to do that. 30. But as it is, you claim to be intent upon other things, to care for other things, and there is wisdom in what common people say, “One serious business has no partnership with another.” One man gets up at early dawn and looks for someone of the household of Caesar to salute, someone to whom he may make a pleasant speech, to whom he may send a present, how he may please the dancer, how he may gratify one person by maliciously disparaging another. When he prays, he prays for these objects, when he sacrifices, he sacrifices for these objects. The word of Pythagoras,

Also allow not sleep to draw nigh to your languorous eyelids,

he has wrested to apply here. “‘Where did I go wrong —’ in matters of flattery? ‘What did I do?’ Can it be that I acted as a free man, or as a man of noble character?” And if he find an instance of the sort, he censures and accuses himself: “Why, what business did you have to say that? For wasn’t it possible to lie? Even the philosophers say that there is nothing to hinder one’s telling a lie.” But if in all truth you have concerned yourself greatly with nothing but the proper use of sense-impressions, then as soon as you get up in the morning bethink you, “What do I yet lack in order to achieve tranquility? What to achieve calm? What am I? I am not a paltry body, not property, not reputation, am I? None of these. Well, what am I? A rational creature.” 35. What, then, are the demands upon you? Rehearse your actions. “‘Where did I go wrong?’ in matters conducive to serenity? ‘What did I do’ that was unfriendly, or unsocial, or unfeeling? ‘What to be done was left undone’ in regard to these matters?“

Since, therefore, there is so great a difference between the things which men desire, their deeds, and their prayers, do you still wish to be on an equal footing with them in matters to which you have not devoted yourself, but they have? And after all that, are you surprised if they pity you, and are you indignant? But they are not indignant if you pity them. And why? Because they are convinced that they are getting good things, while you are not so convinced in your own case. That is why you are not satisfied with what you have, but reach out for what they have. Because, if you had been truly convinced that, in the case of the things which are good, you are the one who is attaining them, while they have gone astray, you would not even have taken account of what they say about you.

VII: Of freedom from fear.

What makes the tyrant an object of fear? — His guards, someone says, and their swords, and the chamberlain, and those who exclude persons who would enter. — Why, then, is it that, if you bring a child into the presence of the tyrant while he is with his guards, the child is not afraid? Is it because the child does not really feel the presence of the guards? If, then, a man really feels their presence, and that they have swords, but has come for that very purpose, for the reason that he wishes to die because of some misfortune, and he seeks to do so easily at the hand of another, he does not fear the guards, does he? — No, for what makes them terrible is just what he wants. — If, then, a man who has set his will neither upon dying nor upon living at any cost, but only as it is given him to live, comes into the presence of the tyrant, what is there to prevent such a man from coming into his presence without fear? — Nothing. 5. — If, then, a man feel also about his property just as this other person feels about his body, and so about his children, and his wife, and if, in brief, he be in such a frame of mind, due to some madness or despair, that he cares not one whit about having, or not having, these things; but, as children playing with potsherds strive with one another about the game, but take no thought about the potsherds themselves, so this man also has reckoned the material things of life as nothing, but is glad to play with them and handle them — what kind of tyrant, or guards, or swords in the hands of guards can any more inspire fear in the breast of such a man?

Therefore, if madness can produce this attitude of mind toward the things that have just been mentioned, and also habit, as with the Galilaeans, cannot reason and demonstration teach a man that God has made all things in the cosmos, and the whole cosmos itself, to be free from hindrance, and to contain its end in itself, and the parts of it to serve the needs of the whole? Now all other animals have been excluded from the capacity to understand the governance of God, but the rational animal, man, possesses faculties that enable him to consider all these things, both that he is a part of them, and what kind of part of them he is, and that it is well for the parts to yield to the whole. And furthermore, being by nature noble, and high-minded, and free, the rational animal, man, sees that he has some of the things which are about him free from hindrance and under his control, but that others are subject to hindrance and under the control of others. Free from hindrance are those things which lie in the sphere of the moral purpose, and subject to hindrance are those which lie outside the sphere of the moral purpose. And so, if he regards his own good and advantage as residing in these things alone, in those, namely, which are free from hindrance and under his control, he will be free, serene, happy, unharmed, high-minded, reverent, giving thanks for all things to God, under no circumstances finding fault with anything that has happened, nor blaming anything; 10. if, however, he regards his good and advantage as residing in externals and things outside the sphere of his moral purpose, he must needs be hindered and restrained, be a slave to those who have control over these things which he has admired and fears; he must needs be irreverent, forasmuch as he thinks that God is injuring him, and be unfair, always trying to secure for himself more than his share, and must needs be of an abject and mean spirit.

When a man has once grasped all this, what is there to prevent him from living with a light heart and an obedient disposition; with a gentle spirit awaiting anything that may yet befall, and enduring that which has already befallen? “Would you have me bear poverty?” Bring it on and you shall see what poverty is when it finds a good actor to play the part. “Would you have me hold office?” Bring it on. “Would you have me suffer deprivation of office?” Bring it on. “Well, and would you have me bear troubles?” Bring them on too. “Well, and exile?” Wherever I go it will be well with me, for here where I am it was well with me, not because of my location, but because of my judgments, and these I shall carry away with me; nor, indeed, can any man take these away from me, but they are the only things that are mine, and they cannot be taken away, and with the possession of them I am content, wherever I be and whatever I do. 15. “But it is now time to die.” Why say “die”? Make no tragic parade of the matter, but speak of it as it is: “It is now time for the material of which you are constituted to be restored to those elements from which it came.” And what is there terrible about that? What one of the things that make up the cosmos will be lost, what novel or unreasonable thing will have taken place? Is it for this that the tyrant inspires fear? Is it because of this that his guards seem to have long and sharp swords? Let others see to that; I have considered all this, no one has authority over me. I have been set free by God, I know His commands, no one has power any longer to make a slave of me, I have the right kind of emancipator, and the right kind of judges. “Am I not master of your body?” Very well, what is that to me? “Am I not master of your paltry property?” Very well, what is that to me? “Am I not master of exile or bonds?” Again I yield up to you all these things and my whole paltry body itself, whenever you will. Do make trial of your power, and you will find out how far it extends.

Who is there, then, that I can any longer be afraid of? Shall I be afraid of the chamberlains? For fear they do what? Lock the door in my face? If they find me wanting to enter, let them lock the door in my face! — Why, then, do you go to the gate of the palace? — Because I think it fitting for me to join in the game while the game lasts. 20. — How, then, is it that you are not locked out? — Because, if anyone will not receive me, I do not care to go in, but always I wish rather the thing which takes place. For I regard God’s will as better than my will. I shall attach myself to Him as a servant and follower, my choice is one with His, my desire one with His, in a word, my will is one with His will. No door is locked in my face, but rather in the face of those who would force themselves in. Why, then, do I not force myself in? Why, because I know that within nothing good is distributed among those who have entered. But when I hear someone called blessed, because he is being honored by Caesar, I say, “What is his portion? Does he, then, get also a judgment such as he ought to have for governing a province? Does he, then, get also the ability to administer a procuratorship? Why should I any longer push my way in? Somebody is scattering dried figs and nuts; the children snatch them up and fight with one another, the men do not, for they count this a small matter. But if somebody throws potsherds around, not even the children snatch them up. Governorships are being passed around. The children shall see to that. Money. The children shall see to that. A praetorship, a consulship. Let the children snatch them up; let the children have the door locked in their faces, take a beating, kiss the hands of the giver, and the hands of his slaves. As for me, it’s a mere scattering of dried figs and nuts.” But what, then, if, when the man is throwing them about, a dried fig chances to fall into my lap? I take it up and eat it. For I may properly value even a dried fig as much as that. But neither a dried fig, nor any other of the things not good, which the philosophers have persuaded me not to think good, is of sufficient value to warrant my grovelling and upsetting someone else, or being upset by him, or flattering those who have flung the dried figs among us.

25. Show me the swords of the guards. “See how large and how sharp they are!” What, then, do these large and sharp swords do? “They kill.” And what does fever do? “Nothing else.” And what does a tile do? “Nothing else.” Do you want me, then, to respect and do obeisance to all these things, and to go about as the slave of them all? Far from it! But if once I have learned that what is born must also perish, so that the world may not stand still, nor be hampered, it makes no difference to me whether a fever shall bring that consummation, or a tile, or a soldier; but, if I must make a comparison, I know that the soldier will bring it about with less trouble and more speed. Seeing, therefore, that I neither fear anything of all that the tyrant is able to do with me, nor greatly desire anything of all that he is able to provide, why do I any longer admire him, why any longer stand in awe of him? Why am I afraid of his guards? Why do I rejoice if he speaks kindly to me and welcomes me, and why do I tell others how he spoke to me? He is not Socrates, is he, or Diogenes, so that his praise should be a proof of what I am? 30. I have not been ambitious to imitate his character, have I? Nay, but acting as one who keeps the game going, I come to him and serve him so long as he commands me to do nothing foolish or unseemly. If, however, he says, “Go and bring Leon of Salamis,” I reply, “Try to get someone else, for I am not playing any longer.” “Take him off to prison,” says the tyrant about me. “I follow, because that is part of the game.” “But your head will be taken off.” And does the tyrant’s head always stay in its place, and the heads of you who obey him? “But you will be thrown out unburied.” If the corpse is I, then I shall be thrown out; but if I am something different from the corpse, speak with more discrimination, as the fact is, and do not try to terrify me. These things are terrifying to the children and the fools. But if a man who has once entered a philosopher’s lecture does not know what he himself is, he deserves to be in a state of fear, and also to flatter those whom he used to flatter before; if he has not yet learned that he is not flesh, nor bones, nor sinews, but that which employs these, that which both governs the impressions of the senses and understands them.

Oh yes, but statements like these make men despise the laws. — Quite the contrary, what statements other than these make the men who follow them more ready to obey the laws? Law is not simply anything that is in the power of a fool. And yet see how these statements make us behave properly even toward these fools, because they teach us to claim against such persons nothing in which they can surpass us. 35. They teach us to give way when it comes to our paltry body, to give way when it comes to our property, to our children, parents, brothers, to retire from everything, let everything go; they except only our judgments, and it was the will of Zeus also that these should be each man’s special possession. What do you mean by speaking of lawlessness and stupidity here? Where you are superior and stronger, there I give way to you; and again, where I am superior, you retire in favour of me. For I have made these matters my concern, and you have not. It is your concern how to live in marble halls, and further, how slaves and freedmen are to serve you, how you are to wear conspicuous clothing, how to have many hunting dogs, citharoedes, and tragedians. I do not lay claim to any of these, do I? You, then, have never concerned yourself with judgments, have you? Or with your own reason, have you? You do not know, do you, what are its constituent parts, how it is composed, what its arrangement is, what faculties it has, and what their nature is? Why, then, are you disturbed if someone else, the man, namely, who has concerned himself with these matters, has the advantage of you therein? — But these are the most important things that there are. — And who is there to prevent you from concerning yourself with these matters, and devoting your attention to them? And who is better provided with books, leisure, and persons to help you? 40. Only begin some time to turn your mind to these matters; devote a little time, if no more, to your own governing principle; consider what this thing is which you possess, and where it has come from, the thing which utilizes everything else, submits everything else to the test, selects, and rejects. But so long as you concern yourself with externals, you will possess them in a way that no one else can match, but you will have this governing faculty in the state in which you want to have it, that is, dirty and neglected.

VIII: To those who hastily assume the guise of the philosophers.

Never bestow either praise or blame upon a man for the things which may be either good or bad, nor credit him with either skill or want of skill; and by so doing you will escape from both rashness and malice. “This man is hasty about bathing.” Does he, therefore, do wrong? Not at all. But what is he doing? He is hasty about bathing. — Is all well, then? — That by no means follows; but only the act which proceeds from correct judgments is well done, and that which proceeds from bad judgments is badly done. Yet until you learn the judgment from which a man performs each separate act, neither praise his action nor blame it. But a judgment is not readily determined by externals. “This man is a carpenter.” Why? “He uses an adze.” What, then, has that to do with the case? “This man is a musician, for he sings.” And what has that to do with the case? “This man is a philosopher.” Why? “Because he wears a rough cloak and long hair.” 5. And what do hedge-priests wear? That is why, when a man sees some one of them misbehaving, he immediately says, “See what the philosopher is doing.” But he ought rather to have said, judging from the misbehavior, that the person in question was not a philosopher. For if the prime conception and profession of the philosopher is to wear a rough cloak and long hair, their statement would be correct; but if it is rather this, to be free from error, why do they not take away from him the designation of philosopher, because he does not fulfill the profession of one? For that is the way men do in the case of the other arts. When someone sees a fellow hewing clumsily with an axe, he does not say, “What’s the use of carpentry? See the bad work the carpenters do!” but quite the contrary, he says, “This fellow is no carpenter, for he hews clumsily with the axe.” And, similarly, if a man hears somebody singing badly, he does not say, “See how the musicians sing!” but rather, “This fellow is no musician.” But it is only in the case of philosophy that men behave like this; when they see somebody acting contrary to the profession of the philosopher, they do not take away from him the designation of philosopher, but, assuming that he is a philosopher, and then taking from what goes on that he is misbehaving, they conclude that there is no good in being a philosopher.

10. What, then, is the reason for this? It is because we respect the prime conception of the carpenter, and the musician, and so also of all the other artisans and artists, while we do not respect that of the philosopher, but as if it were confused and inarticulate in our minds we judge of it only from externals. And what other art is there that is acquired by guise and hair-dress, and does not have also principles, and subject-matter, and end? What, then, is subject-matter for the philosopher? It is not a rough cloak, is it? No, but reason. what is end for the philosopher? It is not to wear a rough cloak, is it? No, but to keep his reason right. What is the nature of his principles? They do not have to do with the question how to grow a long beard, or a thick head of hair, do they? Nay, rather, as Zeno says, to understand the elements of reason, what the nature of each one is, and how they are fitted one to another, and all the consequences of these facts. Will you not, therefore, observe first of all whether the philosopher fulfills his profession by misbehaving, and then, if that be the case, blame his way of acting? But as it is, when you yourself are behaving decently, you say, on the basis of the evil that he seems to you to be doing, “Look at the philosopher,” just as though it were proper to call a man who acts like that a philosopher; and again, “Is that what a philosopher is?” But you do not say, “Look at the carpenter,” when you know that a man is an adulterer, or see a man eating greedily, nor do you say, under similar circumstances, “Look at the musician.” Thus to a certain degree you too realize what the philosopher’s profession is, but you backslide and get confused through carelessness.

15. But even those who are styled philosophers pursue their calling with means which are sometimes good and sometimes bad. For example, when they have taken a rough cloak and let their beards grow, they say, “I am a philosopher.” But nobody will say, “I am a musician,” if he buys a plectrum and a cithara; nor, “I am a smith,” if he puts on a felt cap and an apron; but the guise is fitted to the art, and they get their name from the art, but not from the guise. That is why Euphrates was right when he used to say: “For a long time I tried not to let people know that I was a philosopher, and this,” he says, “was useful to me. For, in the first place, I knew that whatever I did well, I did so, not on account of the spectators, but on my own account; it was for my own sake that I ate well, and kept my countenance and gait composed; it was all for myself and for God. And, secondly, as the contest was mine alone, so also I alone ran the risks; in no respect through me, if I did what was disgraceful or unseemly, did the cause of philosophy come into danger, nor did I do harm to the multitude by going wrong as a philosopher. For that reason those who were ignorant of my purpose wondered how it was that, although I was familiar with all the philosophers and lived with them, I was myself not acting in the role of a philosopher. 20. And what harm was there in having the philosopher that I was, recognized by what I did, rather than by the outward signs?”

See how I eat, how drink, how sleep, how endure, how refrain, how help, how employ desire and how aversion, how I observe my relationships, whether they be natural or acquired, without confusion and without hindrance; judge me on the basis of all this, if you know how. But if you are so deaf and blind as not to regard even Hephaestus as a good smith unless you see the felt cap resting on his head, what harm can come from passing unrecognized by a judge so foolish?

In this way the great majority of men failed to recognize Socrates, and so they used to come to him and ask to be introduced to philosophers! Was he, then, irritated as we are, and would he say, “And don’t I look like a philosopher to you?” No, but he used to take them and introduce them, and was satisfied with one thing, that is, being a philosopher, and glad that he was not annoyed at not being taken for one; for he habitually bore in mind his own proper function. What is the function of a good and excellent man? To have many pupils? Not at all. Those who have set their hearts on it shall see to that. Well, is it to set forth difficult principles with great precision? Other men shall see to these things also. 25. In what field was he, then, somebody, and wished so to be? In the field where there was hurt and help. “If,” says he, “a man can hurt me, what I am engaged in amounts to nothing; if I wait for somebody else to help me, I am myself nothing. If I want something and it does not happen, it follows that I am miserable.” This was the mighty ring to which he challenged every man whomsoever, and therein he would not, I believe, have given way before anyone in — what do you suppose? — in proclaiming and asserting “I am such and such a man”? Far from it! but in being such and such a man. For, again, it is the part of a fool and blowhard to say, “I am tranquil and serene; be not ignorant, O men, that while you are tossed about and are in turmoil over worthless things, I alone am free from every perturbation.” So is it not enough for you yourself to feel no pain without proclaiming, “Come together, all you who are suffering from gout, headaches, and fever, the halt, and the blind, and see how sound I am, and free from every disorder”? That is a vain and vulgar thing to say, unless, like Asclepius, you are able at once to show by what treatment those others will also become well again, and for this end are producing your own good health as an example.

30. Such is the way of the Cynic who is deemed worthy of the scepter and diadem of Zeus, and says, “That you may see yourselves, O men, to be looking for happiness and serenity, not where it is, but where it is not, behold, God has sent me to you as an example; I have neither property, nor house, nor wife, nor children, no, not even so much as a bed, or a shirt, or a piece of furniture, and yet you see how healthy I am. Make trial of me, and if you see that I am free from turmoil, hear my remedies and the treatment which cured me.” For this, at length, is an attitude both humane and noble. But see whose work it is; the work of Zeus, or of him whom Zeus deems worthy of this service, to the end that he shall never lay bare to the multitudes anything whereby he shall himself invalidate the testimony which it is his to give in behalf of virtue, and against externals.

“Never there fell o’er his beauteous features a pallor, nor ever
Wiped he the tears from his cheeks.”

And not merely that, but he must neither yearn for anything, nor seek after it — be it human being, or place, or manner of life — like children seeking after the season of vintage, or holidays; he must be adorned on every side with self-respect, as all other men are with walls, and doors, and keepers of doors. But, as it is, being merely moved towards philosophy, like dyspeptics who are moved to some paltry foods, which they are bound in a short while to loathe, immediately these men are off to the scepter, to the kingdom. One of them lets his hair grow long, he takes up a rough cloak, he shows his bare shoulder, he quarrels with the people he meets, and if he sees somebody in an overcoat he quarrels with him. 35. Man, take a winter’s training first; look at your own choice, for fear it is like that of a dyspeptic, or a woman with the strange cravings of pregnancy. Practice first not to let men know who you are; keep your philosophy to yourself a little while. That is the way fruit is produced: the seed has to be buried and hidden for a season, and be grown by slow degrees, in order that it may come to perfection. But if it heads out before it produces the jointed stock, it never matures, it is from a garden of Adonis. That is the kind of plant you are too; you have blossomed prematurely, and the winter will blight you utterly. See what the farmers say about their seeds, when the hot weather comes before its proper time. They are in utmost anxiety lest the seeds should grow insolently lush, and then but a single frost should lay hold of them and expose their weakness. Man, do you also beware; you have grown insolently lush, you have leaped forward to occupy some petty reputation before its due time; you think yourself somebody, fool that you are among fools; you will be bitten by the frost, or rather, you have already been bitten by the frost, down at the root, while your upper part still blooms a little, and for that reason you seem to be still alive and flourishing. 40. Allow us at least to ripen as nature wishes. Why do you expose us to the elements, why force us? We are not yet able to stand the open air. Let the root grow, next let it acquire the first joint, and then the second, and then the third; and so finally the fruit will forcibly put forth its true nature, even against my will.

For who that has conceived and is big with such great judgments is not aware of his own equipment, and does not hasten to act in accordance with them? Why, a bull is not ignorant of his own nature and equipment, when some wild beast appears, nor does he hang back for someone to encourage him; neither does a dog, when he sees some wild animal; and shall I, if I have the equipment of a good man, hang back, so that you may encourage me to do what is my own proper work? But as yet I do not have the equipment, believe me. Why, then, do you wish to have me wither away before my time, as you yourself have withered?

IX: To the man who had become shameless.

Whenever you see another person holding office, set over against this the fact that you possess the ability to get along without office; whenever you see another person wealthy, see what you have instead. For if you have nothing instead, you are wretched; but if you are capable of feeling no need of wealth, know that you are better off, and have something worth far more than wealth. Another has a comely wife, you the ability not to yearn for a comely wife. Is all this small in your eyes? Yet how much would these men give, who are rich and hold office, and live with beautiful women, to be able to despise wealth and offices, and these very same women whom they passionately love and win? Do you not know what kind of thing the thirst of a man in fever is? It is quite unlike that of a man in health. The latter drinks and his thirst is gone, but the other gets a momentary satisfaction, and then becomes nauseated, turns the water into bile, throws up, has a pain in his bowels, and suffers more violent thirst than before. 5. A similar thing it is to be rich and have strong desire, to hold office and have strong desire, to sleep by the side of a beautiful woman and have strong desire; jealousy is added to one’s lot, fear of loss, disgraceful words, disgraceful thoughts, unseemly deeds.

And what do I lose? says somebody. — Man, you used to be modest, and are no longer so; have you lost nothing? Instead of Chrysippus and Zeno you now read Aristeides and Evenus; have you lost nothing? Instead of Socrates and Diogenes you have come to admire the man who is able to corrupt and seduce the largest number of women. You wish to be handsome and make yourself up, though you are not handsome, and you wish to make a show of gay attire, so as to attract the women, and you think yourself blessed if perchance you light upon some trivial perfume. But formerly you used never even to think of any of these things, but only where you might find decent speech, a worthy man, a noble thought. Therefore you used to sleep as a man, to go forth as a man, to wear the clothes of a man, to utter the discourse that was suitable for a good man; and after all that do you still say, “I have lost nothing”? And is it nothing but small change that men lose in this way? Is not self-respect lost, is not decency lost? Or is it impossible that the loss of these things counts for anything? 10. To you, indeed, the loss of none of these things, perhaps, seems any longer serious; but there once was a time when you thought it the only serious loss and harm, when you were in great anxiety lest anyone should dislodge you from these good words and deeds.

Behold, you have been dislodged, though by no one else but yourself. Fight against yourself, vindicate yourself for decency, for respect, for freedom. If anyone ever told you about me that someone was forcing me to commit adultery, to wear clothes like yours, or to perfume myself, would you not have gone and murdered the man who was so maltreating me? And now, therefore, are you not willing to come to your own rescue? Yet how much easier is the work of rescue in the latter case! It is not necessary to kill somebody, put him in bonds, or assault him; you do not have to come out into the market-place, but only to talk to yourself, the man most likely to be persuaded, to whom no one is more persuasive than yourself. And first of all condemn what you are doing; then, when you have passed your condemnation, do not despair of yourself, nor act like the spiritless people who, when once they have given in, surrender themselves completely, and are swept off by the current, as it were, 15. but learn how the gymnastic trainer of boys acts. The boy he is training is thrown; “get up,” he says, “and wrestle again, till you get strong.” React in some such way yourself, for I would have you know that there is nothing more easily prevailed upon than a human soul. You have but to will a thing and it has happened, the reform has been made; as, on the other hand, you have but to drop into a doze and all is lost. For it is within you that both destruction and deliverance lie. — But what good do I get after all that? — And what greater good than this are you looking for? Instead of shameless, you will be self-respecting; instead of faithless, faithful; instead of dissolute, self-controlled. If you are looking for anything else greater than these things, go ahead and do what you are doing; not even a god can any longer save you.

X: What ought we to despise and on what place a high value?

Men find all their difficulties in externals, their perplexities in externals. “What shall I do? How is it to take place? How is it to turn out? I am afraid that this will befall me, or that.” All these are the expressions of men who concern themselves with the things that lie outside the sphere of the moral purpose. For who says, “How am I to avoid giving assent to the false? How am I to refuse to swerve aside from the true?” If a man is so gifted by nature as to be in great anxiety about these things, I shall remind him, “Why are you in great anxiety? It is under your own control; rest secure. Do not be in a hurry to give your assent before applying the rule of nature.”

Again, if a man is in great anxiety about desire, for fear lest it become incomplete and miss its mark, 5. or about aversion, for fear lest it fall into what it would avoid, I shall first give him a kiss of congratulation, because he has got rid of what the rest of mankind are excited about, and their fears, and has turned his serious thought to his own true business in the realm where he himself is. And after that I shall say to him, “If you do not wish to desire without failing to get, or to avoid without falling into the object of your aversion, desire none of those things which are not your own, and avoid none of those things which are not under your control. If not, you are of necessity bound to fail in achieving your desires, and to fall into what you would avoid.” Where is there any difficulty in that case? What room is there to ask, “How is it to take place?” and “How is it to turn out?” and to say, “I am afraid that this will befall me, or that”?

Is not the future outside the sphere of the moral purpose now? — Yes. — And is not the true nature of the good and evil inside the sphere of the moral purpose? — Yes. — Are you permitted, then, to make a natural use of every outcome? No one can prevent you, can he? — No one. — Therefore, say no longer to me, “How is it to take place?” Because, whatever takes place, you will turn it to good purpose, and the outcome will be a blessing for you. 10. Or what would Heracles have been had he said “How am I to prevent a great lion from appearing, or a great boar, or savage men?”? And what do you care for that? If a great boar appears, the struggle in which you are to engage will be greater; if evil men appear, you will clear the world of evil men. — But if I die in so doing? — You will die as a good man, bringing to fulfillment a noble action. Why, since you have to die in any event, you must be found doing something or other — farming, or digging, or engaged in commerce, or holding a consulship, or suffering with dyspepsia or dysentery. What is it, then, you wish to be doing when death finds you? I for my part should wish it to be some work that befits a man, something beneficent, that promotes the common welfare, or is noble. But if I cannot be found doing such great things as these, I should like at least to be engaged upon that which is free from hindrance, that which is given me to to do, and that is, correcting myself, as I strive to perfect the faculty which deals with the external impressions, laboring to achieve calm, while yet giving to each of my human relationships its due; and, if I am so fortunate, striving to attain to the third field of study, that which has to do with security in the formation of judgments.

If death finds me occupied with these matters, it is enough for me if I can lift up my hands unto God, and say, “The faculties which I received from Thee to enable me to understand Thy governance and to follow it, these I have not neglected; I have not dishonored Thee as far as in me lay. 15. Behold how I have dealt with my senses, behold how I have dealt with my preconceptions. Have I ever blamed Thee? Have I been discontented with any of these things which happen, or wished it to have been otherwise? Have I at all violated my relationships with others? For that Thou didst beget me I am grateful; for what Thou hast given I am grateful also. The length of time for which I have had the use of Thy gifts is enough for me. Take them back again and assign them to what place Thou wilt, for they were all Thine, and Thou gavest them me.” Is it not enough for a man to take his departure from the world in this state of mind? And what among all the kinds of life is superior to this, or more seemly than his who is so minded, and what kind of end is more fortunate?

But that this may take place a man must accept no small troubles, and must miss no small things. You cannot wish for a consulship and at the same time wish for this; you cannot have set your heart upon having lands and this too; you cannot at the same time be solicitous for your paltry slaves and yourself too. But if you wish for any one of the things that are not your own, what is your own is lost. This is the nature of the matter: Nothing is done except for a price. 20. And why be surprised? If you wish to be consul you must keep vigils, run around, kiss men’s hands, rot away at other men’s doors, say and do many slavish things, send presents to many persons, and guest-gifts to some people every day. And what is the outcome of it all? Twelve bundles of rods, and the privilege of sitting three or four times on the tribune, and giving games in the Circus, and lunches in little baskets. Or else let someone show me what there is in it beyond this. For calm, then, for peace of mind, for sleeping when you are asleep, and being awake when you are awake, for fearing nothing, for being in great anxiety about nothing, are you unwilling to spend anything, to make any exertion? But if something that belongs to you be lost while you are engaged in these affairs, or be spent to no purpose, or someone else get what you ought to have got, are you going to be vexed immediately at what has happened? Will you not balance off what you are getting in return for what, how much in return for how much? Nay, do you wish to get such valuable things for nothing? And how can you? “One serious business with another.”

25. You cannot be continually giving attention to both externals and your own governing principle. But if you want the former, let the latter go; otherwise you will have neither the latter nor the former, being drawn in both directions. If you want the latter, you must let the former go. The oil will be spilled, my paltry furniture will perish, but I shall be calm. There will be a fire when I am not at home, and my books will perish, yet I shall deal with my external impressions according to nature. But I shall have nothing to eat. If I am so badly off as all that, death is my harbor. And this is the harbor of all men, even death, and this their refuge. That is why no one of the things that befall us in our life is difficult. Whenever you wish, you walk out of the house, and are no longer bothered by the smoke. Why, then, are you consumed with anxiety? Why do you keep vigils? And why do you not forthwith reckon up where your good and your evil lie, and say, “They are both under my control; no man can either rob me of the one, or plunge me in the other against my will? Why, then, do I not throw myself down and snore? What is mine is safe. What is not mine shall be the concern of whoever gets it, according to the terms upon which it may be given by Him who has authority over it. 30. Who am I to wish that what is not mine should be either thus or so? For it has not been given me to make a choice among these things, has it? For no one has made me an administrator of them, has he? I am satisfied with the things over which I have authority. These I ought to treat so that they may become as beautiful as possible, but everything else as their master may desire.”

Does any man who has all this before his eyes keep vigils, and does he “toss hither and thither”? What does he wish, or what does he yearn for? For Patroclus, or Antilochus, or Protesilaus? Why, when did he regard any of his friends as immortal? Yes, and when did he not have before his eyes the fact that on the morrow or the day after either he or his friend must die? “Yes,” he says, “but I had thought he was going to survive me, and bring up my son.” No doubt, but then you were a fool, and were thinking of things that were uncertainties. Why, then, do you not blame yourself, instead of sitting and crying like little girls? “Nay, but he used to set my food before me.” Yes, fool, for then he was alive; and now he cannot. But Automedon will set your food before you, and if Automedon too die, you will find somebody else. If the pot in which your meat used to be boiled gets broken, do you have to die of hunger because you do not have your accustomed pot? Won't you send out and buy a new one to take its place? He says,

35. Ill no greater than this could befall me.

Why, is this what you call an ill? And then, forbearing to get rid of it, do you blame your mother, because she did not foretell it to you, so that you might continue to lament from that time forth?

What do you men think? Did not Homer compose this in order for us to see that there is nothing to prevent the persons of highest birth, of greatest strength, of most handsome appearance, from being most miserable and wretched, when they do not hold the right kind of judgments?

XI: Of cleanliness.

Some people raise the question whether the social instinct is a necessary element in the nature of man; nevertheless, even these people, as it seems to me, would not question that the instinct of cleanliness is most assuredly a necessary element, and that man is distinguished from the animals by this quality if by anything. When, therefore, we see some other animal cleaning itself, we are in the habit of saying in surprise that it is acting “like a human being.” And again, if one finds fault with some beast, we are in the habit of saying immediately, as though in apology, “Well, of course it isn’t a human being.” So true it is that we consider cleanliness to be a special characteristic of man, deriving it in the first instance from the gods. For since they are by nature pure and undefiled, in so far as men have approached them by virtue of reason, just so far are they attached to purity and cleanliness. But since it is impossible for the nature of men to be altogether pure, seeing that it is composed of such material as it is, the reason which they have received from the gods endeavours to render this material clean as far as is possible.

5. Therefore, the prime and highest purity is that which appears in the soul, and the same is true of impurity. But you would not find the same impurity in a soul as you would in a body, and as being soul, what else would you find impure about it than that which makes it dirty for the performance of its own functions? And the functions of a soul are the exercise of choice, of refusal, of desire, of aversion, of preparation, of purpose, and of assent. What, then, can that be which makes the soul dirty and unclean in these functions? Nothing but its erroneous decisions. It follows, therefore, that impurity of a soul consists of bad judgments, and purification consists in creating within it the proper kind of judgments; and a pure soul is the one which has the proper kind of judgments, for this is the only soul which is secure against confusion and pollution in its own functions.

Now one ought to be eager to achieve, as far as may be, something similar to this in the case of the body also. 10. It was impossible that there should be no discharge of mucus from the nose, since man’s body has been composed as it is; for that reason nature made hands, and the nostrils like tubes to discharge the humors. If, therefore, a man snuffs back these discharges of mucus, I say that he is not acting as a human being should. It was impossible that the feet should not get muddy, nor dirty at all, when they pass through certain such substances; for that reason nature has provided water, for that hands. It was impossible that some impurity from eating should not remain on the teeth; for that reason nature says, “Wash your teeth.” Why? In order that you may be a human being, and not a beast or a pig. It was impossible that something dirty and needing to be cleaned off should not be left on the person from our sweat and the pressure of our clothes; for that reason we have water, oil, hands, a towel, a strigil, nitre, and, on occasion, every other kind of equipment to cleanse the body. Not so you. But the smith will remove the rust from his iron tool, and will have implements made for this purpose, and you yourself will wash your plate when you are going to eat, unless you are utterly unclean and dirty; but will you not wash nor make clean your poor body? — Why? says someone. — Again I will tell you: First, so as to do what befits a man; and second, so as not to offend those whom you meet. 15. You are doing something of the sort even here, and do not realize it. You think that you are worthy of the smell. Very well, be worthy of it. Do you think, though, that those who sit by your side, those who recline beside you, those who kiss you, are worthy of it too? Bah, go away into a wilderness somewhere or other, a place worthy of you, and live alone, smelling of yourself! For it is only right that you should enjoy your uncleanliness all by yourself But since you are living in a city, what kind of character do you fancy you are exhibiting, to behave so thoughtlessly and inconsiderately? If nature had committed to your care a horse, would you have utterly neglected it? And now I would have you think that your body has been entrusted to you like a horse; wash it, rub it down, make it so that nobody will turn his back on you or move aside. But who does not avoid a dirty fellow that smells and has an unsightly skin, even more than a man bespattered with dung? In this latter case the smell is external and acquired, in the other it comes from slovenliness that is internal, and is characteristic of one who has grown rotten through and through.

But Socrates bathed infrequently, says someone. — Why, his body was radiant; why, it was so attractive and sweet that the handsomest and most high-born were in love with him, and yearned to sit by his side rather than beside those who had the prettiest forms and features. He might have neither bathed nor washed, had he so desired; yet even his infrequent bathings were effective. 20. — But Aristophanes says,

The pallid men I mean, who shoeless go. —

Oh, yes, but then he says also that Socrates “trod the air,” and stole people’s clothes from the wrestling school. And yet all who have written about Socrates unite in bearing testimony to the precise opposite of this; that he was not merely pleasant to hear, but also to see. Again, men write the same thing about Diogenes. For a man ought not to drive away the multitude from philosophy, even by the appearance of his body, but as in everything else, so also on the side of the body, he ought to show himself cheerful and free from perturbation. “See, O men, that I have nothing, and need nothing. See how, although I am without a house, and without a city, and an exile, if it so chance, and without a hearth, I still live a life more tranquil and serene than that of all the noble and the rich. Yes, and you see that even my paltry body is not disfigured by my hard way of living.” But if I am told this by a person who has the bearing and face of a condemned man, what one of all the gods shall persuade me to approach philosophy, if she makes people like that? Far be it from me! I shouldn’t be willing to do so, not even if it would make me a wise man.

25. As for me, by the gods, I should rather have the young man who was experiencing the first stirrings towards philosophy come to me with his hair carefully dressed, than with it in a state of desperate neglect and dirty. For the first case shows that there exists in the young man a sort of imaging of beauty, and an aiming at comeliness, and where he fancies it to be, there also he devotes his efforts. With that as a starting-point, all that it is necessary to do is to show him the way, and say, “Young man, you are seeking the beautiful, and you do well. Know, then, that it arises in that part of you where you have your reason; seek it there where you have your choices and your refusals, where you have your desires and your aversions. For this part is something of a special kind which you have within you, but your paltry body is by nature only clay. Why do you toil for it to no purpose? If you learn nothing else, time at least will teach you that it is nothing.” But if he comes to me bespattered with dung, dirty, his moustache reaching down to his knees, what have I to say to him, from what point of resemblance can I start so as to prevail upon him? For what is there to which he is devoted, that bears any resemblance to the beautiful, so that I may turn him about and say, “Beauty is not there, but here”? Do you want me to say to him, “Beauty does not consist in being bespattered with dung, but in reason”? For is he aiming at beauty? Has he any manifestation of it? Go and talk to a pig, that he may wallow no more in mud! 30. That is why the words of Xenocrates laid hold even of a Polemo, because he was a young man who loved beauty. For he came to Xenocrates with glimmerings of a zeal for the beautiful, but was looking for it in the wrong place.

Why, look you, nature has not made dirty even the animals which associate with man. A horse doesn’t roll around in the mud, does he? or a highly bred dog? No, but the hog, and the miserable rotten geese, and worms, and spiders, the creatures farthest removed from association with human beings. Do you, then, who are a human being, wish to be not even an animal of the kind that associates with men, but rather a worm, or a spider? Will you not take a bath somewhere, some time, in any form you please? Will you not wash yourself? If you don’t care to bathe in hot water, then use cold. Will you not come to us clean, that your companions may be glad? What, and do you in such a state go with us even into the temples, where it is forbidden by custom to spit or blow the nose, yourself being nothing but a mass of spit and drivel?

Well, what then? Is anyone demanding that you beautify yourself? Heaven forbid! except you beautify that which is our true nature — the reason, its judgments, its activities; but your body only so far as to keep it cleanly, only so far as to avoid giving offense. But if you hear that one ought not to wear scarlet, go bespatter your rough cloak with dung — or tear it to pieces! Yet where am I to get a rough cloak that looks well? — Man, you have water, wash it! 35. See, here is a lovable young man, here an elderly man worthy to love and to be loved in return, to whom a person will entrust the education of his son, to whom daughters and young men will come, if it so chance — all for the purpose of having him deliver his lectures sitting on a dunghill? Good Lord, no! Every eccentricity arises from some human trait, but this trait comes close to being non-human.

XII: Of attention.

When you relax your attention for a little while, do not imagine that whenever you choose you will recover it, but bear this in mind, that because of the mistake which you have made today, your condition must necessarily be worse as regards everything else. For, to begin with — and this is the worst of all — a habit of not paying attention is developed; and after that a habit of deferring attention; and always you grow accustomed to putting off from one time to another tranquil and appropriate living, the life in accordance with nature, and persistence in that life. Now if the postponement of such matters is profitable, it is still more profitable to abandon them altogether; but if it is not profitable, why do you not maintain your attention continuously? “Today I want to play.” What is to prevent your playing, then, — but with attention? “I want to sing.” What is to prevent your singing, then, — but with attention? There is no part of the activities of your life excepted, to which attention does not extend, is there? What, will you do it worse by attention, and better by inattention? And yet what other thing, of all that go to make up our life, 5. is done better by those who are inattentive? Does the inattentive carpenter do his work more accurately? The inattentive helmsman steer more safely? And is there any other of the lesser functions of life which is done better by inattention? Do you not realize that when once you let your mind go wandering, it is no longer within your power to recall it, to bring it to bear upon either seemliness, or self-respect, or moderation? But you do anything that comes into your head, you follow your inclinations.

What are the things, then, to which I ought to pay attention? — First, these general principles, and you ought to have them at your command, and without them neither go to sleep, nor rise up, nor drink, nor eat, nor mingle with men; I mean the following: No man is master of another’s moral purpose; and: In its sphere alone are to be found one’s good and evil. It follows, therefore, that no one has power either to procure me good, or to involve me in evil, but I myself alone have authority over myself in these matters. Accordingly, when these things are secure for me, what excuse have I for being disturbed about things external? What kind of tyrant inspires fear, what kind of disease, or poverty, or obstacle? — But I have not pleased So-and-so. 10. — He is not my function, is he? He is not my judgment, is he? — No. — Why, then, do I care any longer? — But he has the reputation of being somebody. — He and those who think so highly of him will have to see to that, but I have one whom I must please, to whom I must submit, whom I must obey, that is, God, and after Him, myself. God has commended me to myself, and He has subjected to me alone my moral purpose, giving me standards for the correct use of it; and when I follow these standards, I pay heed to none of those who say anything else, I give not a thought to anyone in arguments with equivocal premises. Why, then, in the more important matters am I annoyed by those who censure me? What is the reason for this perturbation of spirit? Nothing but the fact that in this field I lack training. For, look you, every science is entitled to despise ignorance and ignorant people, and not merely the sciences, but also the arts. Take any cobbler you please, and he laughs the multitude to scorn when it comes to his own work; take any carpenter you please.

15. First, therefore, we ought to have these principles at command, and to do nothing apart from them, but keep the soul intent upon this mark; we must pursue none of the things external, none of the things which are not our own, but as He that is mighty has ordained; pursuing without any hesitation the things that lie within the sphere of the moral purpose, and all other things as they have been given us. And next we must remember who we are, and what is our designation, and must endeavor to direct our actions, in the performance of our duties, to meet the possibilities of our social relations. We must remember what is the proper time for song, the proper time for play, and in whose presence; also what will be out of place; lest our companions despise us, and we despise ourselves; when to jest, and whom to laugh at, and to what end to engage in social intercourse, and with whom; and, finally, how to maintain one’s proper character in such social intercourse. But whenever you deviate from any one of these principles, immediately you suffer loss, and that not from anywhere outside, but from the very nature of the activity.

What then? Is it possible to be free from fault altogether? No, that cannot be achieved, but it is possible ever to be intent upon avoiding faults. For we must be satisfied, if we succeed in escaping at least a few faults by never relaxing our attention. 20. But now, when you say, “Tomorrow I will pay attention,” I would have you know that this is what you are saying: “Today I will be shameless, tactless, abject; it will be in the power of other men to grieve me; I will get angry today, I will give way to envy.” Just see all the evils that you are allowing yourself! But if it is good for you to pay attention tomorrow, how much better is it today! If it is to your interest tomorrow, it is much more so today, that you may be able to do the same tomorrow also, and not put it off again, this time to the day after tomorrow.

XIII: To those who lightly talk about their own affairs.

When someone gives us the impression of having talked to us frankly about his personal affairs, somehow or other we are likewise led to tell him our own secrets, and to think that is frankness! The first reason for this is because it seems unfair for a man to have heard his neighbor’s affairs, and yet not to let him too have, in his turn, a share in ours. Another reason, after that, is because we feel that we shall not give the impression to these men of being frank, if we keep our own private affairs concealed. Indeed, men are frequently in the habit of saying, “I have told you everything about myself, aren’t you willing: to tell me anything about yourself? Where do people act like that?” Furthermore, there is also the thought that we can safely trust the man who has already entrusted knowledge of his own affairs; for the idea occurs to us that this man would never spread abroad knowledge of our affairs, because he would be careful to guard against our too spreading abroad knowledge of his affairs. 5. In this fashion the rash are ensnared by the soldiers in Rome. A soldier, dressed like a civilian, sits down by your side, and begins to speak ill of Caesar, and then you too, just as though you had received from him some guarantee of good faith in the fact that he began the abuse, tell likewise everything you think, and the next thing is — you are led off to prison in chains. We experience something of the same sort also in the general course of our life. For even though this particular man has safely entrusted knowledge of his own affairs to me, I do not myself in like manner tell my affairs to any chance comer; no, I listen and keep still, if, to be sure, I happen to be that kind of a person, but he goes out and tells everybody. And then, when I find out what has happened, if I myself resemble the other person, because I want to get even with him I tell about his affairs, and confound him and am myself confounded. If, however, I remember that one person does not harm another, but that it is a man’s own actions which both harm and help him, this much I achieve, namely, that I do not act like the other person, but despite that I get into the state in which I am because of my own foolish talking.

Yes, but it isn’t fair to hear your neigbor’s secrets and then give him no share of your own in return. 10. — Man, I did not invite your confidences, did I? You did not tell about your affairs on certain conditions, that you were to hear about mine in return, did you? If you are a babbler, and think that every person you meet is a friend, do you also want me to be like yourself? And why, if you did well to entrust your affairs to me, but it is impossible for me to do well in trusting you, do you wish me to be rash? It is just as though I had a jar that was sound, and you one with a hole in it, and you came to me and deposited your wine with me, for me to store it in my jar; and then you complained because I do not entrust to you my wine also; why, your jar has a hole in it! How, then, is equality any longer to be found? You made your deposit with a faithful man, with a respectful man, with a man who regards only his own activities as either harmful or helpful, and nothing that is external. Do you wish me to make a deposit with you — a man who has dishonored his own moral purpose, and wants to get paltry cash, or some office, or advancement at court, even if you are going to cut the throats of your children, as Medea did? 15. Where is there equality in that? Nay, show yourself to me as a faithful, respectful, dependable man; show that your judgments are those of a friend, show that your vessel has no hole in it, and you shall see how I will not wait for you to entrust the knowledge of your affairs to me, but I will go of myself and ask you to hear about mine. For who does not wish to use a good vessel, who despises a friendly and faithful counselor, who would not gladly accept the man who is ready to share his difficulties, as he would share a burden with him, and to make them light for him by the very fact of his sharing in them?

Yes, but I trust you, while you do not trust me. — First, you do not trust me, either, but you are a babbler, and that is the reason why you cannot keep anything back. Why, look you, if that statement of yours is true, entrust these matters to me alone; but the fact is that whenever you see anybody at leisure you sit down beside him and say, “Brother, I have no one more kindly disposed or dearer to me than you, I ask you to listen to my affairs”; and you act this way to people whom you have not known for even a short time. And even if you do trust me, it is clear you trust me as a faithful and respectful person, not because I have already told you about my affairs. 20. Allow me also, then, to have the same thought about you. Show me that, if a man unbosoms himself to somebody about his own affairs, he is faithful and respectful. For if that were so, I should have gone about and told my own affairs to all men, that is, if that was going to make me faithful and respectful. But that is not the case; to be faithful and respectful a man needs judgments of no casual sort. If, therefore, you see someone very much in earnest about the things that lie outside the province of his moral purpose, and subordinating his own moral purpose to them, rest assured that this man has tens of thousands of persons who subject him to compulsion and hinder him. He has no need of pitch or the wheel to get him to speak out what he knows, but a little nod from a wench, if it so happen, will upset him, a kindness from one of those who frequent Caesar’s court, desire for office, or an inheritance, and thirty thousand other things of the sort. Remember, therefore, in general, that confidences require faithfulness and faithful judgments; and where can one readily find these things nowadays? Or, let someone show me the man who is so minded that he can say, “I care only for what is my own, what is not subject to hindrance, what is by nature free. This, which is the true nature of the good, I have; but let everything else be as God has granted, it makes no difference to me.”


Socialize

Instagram Meetup Pinterest YouTube Channel