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The Art of Living - Epictetus


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Author Topic: The Art of Living - Epictetus  (Read 16 times)
tides2dust
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« on: Nov 03, 2018 04:39 am »

Who is Epictetus?

"Epictetus was born nearly 2,000 years ago in Hierapolis (present-day Pamukkale in Turkey) as a slave in a wealthy household. Epaphroditus, his owner, gave him the permission to pursue liberal studies and it is how Epictetus discovered philosophy through the Stoic Musonius Rufus who became his teacher and mentor. Later, Epictetus obtained his freedom shortly after emperor Nero’s death and started teaching philosophy in Rome for nearly 25 years. This lasted until emperor Domitian famously banished all philosophers in Rome. Epictetus fled to Nicopolis in Greece where he founded a philosophy school and taught there until his death."

taken from,
https://dailystoic.com/epictetus/

My friend was recommended this book by his guardian angel. We read chapters together and I wanted to share a few here and discuss with anyone interested...
« Last Edit: Nov 03, 2018 04:45 am by tides2dust » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: Nov 03, 2018 04:44 am »

Desire Demands Its Own Attainment
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Our desires and aversions are mercurial rulers. They demand to be pleased. Desire commands us to run off and get what we want. Aversion insist that we must avoid the things that repel us.
  Typically, when we don't get what we want, we are disappointed, and when we get what we don't want, we are distressed.
  If, then, you avoid only those undesirable things that are contrary to your natural well-being and are within your control, you won't ever incur anything you truly don't want. However, if you try to avoid inevitabilities such as sickness, death, or misfortune, over which you have no real control, you will make yourself and others around you suffer.
  Desire and aversion, though powerful, are but habits. And we can train ourselves to have better habits. Restrain the habit of being repelled by all those things that aren't within your control, and focus instead on combating things within your power that are not good for you.
  Do your best to rein in your desire. For if you desire something that isn't within your own control, disappointment will surely follow; meanwhile, you will be neglecting the very things that are within your control that are worthy of desire.
  Of course, there are times when for practical reason you must go after one thing or shun another, but do so with grace, finesse, and flexibility.
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 03, 2018 04:57 am »

Some parts taken from,
Consider What Comes First, Then What Follows, and Then Act
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A half-hearted spirit has now power. Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Average people enter into their endeavors headlong and without care. Perhaps they meet with an exemplary figure like Euphrates and become inspired to excel themselves. It is all well and good to do this, but consider first the real nature of your aspirations, and measure that against your capacities.
   Be honest with yourself. Clearly assess your strengths and weaknesses. ...

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Just as certain capacities are required for success in a particular area, so too are certain sacrifices required. If you wish to become proficient in the art of living with wisdom, do you think that you can eat and drink to excess? Do you think you can continue to succumb to anger and your usual habits of frustration and unhappiness? No. If true wisdom is your object and you are sincere, you will have work to do on yourself. You will have to overcome many unhealthy cravings and knee-jerk reactions. You will have to reconsider whom you associate with. Are your friends and associates worthy people? Does their influence- their habits, values, and behavior- elevate you or reinforce the slovenly habits from which you seek escape? The life of wisdom, like anything else, demands its price. You may, in following it, be ridiculed and even end up with the worst of everything in all parts of your public life, including your career, your social standing, and your legal position in the courts.
   Once you have given due consideration to all of the constituent details that compose the effort to live the higher life, venture forth with your utmost effort. Make the necessary sacrifices that are the price for the worthiest of goals: freedom, even-mindedness, and tranquility. If, however, upon honestly appraising your mettle, you are not fit or ready, free yourself from delusion and tread a different, more realistic road.
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« Reply #3 on: Nov 03, 2018 06:02 am »

In terms of self mastery I can understand the idea of putting in work needed to live a more fulfilling life... I am not sure I am convinced one has to leave their friends or family who do not mirror the lifestyle one is seeking...  Maybe you do and it is fine but I think reason is not the only tool required to living wisdom... To feel close to God, to live a happy life, to experience fulfillment- Love too, is required... Would Jesus turn anyone away? Who said God is Love?
I understand needing to walk away from undesirable or toxic relationships- I just think it's important to remember, do not close your heart to those you may one day walk away from. This world is full of trials, we don't need to run from them. If you're constantly running from those you have deemed intolerable you are only giving power to your irritability or maybe other undesirable behaviors. If one day this friend or family member who you find no longer serves you calls upon you- do not hesitate to meet the call, that's all. Keeping the heart open is a direct path to commune with God. 
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« Reply #4 on: Nov 03, 2018 06:06 am »

The grace, finesse, flexibility and more realistic road I believe Epictetus is hinting towards is in discovering what a balanced life means for ones self. I have lived my life in extremes and catered to superficiality, these chapters have served important in helping me develop sincerity as I question my abilities, fears and desires.
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