Wednesday, October 14, 2015

practice being in need of only a few things

While perusing a Stoic blog today, I came across this post.

In that post, there was a quote.  I searched this quote and found the full quote at this link.

Here is the quote by crates of thebes:
practice being in need of only a few things, for this is the closest thing to god.
for the gods need nothing.  but, so that you may learn more exactly what is involved in having few needs ... reflect that children have more needs than adults, women than men, invalids than the healthy, and, in general, the inferior everywhere has more needs than the superior. therefore the gods have need of nothing and those nearest to them have the fewest needs.
Tt is a worthy pursuit, in all aspects of life, to need little.  in possessions; in entertainment; in clothing; in food.

In Seneca's On Tranquility, he says “Come, then, look at the world: you will see that the gods are bare, conferring everything but possessing nothing. Do you think a man who has shed all his gifts of fortune is a pauper, or like the immortal gods?” (8.5, trans by Elaine Fantham).

The wikisource  / Aubrey Stewart translation states: "Look upon the universe: you will see the gods quite bare of property, and possessing nothing though they give everything. Do you think that this man who has stripped himself of all fortuitous accessories is a pauper, or one like to the immortal gods?"

In a similar vein, Epictetus teaches, "In things to do with the body - food, drink, clothes, housing, and servants - take only what you need, and cut out everything that is for show or luxury" (Enchiridion 33).

And again: "It is the mark of a crude disposition to spend most of one's time on bodily functions such as exercise, eating, drinking, defecating, and copulating.  These are things to be done just incidentally.  All your attention should be on your mind (Enchiridion 41).

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