'Mere things, brute facts, should not provoke your rage: They have no mind to care.'
'May you give joy to the immortal gods, and joy to us.'
'Ripe ears of corn are reaped, and so are lives: One stands, another falls.'
'If I and my two sons are now no more; The gods' concern, this too will have its cause.'
'For good and right stand on my side.'
'Don't join in mourning, or in ecstasy.'
'But I could give this man a proper answer. I would say: "You are mistaken, my friend, if you think that a man of any worth at all should take into account the risk of life or death, and not have as his sole consideration in any action whether he is doing right or wrong, the act of a good man or a bad".'
These passages largely deal with choosing the best attitude with what the universe sends your way. The first deals with "brute facts." Facts are facts and they cannot cause you be be mad. Only your reaction to the facts are what causes you to be mad. So change your reaction and accept the facts!
The immortal gods, if they exist, will do what they want. We have no control over them. We can only choose our attitude with regard to what they send our way.
Just as some ripe ears of corn will fall and others will not, so too some aged people will die and others will not. No matter - it is out of our control and we have no say in the matter.
Death will come to me and my sons. That is the gods' concern, not mine.
I can only hope I will stand on the same side as good and right.
Don't be overcome with sadness or ecstasy. Keep a level mind; unperturbed.
When faced between a life & death decision and choosing virtue, any man of worth will choose virtue. That is, perhaps, the ultimate test.
(see also Citadel p. 57, 269)