Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Epictetus Discourses Book 1 Chapter 15 - this is not the final version of ...

Have you ever wondered why another person can do such a thing?

How can they stand to live in a dirty room?  Why won't they put the lid on the toothpaste or put the toilet seat down?

Why does this manager have to be such a mirco-manager?

Why is she always so grumpy and bitter?

Don't they know how annoying it is when they do that?

Perhaps you can think of your own example as to why someone else acts in a way that bothers you.  Maybe some of these actions are simply preferences.  But what about people who are not virtuous - people who are mean, spiteful, arrogant?  Shouldn't they know better?

Epictetus reminds us that: how other people behave and how they act, falls under the category of "things not in our control."  He even helps us remember that people are always on a developmental journey.  We can give them the benefit of the doubt.  We can also remind ourselves that it may take a lifetime for some people to fully develop into a mature, caring, thoughtful human being.

He says, "Nothing important comes into being overnight; even grapes or figs need time to ripen.  If you say that you want a fig to flower, then put forth some fruit; then you have to wait until the fruit is ripe.  So if the fruit of a fig tree is not brought to maturity instantly or in an hour, how do you expect the human mind to come to fruition, so quickly and easily?"

When it comes to my own kids and they do something that isn't so smart, I say to my wife, "this is the final version of <name of our child>"

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