Sunday, May 6, 2018

Epictetus Discourses Book 2 Chapter 16 - how to gain tranquility and freedom (be Stoic)

I'm simply going to quote some moneyball quotes from this chapter - no need for commentary.

"what oppresses and scares us?  It is our own thoughts.  What overwhelms people when they are about to leave friends, family, old haunts and their accustomed way of life?  Thoughts"  (verse 24).

"leave everything that isn't yours alone.  Make use of what material advantages you have, don't regret the ones you were not allowed.  If any of them are recalled, let go of them willingly, grateful for the time you had to enjoy them" (verse 28).

"Can you hope for any better vision than the sun, the moon, the stars, all the land and sea?  And if you appreciate how God governs them, and carry him around inside you, what attraction can mere marble or fine masonry still have for you? (verses 32-33).

"But by leaving them [friends, family] I make them unhappy.

"You think you are the cause of their unhappiness?  No; the cause of their disturbance is the same as yours: judgments.  Overhaul your judgments and, if they're smart, they will overhaul theirs.  Otherwise, their unhappiness will be of their own making" (verse 40).

"Listen, as the saying goes, it's crisis time: make a last desperate effort to gain freedom and tranquility - to be Stoic" (verse 41).

Lift up your head, like a person finally released from slavery.  Dare to face God and say, 'From now on, use me as you like.  I am of one mind with you, I am your peer.'  Whatever you decide, I will not shrink from it.  You may put me where you like, in any role regardless: officer or citizen, rich man or pauper, here or overseas.  They are all just so many opportunities to justify your ways to man, by showing just how little circumstances amount to" (verses 42-43).

"It was obedience to [Zeus] that [Hercules] went around wiping out crime and injustice" (verse 44).

"Cast out of your mind ... sorrow, fear, lust, envy, spite, greed, petulance and over-indulgence.  Getting rid of these, too, requires looking to God for help, trusting in him alone, and submitting to his direction.  Then if you're not willing to do this - all tears and agitation - you will serve someone physically more powerful than you, and continue to look outside yourself for happiness, fated never to find it.  And that is because you look for it in the wrong place, forgetting to look where it really lies" (verses 46-47).

This last quote reminds me of another quote I recently read: "If you will not have rules, you will have rulers. (link to tweet)

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