Friday, September 14, 2012

Greats Reads III

Epictetus, The Golden Sayings

Like Sokrates and Jesus, Epictetus was too preoccupied with living life-- the original business of philosophy-- to write anything. Lucky for us he, also like Sokrates and Jesus, had some pretty enthused epigones. His Plato was Arrian of Nicomedia, to whom we how a whole argosy of practical advice on living. This book is a rather antiquated Harvard Classics edition translated by Plato translator Hastings Crossley and purchased by yours truly for $3.50.

  1. A guide, on finding a man who has lost his way, brings him back to the right path—he does not mock and jeer at him and then take himself off. You also must show the unlearned man the truth, and you will see that he will follow. But so long as you do not show it him, you should not mock, but rather feel your own incapacity.
  2. Considering all these things, the good and true man submits his judgment to Him that administers the Universe, even as good citizens to the law of the State. And he that is being instructed should come thus minded: How may I in all things follow the Gods; and, How may I rest satisfied with the Divine Administration; and, How may I become free? For he is free for whom all things come to pass according to his will, and whom none can hinder.
  3. Even as the traveller asks his way of him that he meets, inclined in no wise to bear to the right rather than to the left (for he desires only the way leading whither he would go), so should we come unto God as to a guide; even as we use our eyes without admonishing them to show us some things rather than others, but content to receive the images of such things as they present unto us.
  4. Do not seek to have everything that happens happen as you wish, but wish for everything to happen as it actually does happen, and your life will be serene.
  5.  If anyone tells you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you but answer, “he was ignorant of my other faults, else he would not have mentioned these alone."

No comments:

Post a Comment