We know the Greek-Roman philosopher Epictetus, whose thinking is realted to the Stoic School, thanks to the writings of his pupil Arrian both in the ‘Enchiridion’ and in his ‘Discourses of Epictetus’.
Indeed, Epictetus, called of Phrygia because that was the city where he was born –nowadays in Turkey– in AD 55, lived in Rome as a slave. His master, who had served the Emperor Nero, provided him with education. Later, Emperor Domitian ordered his exile, along with other thinkers, and Epictetus moved to Nicopolis in Greece, where he founded his own school. Historians say that at the time Epictetus gained more respect and fame than Plato himself, one of the most influential classical philosophers.
From a Stoic point of view, the pursuit of happiness or eudaimonia is the center of life, which comes from the acknowledge of virtue and self-knowledge. By virtue they mean discarding the shallow to deepen into the rational, detachment and good feelings. Rationality is what allows a person to live with awareness and acceptance of their fate. Only by behaving propoerly we can be happier: by differentiating what we can change for the better, and accepting what we cannot change, to live with it in peace.
Always learning, growing as individuals, can have a fulfiling life.
This is how the philosopher expressed it:
To accuse others for one’s own misfortunes is a sign of want of education; to accuse oneself shows that one’s education has begun.
A ship should not sail with a single anchor, nor life on a single hope.
Just as there is an art of speaking, there is an art of listening.
Happiness is not to acquire and enjoy, but not to want anything, because it consists in being free.
Prudence is a more precious thing, even than the other virtues.
Do not be afraid of poverty or exile, or prison, or death. What we have to fear is fear itself.
Do not pretend things happen the way you want. Want, rather, that occur as they occur, and be happy.
The soul is like a city under siege: behind its resistant walls defenders watch. If the foundation is strong, the fortress will not have to capitulate.
You can become invincible, unless you are hooked in a battle whose victory does not depend on you.
You will magnify your people if you shall raise not the roofs of the houses, but the souls of the citizens.
Events do not hurt us, but our views of them can.
What disturbs men’s minds is not events but their judgements on events.
Let’s enjoy the lessons of this wise man.
Have a happy week,
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