Consider who you are


Epictetus (55-135B.C.)

“Consider who you are. In the first place, you are a man; and this is one who has nothing superior to the faculty of the will, but all other things subjected to it; and the faculty itself he possesses unenslaved and free from subjection. Consider then from what things you have been separated by reason. You have been separated from wild beasts: you have been separated from domestic animals. Further, you are a citizen of the world, and a part of it, not one of the subservient, but one of the principal parts, for you are capable of comprehending the divine administration and of considering the connection of things. .. you are a superior thing; you are a portion separated from the deity; you have in yourself a certain portion of him. Why then are you ignorant of your own noble descent? Why do you not know whence you came? will you not remember when you are eating, who you are who eat and whom you feed? When you are in conjunction with a woman, will you not remember who you are who do this thing? When you are in social intercourse, when you are exercising yourself, when you are engaged in discussion, know you not that you are nourishing a god, that you are exercising a god? Wretch, you are carrying about a god with you, and you know it not. Do you think that I mean some God of silver or of gold, an external? You carry him within yourself, and you perceive not that you are polluting him by impure thoughts and dirty deeds.” — Epictetus, The Discourses (55-135B.C.)

Epictetus was a Greek philosopher who was born into Roman slavery. He was a follower of Ceno and the stoic way of thought. Rather than seeking for “nothingness”, like in Buddhism and related schools of thought, Stoic philosophy is about gaining control over oneself fallowing the notion that some things are simply not in our control and that the way to happiness and freedom lies in not trying to effect those things not in our control. Similar to Buddhism, Stoic philosphy is one one of those schools of thought which arose in times when people searched for ways to escape an unpleasant reality which they could not change or physically escape from. In India it was the cast system and in Rome the fate as slave which gave birth to such ways of thought.

The Discourses

~ by metadave on April 14, 2008.

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