- Series: Dover Thrift Editions
- Paperback: 64 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications; unknown edition (January 15, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0486433595
- ISBN-13: 978-0486433592
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.2 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 123 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Enchiridion (Dover Thrift Editions) unknown Edition
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Probably what I like most about Epictetus' teachings is that he has not only talked the talk, but walked the walk. His background only supports his stoic teachings experiences even further by showing that even a near-disabled slave forced to work for most of his early life, with no safety net to fall back on, can be free and happy. I can't think of a stronger test of a way of life than that one.
The basic stoic philosophy is that our fate is already decided for us and we are powerless to control it, and though we apply both negative and positive connotations towards events that occur within our fate, ultimately fate (or as he refers to it as "the gods' will") is beyond our understanding and is neutral, so we are the only ones left that are punishing ourselves in times of seeming crisis. The true secret to happiness is learning to accept that we can't control outside forces, but we have total control and power over our own opinions and actions. Through this method of thought, the stoic philosopher can endure the harshest, most crippling events, and come out unscathed or possibly even stronger, knowing that any negativity coming from any events is his own product of his ego lashing out to protect itself.
With the lessons of Epictetus, you can learn to not run or hide from entropy and by doing so live your life in fear and senseless anger, but rather embrace it. And in your embracing of chaos you begin to realize that the universe is not in fact the recklessness you imagined, but ironically an almost entirely organized system of random acts. If you or someone you know are going through a hard time in life, there is almost no better reading than this book.
If you're reading this for the first time then I would probably look for a version for a better translation. If you've already read this and want a light, thin, and concise version of "Enchiridion," then this could be a good purchase for you.
On the costliness of fortune: poisonous nature of fortune:
XX: "As when you see a viper or an asp or a scorpion in an ivory or golden box, you do not on account of the costliness of the material love it or think it happy, but because the nature of it is pernicious, you turn away from it and loath it; so when you shall see vice dwelling in wealth and in the swollen fullness of fortune, be not struck by the splendor of the material, but despise the false character of the morals."
CLXXII: Epictetus being asked, What man is rich, answered, He who is content (who has enough)
CXXXVII: Contentment, as it is a short road and pleasant, has great delight and little trouble.
CXXIX: He is a wise man who does not grove for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
XXIV: As it is better to lie compressed in a narrow bed and be healthy than to be tossed with disease on a broad couch, so also it is better to contract yourself within a small competence and to be happy than to have a great fortune and to be wretched.
On expecting the worst:
CLVIII: If you wish to live a life free from sorrow, think of what is going to happen as if it had already happened.
On hearing more than speaking:
CXLII: Nature has given to men one tongue, but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak.
CXVII: Let your talk of God be renewed every day, rather than your food
CXIX: Think of God more frequently than you breathe.
CXX: If you always remember that whatever you are doing in the soul or in the body, God stands by as an inspector, you will never err (do wrong) in all your prayers and in all your acts, but you will have God dwelling with you.
On (avoiding) pleasure:
CX: A man should choose (pursue) not every pleasure, but the pleasure which leads to goodness
On decision making:
CI: Deliberate much before saying or doing anything, for you will not have the power of recalling what has been said or done."
LXXXVIII: As the sun does not wait for prayers and incantations to be induced to rise, but immediately shines and is saluted by all: so do you also not wait for clippings of hands, and shouts and praise to be induced to do good, but be a doer of good voluntarily, and you will be beloved as much as the sun.
LXXVIII: As the fire-lights in harbors by a few pieces of dry wood raises a great flame and give sufficient help to ships which are wandering on the sea; so also an illustrious man in a state which is tempest-tossed, while he is himself satisfied with a few things does great services to his citizens.
XVII: Remember that thou art an actor in a play of such a kind as the teacher (author) may choose; if short, of a short one; if long, of a long one: if he wishes you to act the part of a poor man, see that you act the part naturally; if the part of a lame man, of a magistrate, of a private person (do the same). For this is your duty, to act well the part that is given to you; but to select the part, belongs to another.
LXXXIX: Neither should a ship rely on one small anchor, nor should life rest on a single hope.
On ignoring haters:
LXXXV:As a goose is not frightened by cackling nor a sheep by bleating, so let not the clamor of a senseless multitude alarm you.
On governing a state:
LXXXII: Do not decorate the walls of your house with the valuable stones from Euboea and Sparta; but adorn the minds (breasts) of the citizens and of those who administer the state with the instruction which comes from Hellas (Greece). For states are well governed by the wisdom (judgement) of men, not by stone and wood.
LXXXI: You will do the greatest services to the state, if you shall raise not the roofs of the houses, but the souls of the citizens: for it is better that great souls should dwell in small houses than for mean slaves to lurk in great houses.
LXXVII: Attempt on every occasion to provide for nothing so much as that which is safe: for silence is safer than speaking. And omit speaking whatever is without sense and reason.
LXXV: Lampis the shipowner being asked how he acquired his wealth, answered, With no difficulty, my great wealth; but my small wealth (my first gains), with much labor.
XLVII: Instead of a herd of oxen [wealth], endeavor to assemble herds of friends in your house.
XLI: It is better to live with one free man and to be without fear and free, than to be a slave with many.
On the soul:
XXXI: In banquets remember that you entertain two guests, body and soul: and whatever you shall have given to the body you soon eject: but what you shall have given to the soul, you keep always.
XIII: No man who loves money, and loves pleasure, and loves fame, also loves mankind, but only he who loves virtue.
XIV: As you would not choose to sail in a large and decorated and gold-laden ship (or ship ornamented with gold), and to be drowned; so do not choose to dwell in a large and costly home and to be disturbed (by cares).
XXI: Let death and exile and every other thing which appears dreadful be daily before your eyes; but most of al death: and you will never think of anything mean nor will you desire anything extravagantly.
VIII: Seek not the things which happen should happen as you wish; but wish the things which happen to be as they are, and you will have a tranquil flow of life.