- 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: 114 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Enchiridion (Dover Thrift Editions) unknown Edition
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Epictetus (c. 55 - c. 135)
Epictetus (Ancient Greek: AD 55–135) was a Greek sage and Stoic philosopher. He was born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia (present day Pamukkale, Turkey), and lived in Rome until his banishment, when he went to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece for the rest of his life. His teachings were written down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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The language used can make it a bit challenging to understand -- there are occasional ancient words that you may need to look up to better clarify context. But the core messages are excellent. My plan is to read it once to highlight major areas of interest (done) and then revisit it in the future to take notes on those areas.
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.