Epictetus - Pre-Class Response The Discourses By Epictetus...

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Pre-Class Response: The Discourses By Epictetus 1. The faculty of reasoning is in our power. We have “this faculty of exerting the impulse to act and not to act, desire and aversion, and in a word, making proper use of impressions.” (Epictetus, 6). What that means to me is that we have free will to govern our own choices. Life is but a series of choices. The consequences of the choices we make, both good and ill make up what we refer to as life, luck or lot in life. We as humans, make our own choices but then want to blame others for the results. I’ve been telling my children this very thing since they were very small. My job as a parent is simple. I have to teach you to make good choices and to deal with the consequences of all of your choices. We as humans have no control over anything else. We can’t control the weather, the actions of others or anything else, except for our own actions. We have the ability to govern our thoughts and decisions alone! 2. He tells us basically that character is built through adversity, as the old adage goes. If you choose to accept the circumstances of life than you will be contented with all. If you see a situation brewing of which you do not approve, simply refuse to participate and maintain your contentedness elsewhere. Only a coward, who fears judgement, loss of possession or change bemoans his position and property in life. A man who is brave and courageous puts no stock in worldly possessions only in his own choices and therefore goes forth happily through life. 3. Intelligence, knowledge and right reason are the nature of god and the good. The nature of the good is therefore the nature of the men who take literally their power of reason and free will. It is the men who show courage in their convictions and acceptance of their circumstances. The good are then, those who are contented in their lives, who accept responsibility for their choices and who humbly place no value on earthly possessions, which do not truly belong to them in the first place. According to Zeus we are but cleverly formed balls of clay and therefore have no real entitlement to or ownership of earthly possessions. The possessions are of such a nature as to determine that they were here before us and will remain even after we do not. 4. In order to be a true friend you must place your own self interest in the scale of sanctity, virtue, parents, country, friends and justice itself. If you put your self-interests above all else then that fact renders you incapable of being a friend or loving anything or anyone other than yourself. This is probably the truest and most important piece of advice that I have ever heard. I have often told my children not to worry about
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Epictetus - Pre-Class Response The Discourses By Epictetus...

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