Epictetus on Philosophy as a Way of Life

“No thing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.”

—Epictetus – Discourses  – Book I, ch. 15.

See http://classics.mit.edu/Browse/browse-Epictetus.html

As I have practiced stoicism, what I find online is often superficial and analytical and unsourced. Pierre Hadot is an exception with his books “The Inner Citadel” and “Philosophy as a Way of Life.” He presents the stoic spiritual practices that must be practiced to benefit from.

I have noticed a trend in the modern stoics relying heavily on written commentary and readings and not a lot of talk on practical application. Many argue esoteric points missing the heart of Epictetus in my opinion.

Books are good weights, but not the real thing.

“Epictetus’s chief concerns are with integrity, self-management, and personal freedom, which he advocates by demanding of his students a thorough examination of two central ideas, the capacity he terms ‘volition’ (prohairesis) and the correct use of impressions (chrēsis tōn phantasiōn), Heartfelt and satirical by turns, Epictetus has had significant influence on the popular moralistic tradition, but he is more than a moralizer; his lucid resystematization and challenging application of Stoic ethics qualify him as an important philosopher in his own right.”

—From Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epictetus/

Thus it is very difficult to discuss these topics online without coming off as a moralizer of your own viewpoints when no one can see the application of said practices in your life.

Should we then say nothing online? Perhaps. But there is benefit in discussing and wrestling and pointing to the gold imho, but these dialogues are no substitute for practice and application.

I, as all of you, am a work of art in progress.

Epictetus spoke from the heart and was funny, not just in his mind. His philosophy was lived and practical.

You have to attain on your own. We can’t just moralize our viewpoints to others. Around normal folks not versed in these practices, example is the best teacher.

The below from “A SELECTION FROM THE DISCOURSES OF EPICTETUS WITH THE ENCHEIRIDION”

https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10661/pg10661-images.html

LII.

In every thing (circumstance) we should hold these maxims ready to hand:

Lead me, O Zeus, and thou O Destiny,
The way that I am bid by you to go:
To follow I am ready. If I choose not,
I make myself a wretch, and still must follow.

But whoso nobly yields unto necessity,
We hold him wise, and skill’d in things divine.

And the third also: O Crito, if so it pleases the gods, so let it be; Anytus and Melitus are able indeed to kill me, but they cannot harm me.

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an ole smelly goat

nothing interesting

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