100 Great Quotes By Epictetus, The Author Of The Art Of Living
Epictetus was a Greek-speaking Stoic philosopher who believed that philosophy was a way of life and not just a theoretical discipline. He believed that the foundation of philosophy was self-knowledge and that ignorance and gullibility needed to be evaded. Epictetus argued that logic provided valid reasoning and certainty in judgement. He claimed that philosophy was divided into three branches – the application of doctrine, the reasons and the establishment of the reasons if it were a right one. Epictetus believed that all external events were beyond one’s control and that one should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. However, individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline. Epictetus described philosophy as learning. He believed true education was recognizing that there is nothing more supreme than one’s will or purpose. Epictetus also claimed that men are not entirely responsible for the ideas that they present to their consciousness. However, they are wholly responsible for the way in which they use the ideas. In his life, Epictetus did not pen his teachings. Instead it was done by his pupil Arrian. Epictetus’s philosophy of life can be clearly seen in his quotes that give a deep meaning to life and living. Check this segment and find some awesome quotes by Epictetus.
If anyone tells you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you but answer, "He was ignorant of my other faults, else he would not have mentioned these alone. Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. Don't explain your philosophy. Embody it. There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will. Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems First say to yourself what you would be;
and then do what you have to do. If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid. The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best. It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. Any person capable of angering you becomes your master;
he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him. He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at. Other people's views and troubles can be contagious. Don't sabotage yourself by unwittingly adopting negative, unproductive attitudes through your associations with others. Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control. Only the educated are free. Circumstances don't make the man, they only reveal him to himself. It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. Nature hath given men one tongue but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak. People are not disturbed by things, but by the views they take of them. To accuse others for one's own misfortune is a sign of want of education. To accuse oneself shows that one's education has begun. To accuse neither oneself nor others shows that one's education is complete. You are a little soul carrying around a corpse I laugh at those who think they can damage me. They do not know who I am, they do not know what I think, they cannot even touch the things which are really mine and with which I live. First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak. The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests. Attach yourself to what is spiritually superior, regardless of what other people think or do. Hold to your true aspirations no matter what is going on around you. No man is free who is not master of himself. He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. Seek not the good in external things;seek it in yourselves. Do not try to seem wise to others. If evil be said of thee, and if it be true, correct thyself; if it be a lie, laugh at it. Don't seek to have events happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do happen, and all will be well with you. Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly. A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single
hope If you would be a reader, read; if a writer, write. Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent. Events do not just happen, but arrive by appointment. It is not so much what happens to you as how you think about what happens."
Epictetus If you wish to be a writer, write. I must die. Must I then die lamenting? I must be put in chains. Must I then also lament? I must go into exile. Does any man then hinder me from going with smiles and cheerfulness and contentment? Asked, Who is the rich man? Epictetus replied, He who is content. Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. Know you not that a good man does nothing for appearance sake, but for the sake of having done right? We are not disturbed by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens to us. It is better to die of hunger having lived without grief and fear, than to live with a troubled spirit, amid abundance Demand not that things happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do, and you will go on well. Small-minded people blame others. Average people blame themselves. The wise see all blame as foolishness -….when things seem to have reached that stage, merely say “I won’t play any longer”, and take your departure; but if you stay, stop lamenting. Give me by all means the shorter and nobler life, instead of one
that is longer but of less account! No great thing is created suddenly. Men are not afraid of things, but of how they view them. Control thy passions lest they take vengence on thee. ~ Epictetus On the occasion of every accident that befalls you, remember to turn to yourself and inquire what power you have for turning it to use. If someone speaks badly of you, do not defend yourself against the accusations, but reply; "you obviously don't know about my other vices, otherwise you would have mentioned these as well You may fetter my leg, but Zeus himself cannot get the better of my free will. Difficulty shows what men are. If any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone. For God hath made all men to enjoy felicity and constancy of good. It is our attitude toward events, not events themselves, which we can control. Nothing is by its own nature calamitous -- even death is terrible only if we fear it. There is but one way to tranquility of mind and happiness, and that is to account no external things thine own, but to commit all to God. No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen. We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free. No man is free until he s a master of himself!! Whoever is going to listen to the philosophers needs a considerable practice in listening. Imagine for yourself a character, a model personality, whose example you determine to follow, in private as well as in public. -Who are those people by whom you wish to be admired? Are they not these whom you are in the habit of saying that they are mad? What then? Do you wish to be admired by the mad? We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. When a youth was giving himself airs in the Theatre and saying, 'I am wise, for I have conversed with many wise men,' Epictetus replied, 'I too have conversed with many rich men, yet I am not rich!’. If you seek Truth, you will not seek to gain a victory by every possible means; and when you have found Truth, you need not fear being defeated. Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish? Nothing else. The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things. Epictetus being asked how a man should give pain to his enemy answered, By preparing himself to live the best life that he can. What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them. It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance. What concerns me is not the way things are, but the way people think things are. Men are disturbed not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen. Don't live by your own rules, but in harmony with nature If you want to improve, you must be content to be thought foolish and stupid. It is better to do wrong seldom and to own it, and to act right for the most part, than seldom to admit that you have done wrong and to do wrong often. Never say that I have taken it, only that I have given it back. Crows pick out the eyes of the dead, when the dead have no longer need of them; but flatterers mar the soul of the living, and her eyes they blind. Everyone's life is a warfare, and that long and various. Those who are well constituted in the body endure both heat and cold: and so those who are well constituted in the soul endure both anger and grief and excessive joy and the other affects. No one is ever unhappy because of someone else. [Do not get too attached to life] for it is like a sailor's leave on the shore and at any time, the captain may sound the horn, calling you back to eternal darkness. Keep the prospect of death, exile and all such apparent tragedies before you every day – especially death – and you will never have an abject thought, or desire anything to excess. 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. No person is free who is not master of himself. Whoever then would be free, let him wish for nothing, let him decline nothing, which depends on others; else he must necessarily be a slave. For it is not death or pain that is to be feared, but the fear of pain or death. If thy brother wrongs thee, remember not so much his wrong-doing, but more than ever that he is thy brother. Your happiness depends on three things, all of which are within your power: your will, your ideas concerning the events in which you are involved, and the use you make of your ideas. The philosopher's school, ye men, is a surgery: you ought not to go out of it with pleasure, but with pain. For you are not in sound health when you enter. As a man, casting off worn out garments taketh new ones, so the dweller in the body, entereth into ones that are new. An ignorant person is inclined to blame others for his own misfortune. To blame oneself is proof of progress. But the wise man never has to blame another or himself. A city is not adorned by external things, but by the virtue of those who dwell in it. For sheep don't throw up the grass to show the shepherds how much they have eaten; but, inwardly digesting their food, they outwardly produce wool and milk. What saith Antisthenes? Hast thou never heard?— It is a kingly thing, O Cyrus, to do well and to be evil spoken of.
Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire.
Men are disturbed not by the things which happen, but by the opinions about the things:
Nothing great comes into being all at once, for that is not the case even with a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me now, ‘I want a fig,’ I’ll reply, ‘That takes time.
Take care not to hurt the ruling faculty of your mind. If you were to guard against this in every action, you should enter upon those actions more safely.
Be free from grief not through insensibility like the irrational animals, nor through want of thought like the foolish, but like a man of virtue by having reason as the consolation of grief. Men are disturbed not by the things which happen, but by the opinion about the things.