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  • kcantekin 1:50 pm on March 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , impressions, integrity   

    Don't be angry with wrongdoers 

    Epictetus – Discourses Book 1
    I.18. Don’t be angry with wrongdoers

    It is a general observation of philosophy that people are guided by a single standard:

    1. People assent to things they feel must be true,
    2. People dissent to things they feel is not true,
    3. People suspend judgment concerning things they are not clear as to their truth value.

    This is the same with impulses: “It is impossible to consider one thing advantageous and desire something different, or consider one thing right and have an impulse to something else.”

    It follows that people who do wrong do it because they are confused as to what is good and what is bad.

    So to be angry with them is groundless as it is useless. If we could show these people where their thinking goes wrong, they would reform themselves.

    The reason we might get angry when someone wrongs us, or steals from us is that we put too high a premium on things that can be stolen, or otherwise taken away from us. If we don’t attach too high a value to things that can be taken from us, then we won’t get angry to those who take these things from us.

    What is only and truly ours cannot be taken. What can be taken is not under our control anyway.

    “As long as you honour material things, direct your anger at yourself rather than the thief… ‘But the tyrant will chain —’ What will he chain? Your leg. ‘He will chop off —’ What? Your head. What he will never chain or chop off is your integrity. That’s the reason behind the ancient advice to ‘know yourself’… Walk upright and free, trusting in the strength of your moral convictions, not the strength of your body, like an athlete. You weren’t meant to be invincible by brute force, like a pack animal. You are invincible if nothing outside the will can disconcert you.”

  • kcantekin 10:12 pm on February 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , impressions, mind, nature   

    That God supervises everyone 

    Epictetus – Discourses Book 1
    I.14. That God supervises everyone

    1. There is unity between nature and mind.
    2. The mind works through nature; concepts and memories are formed by the association of impressions of natural phenomena.
    3. Since God created nature, and God gave us the faculty of having impressions,
    4. How can we deny him the ability to oversee everything that happens in this communion of nature and mind?
  • kcantekin 10:12 am on February 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , impressions   

    Concerning family affection 

    Epictetus – Discourses Book 1
    I.11. Concerning family affection

    1. What we observe occuring naturally must not be confused with what ought to happen.
    2. That is because our impressions based on our different ideas of right and wrong effect how we observe natural phenomena.
    3. As rational beings we strive to do the rational thing, the right thing, based on our impressions of natural phenomena.
    4. However impressions are a matter of choice. They are judgments, and we are masters of our own judgments.
    5. It follows that what we do is solidly based on our choices about our impressions and not on anything external to us.

    Take the father who does not remain by her sick daughter’s bed, because he cannot bear the grief of seeing her sick. Is this good and natural behaviour, based on affection?

    The father leaves his daughter’s side because he thinks this is a good idea at the time, he thinks this is the rational thing to do at that moment. But closer scrutiny will show that this choice is based on a warped understanding of what is natural; that watching a loved one suffer is painful, and that it is natural and rational to escape from such pain.

    However you must see that this reasoning is simply and completely based on his impression of death and pain. His opinion that these things are bad and must be counteracted upon.

    But as we learned earlier, we must not assign the qualities of good and bad to phenomena external to us. We must be careful to apply desire and aversion to external things. Applying this principle to our impressions is a matter of choice and education.

    If the father in our example had not assigned the quality of bad to the suffering of his daughter and the pain this caused to him, and had he not applied aversion to this external phenomena, he could reason that is is a natural norm that family members show affection and support to each other in times of infirmity. And that is is natural that a father comforts his sick daughter. Once the natural norm is found, subjective impressions on external phenomena will no longer effect our ability to do the right choices in life.

    The discovery of this natural norm is the objective of our education. Once the natural norm is found, and desire and aversion are applied in accordance with the requirements of these norms, a theory of good and bad – or ethics – will emerge.



  • kcantekin 2:08 pm on February 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , impressions, ,   

    Concerning what is in our power and what is not 

    Epictetus – Discourses Book 1
    I.1. Concerning what is in our power and what is not


    1. The only faculty that can analyse itself.
    2. The only thing we humans actually own.
    3. It is a gift, in a way that our bodies aren’t.
    4. Our bodies do not belong to us.
    5. They belong to the material world.
    6. Reason gives us the powers of positive and negative impulse, desire, and aversion.
    7. These are the powers of God, and he gave us a part of his power.
    8. That to every human being.
    9. Impressions of good and bad are made by reason.
    10. A thing itself cannot make an impression.

    If you are on the Path of the Philosopher, you must write down these thoughts every day, and put them in practice.

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