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  • kcantekin 8:44 am on February 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , practice   

    What Philosophy Professes 

    Epictetus – Discourses Book 1
    I.15. What philosophy professes

    Philosophy cannot advise us on the behaviour and life of others.

    It cannot give us anything that is outside of our control.

    Philosophy teaches you the art of living your own life. That means essentially, keeping the soul’s governing principle aligned to nature.

    But that is only for your soul. The souls of others are external to you, you cannot control them, and philosophy cannot teach you to change them.

    Learning to stay true to nature without being affected by externals such as property, health, or reputation is not an easy process. It requires extensive and repetitive training. Nothing comes to fruition overnight.

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  • kcantekin 9:24 am on February 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , practice   

    To those who have applied themselves to advancement at Rome 

    Epictetus – Discourses Book 1
    I.10. To those who have applied themselves to advancement at Rome

    1. The business of the philosopher requires him to deal with immense questions, such as “How the universe is governed? What is the place of the rational being in it?” etc.
    2. Compared to the issues in the mundane professions, the matters in philosophy are of greater importance and complexity.
    3. That being said, the mundane professions most certainly deserve attention and the struggle to attain perfection from their practitioners.
    4. Then, doesn’t philosophy deserve at least the equal degree of application? If neglect of the duties of a mundane job is wrong, isn’t neglect of application of philosophy equally wrong?
     
  • kcantekin 6:56 am on February 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aversion, avoidance, , , , impassivity, practice, progress   

    On Progress 

    Epictetus – Discourses Book 1
    I.4. On Progress

    1. To progress in the path of the philosopher, you must learn to use desire and avoidance properly.
    2. Impassivity and a good flow of life require steering desire towards good things, and avoidance to bad things.
    3. However, eventually desire must be done away with altogether, or one must learn how to defer it.
    4. Avoidance on the other hand must be reserved only for the moral sphere.
    5. This is because trying to avoid anything outside the moral sphere (thus unsusceptible to your moral choices) risks facing something contrary to your aversion.
    6. And this may cause disaster.

    You must direct yourself not to an abstract notion of perfection, but to what this perfection will bring – happiness, impassivity and a good flow of life.

    You must direct your practice to the purpose of being perfect or virtuous. Reading without practice is not progress, it is idiocy.

    1. Real progress consists in this: Setting as your goal in your practice never to fail in your desires, never experiencing what you avoid, and never to err in impulse and repulsion.
    2. Also, aim for perfection in being attentive and withholding judgment.
    3. Cultivate your character so it is in harmony with nature.
    4. So it is honest and trustworthy,
    5. …elevated and free,
    6. …unchecked and undeterred.
    7. Know that a person who exercises desire or aversion for things outside of his control cannot be free or faithful.
    8. And he will always be subject to those who have power over these things, which are external to him.

    You should put your principles in practice from the moment you get up in the morning, and in every situation you face. This is real progress.

    Always remember: “A student should expunge from his life sighs and sorrow, grief and disappointment, exclamations like ‘poor me’ and ‘alas’.”  These thoughts are the opposite of progress.

    Be like Socrates, not like Priam or Oedipus. “For what else are tragedies but the ordeals of people who have come to value externals, tricked out in tragic verse?”

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

    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

    Reason:

    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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