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  • kcantekin 8:25 am on May 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , preconceptions   

    On Preconceptions 

    Epictetus – Discourses Book 1
    I.22. On Preconceptions

    Everyone has preconceptions. And the essence of these preconceptions are shared by all people. It is from the application of these preconceptions to particular cases that conflicts arise.

    For instance, all people have similar preconceptions as to what holiness, or justice, or audacity are, but they reach conflicting conclusions as to what is holy, just, brave, or audacious.

    Education teaches people to apply natural preconceptions to particular cases in accordance with nature, and to distinguish what is in our power from what is not in our power.

    We should assign goodness to things that are in our power and not to things outside it. It follows that our health, property or family are not good, but nor are they evil. If we classify things outside our power as good, then it will be impossible to remain happy when these things are taken from us by misfortune. Also, if these things are good, our natural inclination for self-interest will force us to pursue these things no matter what, and being outside our power and control, we will unavoidably be subjected to the power of others.

    There is another disadvantage in applying the designation of good to externals: When we face a misfortune and lose these ‘goods’, we risk blaming God, as we might start doubting whether he looks after us. And this might push us to be impious and finally hate God.

  • kcantekin 8:05 am on February 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , preconceptions,   

    How a person can preserve their proper character in any situation 

    Epictetus – Discourses Book 1
    I.2. How a person can preserve their proper character in any situation

    As a rule,

    1. Humans can tolerate what is reasonable, and
    2. They cannot tolerate what is unreasonable.

    Education is needed to align our preconceptions of reasonable and unreasonable with nature.

    But this alignment requires knowing your own individual nature, as much as it requires appraising the value of externals.

    A person’s character, and its value, can only be estimated by the person himself. In taking account of the valuations of others’, which are externals, we risk mistaking the value of our own character.

    1. Only a person himself can know how to keep with his own character.
    2. Only a person himself can realise his own strengths.
    3. So only I can know what is in keeping with my own Character.
    4. Only I can realise my own strengths.

    No one becomes a hero overnight, one has to train many winters. But not everyone has in his individual nature what takes to be a hero.

    This is inconsequential. This should not keep us from trying to do our best, according to our nature. “We do not abandon any discipline for despair of ever being the best in it.”

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