Judgment and Destiny
Epictetus’ views on how a person should live as a good human are very clearly stated in his handbook. He explores many different values and virtues throughout his writing. The lesson of virtue is one he explores in great deal and ties to many other ideas in his work. His views on how we judge ourselves, our possessions and others are eloquently written throughout his virtues. Judgment can be a dominating factor in one’s life, which Epictetus seems to appreciate and talk a great deal about. He uses the governing body of self-judgment and our judgment of others to express his ideas of how humans should live a good life. An important value that Epictetus discusses is destiny and nature and how humans should appreciate their role in each other lives. He ties the ideas of nature and destiny to his views on how a person should use judgment. “What upsets people is not things themselves but their judgments about the things.” (pg. 13) Epictetus is stating that our pre-conceived feelings about something is what brings us anger, fear, relief, or joy, and not the actual something itself. For example he uses death. Death for most people brings about feelings of dread, fear, and sadness. But what do we know about death, we have not died, so we do not know what it truly brings. This may be countered with statements like, “It was dreadful when my father died, I felt so much sadness.” Epictetus says we feel sad because we judge death as a negative life experience, when in reality it may be the most joyful thing for the person who has passed on. He wants us to allow ourselves to take blame for our feelings and emotions. If someone makes a comment on how ugly someone’s shoes are and that statement makes that person sad, that is their fault. The statement about their shoes made them sad because they let it, because they assumed the person who said it was being hurtful. Epictetus says to blame one’s own...
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