The Enchiridion

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“The Enchiridion,” by Epictetus is a very interesting piece. This piece emphasizes the different aspects of our lives that we do have control of contrasted to the parts of our lives that we do not have any control of. “Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.” (Epictetus 1) This quote lists and incorporates some parts of life that we, as human, have domain over and some aspects that are completely out of our reach; they are inevitable. This piece also describes thinking about the consequences of your own actions before deciding what to do in a situation. “In every affair consider what proceeds and follows, and then undertake it. Otherwise you will begin with spirit; but not having thought of the consequences, when some of them appear you will shamefully desist.” (Epictetus 29) This is where the concept “think before you leap” develops from. Epictetus understood that people need to think through an idea before they pursue it. I believe this is a very wise concept that shows you that you do have control over your own actions. Chapter 18, page 546 of “The Archetypes of Wisdom,” by Douglas J. Soccio states that, “But we do not need philosophy only as a counterweight to…philosophical assumptions….We need it to help us think through our own intuitive ideas, to criticize them and to figure out which ones we are willing to hold on to.” As to my own understanding, this quote helps explain to me the point Epictetus was trying to get across. Its helps readers understand how important it is to think about the consequences of your actions before you proceed to do them. You need to critique your own thoughts in order to become successful; this is something you do have control over. Epictetus also uses “The Enchiridion,” to explain the concept of fate. “Don't demand that things...
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