February 28, 2008
Stoic Commandments from Epictetus
❖ Thou shalt honor the blessings that the Lord gives you. ❖ Thou shalt live with only necessities, and avoid luxuries. ❖ Thou shalt not attempt to control things that you are powerless to. ❖ Thou shalt avoid boasting about one’s life and journeys. ❖ Thou shalt not hold grudges against those who do wrong against you.
There are many things in this life that we cannot control, and according to the famous philosopher, Epictetus, we are to accept this fact and live our lives to the fullest. From his works, Discourses and Enchiridion, we learn that Epictetus lived a “Stoic” way of life—one in which everything happens for a reason, and for our own ultimate good. Epictetus viewed life as a play, in which we are the actors, and a powerful God is the director. According to the text, Epictetus believed that one should strive to live by certain “commandments” for life, and that one should accept his own life and live it the best that he can.
Evidence supporting each of these “commandments” for life can be found within the works of Epictetus. In Discourses, the message that is presented encourages man to be thankful to God “for sight, and hearing, and indeed for life itself,” and it provides many examples of how the Will controls all things. Epictetus prompts questions for the reader, and supports his theory by explaining that all things are out of our control, and that God is ultimately in charge. In Enchiridion, we are encouraged to honor the blessings that the Lord has given to us. It is said that everything that we have belongs to Him, and that we should take care of it, but not as our own.
Another important concept that Epictetus encouraged is that we should avoid luxuries in life, and live only by necessity. He valued and supported this idea because it was how he himself lived. As mentioned before, Epictetus lived according to Stoic principles, with only...
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