November 9

DO you not often see little dogs caressing and playing with each other, that you would say nothing could be more friendly; but, to learn what this friendship is, throw a bit of meat between them, and you will see. Do you too throw a bit of an estate betwixt you and your son, and you will see that he will quickly wish you underground, and you him: and then you, no doubt, on the other hand, will exclaim, What a son have I brought up! He would bury me alive! Throw in a pretty girl, and the old fellow and the young one will both fall in love with her; or let fame or danger intervene, the words of the father of Admetus will be yours:

You hold life dear; doth not your father too? 

Do you suppose that he did not love his own child when he was a little one? That he was not in agonies when he had a fever, and often wished to undergo that fever in his stead ? But, after all, when the trial comes home, you see what expressions he uses. Were not Eteocles and Polynices born of the same mother and of the same father? Were they not brought up, and did they not live and eat and sleep, together? Did not they kiss and fondle each other? So that anyone who saw them would have laughed at all the paradoxes which philosophers utter about love. And yet, when a kingdom, like a bit of meat, was thrown betwixt them, see what they say, and how eagerly they wish to kill each other.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book ii. §22. ¶1.

1 comment:

  1. Profound post. I have read some of Epictetus writings, but I am surprised almost everyday at the ease, beauty and wisdom of his teachings, and yet at the same time at the difficulty and challenge to actually live by his teachings in todays world. It is so easy to fall back into a more "common" way of thinking in todays world.