September 23

WHAT behaviour, then, is assigned you in return? If you consider yourself as a wolf — to bite again, to throw more stones. But if you ask the question as a man, examine your treasure; see what faculties you have brought into the world with you. Are they dispositions to ferocity? to revenge? When is a horse miserable? When he is deprived of his natural faculties. Not when he cannot crow, but when he cannot run. And a dog? not when he cannot fly, but when he cannot hunt. Is not a man, then, also unhappy in the same manner? Not he who cannot strangle lions, (for he hath received no faculties for this purpose from nature) but who hath lost his rectitude of mind, and fidelity. Such a one is the person who ought to be publicly lamented for the misfortunes into which he is fallen.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iii. §5. ¶2.


  1. This seems to work on multiple levels. From a macro human point of view, it seems that our special property is to reason, 'rectitude of mind and fidelity.' That we should pursue and strengthen this capacity is our life's overall ambition, or in the vernacular, Never stop learning or thinking. But on a personal level, each of us are built with talents, potential, which will provide us the path the eudaimonia if we seek to fulfill the promise of our individual natures.

  2. So this is the challenge in our modern world. To find out what makes us truly ourselves and to do that. So many of us are birds trying to be horses or horses trying to be dogs...

    What makes us uniquely us and how do we bring that to the world? This bears more thought and contemplation!