September 3

WHAT then, would you have it appear and bear testimony against itself? What means this? If the case be thus, that which serves may be superior to that to which it is subservient; the horse to the rider; the dog to the hunter; the instrument to the musician; or servants to the king. What is it that makes use of all the rest? Choice. What takes care of all? Choice. What destroys the whole man, at one time by hunger; at another by a rope or a precipice? Choice. Hath man, then, anything stronger than this? And how is it possible, that what is liable to restraint should be stronger than what is not? What hath a natural power of hindering the faculty of sight? Both choice, and what depends on choice. And it is the same of the faculties of hearing and speech. And what hath a natural power of hindering choice? Nothing independent on itself, only its own perversion. Therefore choice alone is vice; choice alone is virtue.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book ii. §23. ¶1.


  1. Choice alone is vice. Choice alone is virtue. This is why knowing the virtues is so important. We need to know what is good in order to make virtuous choices. The choices that we make are the building blocks of our lives.

  2. What can prevent you from making a choice? Nothing. Choice alone is vice; choice alone is virtue.

    It is in our choices, the exercise of our will, that we express our innermost character. Not our intelligence, for this is subject to our will. Not our physical strength, or our talents, or even our emotions. These are all subject to our will. But the rule of the will is not a huge hammer to beat down the undesired response, it is a small nudge, a single drop of intent. Initially, the exercise of our will may be negligible, but overtime and repeated use, it can grow to a torrent of action on which we are carried along, or swept away.

    Here is the warning. Be careful what you chose, for you are either feeding the torrent, or turning back the tide.

  3. Be careful with your daily choices, for you are either feeding the torrent or turning aside the flood. The will is not a dam to stop the rivers of undesired habits, it is a single drop of intent that diverts a stream of thought. Daily choices may be negligible, but over time and repeated use they will grow to a torrent of habit on which we sail or by which we are swept away. It is by choice, the exercise of our will, that we create and express our innermost character. - Inspired by Epictetus