July 17

AT the conceit and apprehension that such and such a one hath sinned, thus reason with thyself, What do I know whether this be a sin indeed, as it seems to be? But if it be, what do I know but that he himself hath already condemned himself for it? And that is all one as if a man should scratch and tear his own face, an object of compassion rather than of anger.


WHEN any person doth ill by you, or speaks ill of you, remember that he acts or speaks from a supposition of its being his duty. Now, it is not possible that he should follow what appears right to you, but what appears so to himself. Therefore, if he judges from a wrong appearance, he is the person hurt, since he too is the person deceived. For if anyone should suppose a true proposition to be false, the proposition is not hurt, but he who is deceived about it.



  1. Don't let anyone else's opinion of you or expectation of you effect your opinion of yourself. You can only control your own actions and motivations NOT how others perceive you.

  2. I think it is important to remember that anyone who opposes you, does so from their own perspective. To them, they are doing right. To be truly wise then, is to understand their position so fully that you can see where the attacks are coming from. You don't need to agree, but to understand may lead to better communication.

  3. I have to say that this is one of the most important things I've learned through Stoicism: the dumb actions and words of others only hurts me when I ALLOW them to. Allowing those things to injure me is in turn an example of wrong-headedness. In those instances, I CHOOSE to allow these externals into my head.

    Great quotes!

  4. We should view people who have a skewed view or judgement with pity rather than contempt. This is a difficult thing to do but a necessary one in order to live with equanimity. We cannot control others, including their viewpoint or values. We can only live to the best of our values and keep plodding on Life's dusty road. To thine own self be true...

  5. "When someone does you ill, or speaks ill of you, remember that he does so because it appears right to him. His beliefs injure him as well."

    If we are to address most of the bad turns done to us, we need to remember that the perpetrators feel justified. Most people believe in right and wrong, and when pressed they will attempt to prove how their actions do not breach the right way, or that they have a reason for making an exception. We, as Stoics, need to remember, and if the opportunity is right to remind others, that we strive not for the good, but for the best, the most perfect behaviour we can achieve at any given moment.

  6. Well put Michel and Pamela. I couldn't agree more. This is the same principle as Plato's notion that no one does evil willingly or knowingly.
    I tend to agree. As you've already said, folks do what they do because they feel justified/right. If given the opportunity, enlighten them, so to speak. Regardless, bare it as we should: with indifference.