IT is better to offend seldom (owning it when we do), and act often wisely, than to say we seldom err, and offend frequently.
EPICTETUS. FRAGMENTS. 3.
BUT if it be somewhat that is amiss in thine own disposition, that doth grieve thee, mayest thou not rectify thy moral tenets and opinions. But if it grieve thee, that thou dost not perform that which seemeth unto thee right and just, why dost not thou choose rather to perform it than to grieve? But somewhat that is stronger than thyself doth hinder thee. Let it not grieve thee then, if it be not thy fault that the thing is not performed. Yea but it is a thing of that nature, as that thy life is not worth the while, except it may be performed. If it be so, upon condition that thou be kindly and lovingly disposed towards all men, thou mayest be gone. For even then, as much as at any time, art thou in a very good estate of performance, when thou dost die in charity with those, that are an obstacle unto thy performance.
MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book viii. 47.
I really like the quote from Epictetus. I think that it's a misconception that Stoics just don't care what others think of them because it's out of their sphere of choice/control. While this may be technically true, it's NOT true that how we treat others is of indifference. As a matter of fact, while we may not have control of externals, it's our duty to treat them in a certain manner: to treat them in a manner consistent with the 4 cardinal virtues.ReplyDelete
If our actions are constantly offending reasonable people, we're more than likely not living consistent with nature. I find this to be a very wise way of evaluating our actions.
Thanks for the great quote!
It is better to live with Charity and a lifelong goal that is never attained than to have achieved this lifelong goal but live in enmity with your fellow man. It is the journey that truly is important not the final destination. What better to have said at your funeral than "that they lived well with their fellow man"?ReplyDelete