July 30

IF you are hasty, man, let it be your exercise to bear ill language patiently ; and when you are affronted, not to be angry.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iii. §12. ¶2

BUT if this be done for mere ostentation, it belongs to one who looks out and hunts for something external, and seeks for spectators to exclaim, "What a great man!" Hence Apollonius said well: “If you have a mind to exercise yourself for your own benefit, when you are choking with heat, take a little cold water in your mouth and spit it out again, and tell nobody."

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iii. §12. ¶5

AN angry countenance is much against nature, and it is oftentimes the proper countenance of them that are at the point of death.



  1. Ouch. This hits home.
    I'm by 'nature' a hasty person. I find that I have to constantly remind myself to slow down and relax.

    This is a great selection. What so endears me to Stoicism is this notion that we can be better than we are rather than 'i'm ok, you're ok'. I know that it can be interpreted in a positive way, but that philosophy tends to make people lazy in their own personal development/evolution.



  2. I focused on a different part of passage.

    "Are your acts mere ostentation? Are you one who looks out and hunts for something external, and seeks for spectators to exclaim, "What a great man!"?"

    Why am I doing the things that I am doing? Am I looking for the praise and recognition of others to validate my worth? How far would I therefore go if the crowd would love me if only I would do thus and so? I must be driven internally, from virtues and right judgements.

  3. Excellent point. I think I'm far more driven by externals than I care to admit. Far LESS than earlier in my life, but far MORE than I want.

    Great point Michel.


  4. "An angry countenance is oftentimes the countenance of those who have already one foot in the grave."

    What a great observation, hahaha!

    For one gets angry only when putting faith in externals, which is the fastest way to deny life to what is the essence of one's true nature: the will to change only that which is in our power and the will to accept all other things in their proper season...