August 12

CHASTISE your passions, that they may not punish you.


THERE are some punishments appointed, as by a law, for such as disobey the divine administration. Whoever shall esteem anything good, except what depends on choice, let him envy, let him covet, let him flatter, let him be full of perturbation. Whoever esteems anything else to be evil, let him grieve, let him mourn, let him lament, let him be wretched. And yet, though thus severely punished, we cannot desist.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iii. §11. ¶1.

WHENSOEVER thou findest thyself, that thou art in danger of a relapse, and that thou art not able to master and overcome those difficulties and temptations that present themselves in thy present station: get thee into any private corner, where thou mayest be better able. Or if that will not serve, forsake even thy life rather. But so that it be not in passion, but in a plain voluntary modest way: this being the only commendable action of thy whole life, that thus thou art departed, or this having been the main work and business of thy whole life, that thou mightest thus depart.



  1. We must learn to live simply. A life-long work of simplification of lifestyle, wants and passions. To live lightly with our earth and fellow man through virtue and for virtue's sake.

  2. In some ways, vicious behaviour contains its own punishments. The greedy and grasping will often be disappointed and abased. The cruel and biting will be shunned and mocked. Yet, despite this, we persist in our vices! Why? Because we still believe that the fulfillment of our lives lies outside of us! It is in our own virtue, our justice, courage, temperance, wisdom and comapassion, where our true selves lie. - Inspired by Epictetus

  3. The question is, of course, how one can reconcile the dreadful and many injustices perpetrated by man without the feeling that every action necessarily has moral consequences that will give them tit for tat? For, would it not be quite outrageous if evil were allowed to get away with total impunity? Most rational people, I think, will have that moral gut-feeling telling them that there is indeed a sense that helps oneself and the whole Body of Life to flourish or to simply be destroyed...

    However, and despite the fact that we all commited errors in our lives - of which the worst are moral faults - it seems that Nature does't sanction all of us individually. For, as Seneca says, if She were to punish all offenders, She would have no one left to command... This sounds like a good reason why we ought to focus each on our own capacity to correct and to live in accordance with the will of Nature and to stop looking for evil outside of our own choices.