THEY are thieves and pilferers.
What do you mean by thieves and pilferers? They are in an error concerning good and evil. Ought you, then, to be angry, or to pity them? Do but show them their error, and you will see that they will amend their faults; but, if they do not see it, the principles they form are to them their supreme rule.
What, then, ought not this thief and this adulterer to be destroyed?
By no means [ask that]; but say rather, “Ought not he to be destroyed who errs and is deceived in things of the greatest importance; blinded, not in the sight that distinguishes white from black, but in the judgment that distinguishes good from evil?" By stating your question thus you see how inhuman it is, and just as if you would say, "Ought not this blind, or that deaf, man to be destroyed?" For, if the greatest hurt be a deprivation of the most valuable things, and the most valuable thing to every one is a right judgment in choosing; when any one is deprived of this, why, after all, are you angry? You ought not to be affected, man, contrary to nature, by the ills of another. Pity him rather. Do not be angry; nor say, as many do, What! shall these execrable and odious wretches dare to act thus? Whence have you so suddenly learnt wisdom? Because we admire those things which such people take from us. Do not admire your clothes, and you will not be angry with the thief.
EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iii. §5. ¶2