January 4

THIS is the nature of our proceedings. As in a crowded fair the horses and cattle are brought to be sold, and the greatest part of men come either to buy or sell; but there are a few who come only to look at the fair, and inquire how it is carried on; and why in that manner; and who appointed it; and for what purpose: thus, in the fair of the world, some, like cattle, trouble themselves about nothing but fodder. For as to all you who busy yourselves about possessions and farms and domestics and public posts, these things are nothing else but mere fodder. But there are some few men among the crowd who are fond of looking on and considering, “What then, after all, is the world? Who governs it? Hath it no governor? How is it possible, when neither a city nor a house can remain ever so short a time without someone to govern and take care of it, that this vast and beautiful system should be administered in a fortuitous and disorderly manner? Is there then a governor? What sort of one is he? And how doth he govern; and what are we who are under him; And for what designed ? Have we some connection and relation to him; or none?" In this manner are the few affected; and apply themselves only to view the fair and then depart.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book ii. §14, ¶4.


  1. Some of us are like cattle, interested only in our fodder. What do I mean? Property, possessions, position, power, these are all merely fodder. Instead, we must ask ourselves "What are all of these things? What is truly good and worthwhile? What am I made to do?" Let us not lead an 'unexamined life.' - Lessons from Epictetus

  2. Thank you, Michel for your work of posting these quotes. I use them for my daily readings.