EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iii. §22. ¶14.
A CYNIC must besides have so much patience as to seem insensible and a stone to the vulgar. No one reviles, no one beats, no one affronts him; but he hath surrendered his body to be treated at pleasure by anyone who will. For he remembers that the inferior, in whatever instance it is the inferior, must be conquered by the superior, and the body is inferior to the multitude, the weaker to the stronger. He never therefore enters into a combat where he can be conquered, but immediately gives up what belongs to others; he doth not claim what is slavish and dependent; but, where choice and the use of the Appearances are concerned, you will see that he hath so many eyes, you would say Argos was blind to him. Is his assent ever precipitate? His pursuits ever rash? His desire ever disappointed? His aversion ever incurred? His intention ever fruitless? Is he ever querulous, ever dejected, ever envious? Here lies all his attention and application. With regard to other things, he snores supine. All is peace. There is no robber, no tyrant of the choice.
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We always have choices. When you hear yourself saying "I have no choice," think carefully of all of the choices you have already dismissed. What we are really saying is that the choice we desire is not available. But what of that? We have the choices we have at this moment. Chose therefore to act justly, wisely, compassionately, temperately and courageously. The choices of this moment are enough for each of us to exercise our virtue.ReplyDelete
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