April 8

OBSERVE yourselves in your actions, and you will find of what sect you are. You will find that most of you are Epicureans, a few Peripatetics, and those but loose ones. For, by what action will you prove that you think virtue equal, and even superior, to all other things? Show me a Stoic if you have one. Where? Or how should you? You can show, indeed, a thousand who repeat the Stoic reasonings. But do they repeat the Epicurean worse! Are they not just as perfect in the Peripatetic? Who, then, is a Stoic? As we call that a Phidian statue, which is formed according to the art of Phidias, so show me some one person, formed according to the principles which he professes.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book ii. §19. ¶3.


  1. Practice what you preach... so to speak. How many of us who aspire to live a Stoic life actually follow through on a daily basis? I know I am lacking correct interpretations and responses on a day to day basis. Well we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and resolve to start all over again.

  2. Sometimes we are Stoics, most times we are not. We may comfort ourselves with "But I am just a student", a Prokopton. But we only do so to distance ourselves from the truth that we, all of us, fall short of the potential for virtue that is within us. We should recognize our failings, but never embrace them.

  3. Observe your own actions, and you will learn what you really believe. You may repeat the Stoic philosophy but do your action prove that you think virtue superior to all other things? Are you truly formed according to the principles you profess? Don't tell me you are a Stoic, show me. - Lessons from Epictetus