SHOW me one who is sick, and happy; in danger, and happy; dying, and happy; exiled, and happy; disgraced, and happy. Show him me, for, by heaven, I long to see a Stoic. But (you will say) you have not one perfectly formed. Show me, then, one who is forming, one who is approaching towards this character. Do me this favour. Do not refuse an old man a sight which he hath never yet seen. Let any of you show me a human soul, willing to have the same sentiments with those of God, not to accuse either God or man, not to be disappointed of its desire, or incur its aversion, not to be angry, not to be envious, not to be jealous, in a word, willing from a man to become a God, and, in this poor mortal body, aiming to have fellowship with Jupiter. Show him to me. But you cannot. Why, then, do you impose upon yourselves, and play tricks with others?
EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book ii. §19. ¶3.
Summary: "Show me a true Stoic; one who is sick, in danger, dying, disgraced, yet still happy; not angry, envious, nor jealous."ReplyDelete
To be able to call oneself a Stoic, according to Epictetus, we must go beyond merely parroting wise sayings, but must daily be striving to improve and change. If we consciously reject correct behaviour and principles in favour of convenience, acceptance and vengefulness, we not only display the weakness of our character, but mock with our actions the very teachings we revere with out lips.