NC Wieland

these things ought philosophers to study

philosophy snippets, reading diaryNC Wieland

"What then is to be done?     To make the best of what is in our power, and take the rest as it occurs... What resource have we then upon such occasions? Why, what else but to distinguish between what is ours, and what not ours; what is right, and what is wrong. I must die, and must I die groaning too? -- Be fettered. Must I be lamenting too? -- Exiled. And must what hinders me, then, but that I may go smiling, and cheerful, and serene? -- 'Betray a secret'. -- I will not betray it; for this is in my own power. -- 'Then I will fetter you'. -- What do you say, man? Fetter me? You will fetter my leg; but not Zeus himself can get the better of my free will. 'I will throw you into prison: I will behead that paltry body of yours'. Did I ever tell you, that I alone had a head not liable to be cut off? -- These things ought philosophers to study; these ought they daily to write; and in these to exercise themselves... This it is to have studied what ought to be studied; to have placed our desires and aversions above tyranny and above chance. I must die: if instantly, I will die instantly; if in a short time, I will dine first; and when the hour comes, then I will die. How? As becomes one who restores what is not his own."

Discourses of Epictetus, Book 1, Chapter 1, 'Of the things which are, and the things which are not in our own power. Trans. Elizabeth Carter and Thomas Wentworth Higginson.