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Shouldn’t this blind man, and this deaf man, be executed?

Shouldn’t this blind man, and this deaf man, be executed?

“… what grounds do we have for being angry with anyone? We use lables like ‘thief’ and ‘robber’ in connection with them, but what do those words mean? They merely signify that people are confused about what is good and what is bad. So should we be angry with them, or should we pity them instead. Show them where they go wrong and you will find that they’ll reform. but unless they see it, they are stuck with nothing better than their usual opinion as their practical guide.

‘Well shouldn’t we do away with thieves and degenerates?’ Try putting the question this way: Shouldn’t we rid ourselves of people deceived about what’s most important, people who are blind – not in their faculty of vision, their ability to distinguish white from black – but in the moral capacity to distinguish good from bad? Put it that way and you will realize how inhumane your position is. It is as if you were to say, ‘Shouldn’t this blind man, and this deaf man, be executed?’

If you must be affected by other people’s misfortunes, show them pity instead of contempt. Drop this readiness to hate and take offence.

We get angry because we put too high a premium on things that they can steal.”
– Epictetus, Discourses, c. 108 AD

Citizens of the world and children of God

Citizens of the world and children of God

“If what philosopher’s say about the kinship of God and man is true, then the only logical step is to do as Socrates did, never replying to the question of where he was from with ‘I am Athenian,’ or ‘I am from Corinth,’ but always, ‘I am a citizen of the world.’
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But anyone who knows how the whole of the universe is administered knows that the first, all-inclusive state is the government composed of God and man, He appreciates it as the source of the seeds of being, descending upon his father, his father’s father – to every creature born and bred on earth, in fact, but to rational beings in particular, since they alone are entitled by nature to govern alongside God, by virtue of being connected with him through reason. So why not call ourselves citizens of the world and children of God? And why should we fear any human contingency?
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Let us go home, then, to be free, finally from the shackles that restrain us and weigh us down. Here we find robbers and thieves, and law-courts, and so-called despots who imagine that they wield some power over us precisely because of our body and its possessions. Allow us to show them that they have power over precisely no one.”
– Epictetus, Discourses, c. 108 AD

The morally right vs norms

The morally right vs norms

“Living in accordance with the norms, or laws, of society and one’s peers does not by any means equate to making the morally ‘right’ choice, and not seldom means doing the opposite. The morally right transcends laws and customs, but the understanding of it is difficult and can lead us down both bright and very dark paths, depending on how clear-sighted and honest one is.”

In the ashes all men are levelled

In the ashes all men are levelled

“One thing I know: all the works of mortal men lie under sentence of mortality; we live among things that are destined to perish.
Such, then, are the comforting reflections I would offer… A setback has often cleared the way for greater prosperity. Many things have fallen only to rise to more exalted heights.
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So the spirit must be trained to a realization and an acceptance of its lot. It must come to see that there is nothing fortune will shrink from, that she wields the same authority over emperor and empire alike and the same power over cities as over men. There is no ground for resentment in this.
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Resent a thing by all means if it represents an injustice decreed against you personally; but if this same constraint is binding on the lowest and the highest, then make your peace again with destiny, the destiny that unravels all ties… In the ashes all men are levelled. We’re born unequal, we die equal.”
– Seneca, in a letter to the boy who would become Emperor Nero