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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

On Guard Against Ourselves

Dr. Keith Seddon has recently posted an interesting quote from the Stoic philosopher Epictetus, from Handbook 48...

[1] The condition and character of the uneducated person is this: they neverlook for benefit or harm to come from themselves, but from external things.The condition and character of the philosopher is this: they look for everybenefit and harm to come from themselves. [2] The signs that someone ismaking progress are these: they blame no one, they praise no one, they findfault with no one, they accuse no one, they never say anything of themselvesas though they amount to something or know anything. When they are impededor hindered, they blame themselves. If someone praises them, they laughinwardly at the person who praises them, and if anyone censures them, theymake no defence. They go about as if they were sick, cautious not to disturbwhat is healing before they are fully recovered. [3] They have ridthemselves of all desires, and have transferred their aversion to only thosethings contrary to nature that are in our power. They have no strongpreferences in regard to anything. If they appear foolish or ignorant, theydo not care. In a word, they keep guard over themselves as though they aretheir own enemy lying in wait.

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