Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XXIV.: HOW WE OUGHT TO STRUGGLE WITH DIFFICULTIES. - The Works of Epictetus. Consisting of His Discourses, in Four Books, The Enchiridion, and Fragments
CHAPTER XXIV.: HOW WE OUGHT TO STRUGGLE WITH DIFFICULTIES. - Epictetus, The Works of Epictetus. Consisting of His Discourses, in Four Books, The Enchiridion, and Fragments [100 AD]
The Works of Epictetus. Consisting of His Discourses, in Four Books, The Enchiridion, and Fragments. A Translation from the Greek based on that of Elizabeth Carter, by Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1865).
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- The Discourses of Epictetus.
- Arrian to Lucius Gellius Wisheth All Happiness.
- Book I.
- Chapter I.: Of the Things Which Are, and the Things Which Are Not In Our Own Power.
- Chapter II.: In What Manner, Upon Every Occasion, to Preserve Our Character.
- Chapter III.: How, From the Doctrine That God Is the Father of Mankind, We May Proceed to Its Consequences.
- Chapter IV: Of Progress.
- Chapter V.: Concerning the Academics. †
- Chapter VI.: Of Providence.
- Chapter VII.: Of the Use of the Forms of Right Reasoning.
- Chapter VIII.: That Logical Subtleties Are Not Safe to the Uninstructed.
- Chapter IX.: How From the Doctrine of Our Relationship to God, We Are to Deduce Its Consequences.
- Chapter X.: Concerning Those Who Seek Preferment At Rome.
- Chapter XI.: Of Natural Affection.
- Chapter XII.: Of Contentment.
- Chapter XIII.: How Everything May Be Performed to the Divine Acceptance.
- Chapter XIV.: That All Things Are Under the Divine Supervision.
- Chapter XV.: What Philosophy Promises.
- Chapter XVI.: Of Providence.
- Chapter XVII.: That the Art of Reasoning Is Necessary.
- Chapter XVIII.: That We Ought Not to Be Angry With the Erring.
- Chapter XIX.: Of the Right Treatment of Tyrants.
- Chapter XX.: In What Manner Reason Contemplates Itself.
- Chapter XXI.: Of the Desire of Admiration.
- Chapter XXII.: Of General Principles.
- Chapter XXIII.: Against Epicurus.
- Chapter XXIV.: How We Ought to Struggle With Difficulties.
- Chapter XXV.: On the Same Subject.
- Chapter XXVI.: What the Rule of Life Is.
- Chapter XXVII.: Of the Varied Appearances of Things to the Mind, and What Means Are At Hand By Which to Regulate Them.
- Chapter XXVIII.: That We Ought Not to Be Angry With Mankind. What Things Are Little, What Great, Among Men.
- Chapter XXIX.: Of Courage.
- Chapter XXX.: Weapons Ready For Difficult Occasions.
- Book II.
- Chapter I.: That Courage Is Not Inconsistent With Caution.
- Chapter II.: Of Tranquillity.
- Chapter III.: Concerning Such As Recommend Persons to the Philosophers
- Chapter IV.: Concerning a Man Who Had Been Guilty of Adultery.
- Chapter V.: How Nobleness of Mind May Be Consistent With Prudence.
- Chapter VI.: Of Circumstances. *
- Chapter VII.: Of Divination.
- Chapter VIII.: Wherein Consists the Essence of Good.
- Chapter IX.: That Some Persons, Failing to Fulfil What the Character of a Man Implies, Assume That of a Philosopher.
- Chapter X.: How We May Infer the Duties of Life From Its Nominal Functions.
- Chapter XI.: The Beginning of Philosophy.
- Chapter XII.: Of Disputation.
- Chapter XIII.: Of Anxiety.
- Chapter XIV.: Concerning Naso.
- Chapter XV.: Concerning Those Who Obstinately Persist In Whatever They Have Determined.
- Chapter XVI.: That We Do Not Study to Make Use of the Established Principles Concerning Good and Evil.
- Chapter XVII.: How to Apply General Principles to Particular Cases.
- Chapter XVIII.: How the Semblances of Things Are to Be Combated.
- Chapter XIX.: Concerning Those Who Embrace Philosophy Only In Words.
- Chapter XX.: Concerning the Epicureans and Academics.
- Chapter XXI.: Of Inconsistency.
- Chapter XXII.: Of Friendship.
- Chapter XXIII.: Of Eloquence.
- Chapter XXIV.: Concerning a Person Whom He Treated With Disregard.
- Chapter XXV.: That Logic Is Necessary.
- Chapter XXVI.: What Is the Test of Error.
- Book III.
- Chapter I.: Of Personal Adornment.
- Chapter II.: In What a Well-trained Man Should Exercise Himself; and That We Neglect the Principal Things.
- Chapter III.: What Is the Chief Concern of a Good Man; and In What We Chiefly Ought to Train Ourselves.
- Chapter IV.: Concerning One Who Made Himself Improperly Conspicuous In the Theatre.
- Chapter V.: Concerning Those Who Plead Sickness.
- Chapter VI.: Miscellaneous.
- Chapter VII.: Concerning a Certain Governor Who Was an Epicurean.
- Chapter VIII.: How We Are to Exercise Ourselves Against the Semblances of Things.
- Chapter IX.: Concerning a Certain Orator, Who Was Going to Rome On a Lawsuit.
- Chapter X.: In What Manner We Ought to Bear Sickness.
- Chapter XI.: Miscellaneous.
- Chapter XII.: Of Training.
- Chapter XIII.: What Solitude Is; and What a Solitary Person.
- Chapter XIV.: Miscellaneous.
- Chapter XV. *: That Everything Is to Be Undertaken With Circumspection.
- Chapter XVI.: That Caution Should Be Used, As to Personal Familiarity.
- Chapter XVII.: Of Providence.
- Chapter XVIII.: That We Ought Not to Be Alarmed, By Any News That Is Brought Us.
- Chapter XIX.: What Is the Comparative Condition of the Philosopher, and of the Crowd.
- Chapter XX.: That Some Advantage May Be Gained From Every Outward Circumstance.
- Chapter XXI.: Concerning Those Who Readily Set Up For Sophists.
- Chapter XXII.: Of the Cynic Philosophy.
- Chapter XXIII.: Concerning Such As Read and Dispute Ostentatiously.
- Chapter XXIV.: That We Ought Not to Be Affected By Things Not In Our Own Power.
- Chapter XXV.: Concerning Those Who Waver In Their Purpose.
- Chapter XXVI.: Concerning Those Who Are In Dread of Want.
- Book IV.
- Chapter I.: Of Freedom.
- Chapter II.: Of Complaisance.
- Chapter III.: What Things Are to Be Exchanged For Others.
- Chapter IV.: Concerning Those Who Earnestly Desire a Life of Repose.
- Chapter V.: Concerning the Quarrelsome and Ferocious.
- Chapter VI.: Concerning Those Who Are Annoyed At Being Pitied.
- Chapter VII.: Of Fearlessness.
- Chapter VIII.: Concerning Such As Hastily Assume the Philosophic Dress.
- Chapter IX.: Concerning a Person Who Had Grown Immodest.
- Chapter X.: What Things We Are to Despise, and What Chiefly to Value.
- Chapter XI.: Of Purity.
- Chapter XII.: Of Taking Pains.
- Chapter XIII.: Concerning Such As Are Too Communicative.
- The Enchiridion, Or Manual.
- Part I
- From StobÆus, Antonius, and Maximus. *
- The Following Fragments Are Ascribed Jointly to Epictetus and Other Authors.
- The Following Fragments Are Omitted By Mr. Upton; But As They Stand Under the Name of Arrian, and Seem to Be In the Spirit of Epictetus, They Are Added Here.
HOW WE OUGHT TO STRUGGLE WITH DIFFICULTIES.
DIFFICULTIES are things that show what men are. For the future, in case of any difficulty, remember, that God, like a gymnastic trainer, has pitted you against a rough antagonist. For what end? That you may be an Olympic conqueror; and this cannot be without toil. No man, in my opinion, has a more profitable difficulty on his hands than you have; provided you will but use it, as an athletic champion uses his antagonist.
Suppose we were to send you as a scout to Rome. But no one ever sends a timorous scout, who, when he only hears a noise, or sees a shadow, runs back frightened, and says, “The enemy is at hand.” So now, if you should come and tell us: “Things are in a fearful way at Rome; death is terrible, banishment terrible, calumny terrible, poverty terrible; run, good people, the enemy is at hand”; — we will answer: Get you gone, and prophesy for yourself; our only fault is, that we have sent such a scout. Diogenes was sent a scout before you, but he told us other tidings. He says that death is no evil, for it is nothing base; that calumny is only the noise of madmen. And what account did this spy give us of pain, of pleasure, of poverty? He says, that to be naked is better than a purple robe; to sleep upon the bare ground, the softest bed; and gives a proof of all he says by his own courage, tranquillity, and freedom; and, moreover, by a healthy and robust body. “There is no enemy near,” he says. “All is profound peace.” How so, Diogenes? “Look upon me,” he says. “Am I hurt? Am I wounded? Have I run away from any one?” This is a scout worth having. But you come, and tell us one thing after another. Go back and look more carefully, and without fear.
“What shall I do, then?”
What do you do when you come out of a ship? Do you take away with you the rudder, or the oars? What do you take, then? Your own, your bundle and your flask. So, in the present case, if you will but remember what is your own, you will not covet what belongs to others. If some tyrant bids you put off your consular robe? “Well, I am in my equestrian robe.” Put off that too. “I have only my coat.” Put off that too. “Well, I am naked.” I am not yet satisfied. “Then e’en take my whole body. If I can throw off a paltry body, am I any longer afraid of a tyrant?”
“But such a one will not leave me his heir.” What, then, have I forgotten, that such things are never really mine? How then do we call them ours? As with a bed, in an inn. If the landlord, when he dies, leaves you the bed, well and good; but if to another, it will be his, and you will seek one elsewhere; and, consequently, if you do not find one, you will sleep upon the ground; only sleep fearlessly and profoundly, and remember, that tragedies find their theme among the rich, and kings, and tyrants. No poor man fills any other place in one, than as part of the chorus; whereas kings begin, indeed, with prosperity: “Crown the palace”; — but continue about the third and fourth act: “Alas, Citheron! Why didst thou receive me!” Where are thy crowns, wretch; where is thy diadem? Cannot thy guards help thee?
Whenever you are brought into any such society, think then that you meet a tragic actor, or rather, not an actor, but Œdipus himself. “But such a one is happy. He walks with a numerous train.” Well; I too walk with a numerous train.
But remember the principal thing; that the door is open. Do not be more fearful than children; but as they, when the play does not please them, say, “I will play no longer”; so do you, in the same case, say, “I will play no longer”; and go; but, if you stay, do not complain.