“Of things some are in our power, and others are not… examine it by the rules which you possess, and by this first and chiefly, whether it relates to the things which are in our power or to the things which are not in our power: and if it relates to anything which is not in our power, be ready to say, that it does not concern you.”
~ Epictetus from The Enchiridion
First, let’s get clear on how you say the guy’s name: You pronounce it “epic-tee-tus.” Now that we’ve got *that* squared away, we’re ready to roll. :)
Epictetus was born a slave in modern day Turkey in 55 AD. He later gained his freedom and became one of the leading Stoic philosophers of his era. As you know if you’ve read my Notes on Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations and Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic, I’m a huge fan of Stoicism. Those guys rock.
Practically speaking, there a number of translations of Epictetus’ Enchiridion (or Manual)—a book transcribed by one of his leading students named Arrian. I went with the classic 1888 translation by George Long for the Note. It’s a little rougher than the great modern/more readable adaptations by, say, Sharon Lebell or Gay Hendricks, but I dig it and wanted to keep it old-school. (And you can download it for free on the site if you like!)
Alrighty then. Let’s jump in.
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