The Discourses

The Discourses

Epictetus / Jun 17, 2021

The Discourses For centuries Stoicism was virtually the unofficial religion of the Roman world The stress on endurance self restraint and power of the will to withstand calamity can often seem coldhearted It is E

  • Title: The Discourses
  • Author: Epictetus
  • ISBN: 9780460873123
  • Page: 229
  • Format: Paperback
  • For centuries, Stoicism was virtually the unofficial religion of the Roman world The stress on endurance, self restraint, and power of the will to withstand calamity can often seem coldhearted It is Epictetus, a lame former slave exiled by Emperor Domitian, who offers by far the most precise and humane version of Stoic ideals The Discourses, assembled by his pupil ArriaFor centuries, Stoicism was virtually the unofficial religion of the Roman worldThe stress on endurance, self restraint, and power of the will to withstand calamity can often seem coldhearted It is Epictetus, a lame former slave exiled by Emperor Domitian, who offers by far the most precise and humane version of Stoic ideals The Discourses, assembled by his pupil Arrian, catch him in action, publicly setting out his views on ethical dilemmas.Committed to communicating with the broadest possible audience, Epictetus uses humor, imagery conversations and homely comparisons to put his message across The results are perfect universal justice and calm indifference in the face of pain The most comprehensive edition available with an introduction, notes, selected criticism, glossary, and chronology of Epictetus life and times.

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    About "Epictetus"

      • Epictetus

        Epictetus was a Greek Stoic philosopher He was probably born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia present day Pamukkale, Turkey , and lived in Rome until his exile to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece, where he lived most of his life and died His teachings were noted down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses Philosophy, he taught, is a way of life and not just a theoretical discipline To Epictetus, all external events are determined by fate, and are thus beyond our control, but we can accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately Individuals, however, are responsible for their own actions which they can examine and control through rigorous self discipline Suffering arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable, or from neglecting what is within our power As part of the universal city that is the universe, human beings have a duty of care to all fellow humans The person who followed these precepts would achieve happiness.


    1. Stoicism offers a guide to happiness and serenity in life, and Epictetus was, perhaps, the greatest Stoic philosopher. First and foremost, Epictetus was a deeply religious man. He was convinced that God created the world according to Reason, and that human beings, in so far as we have the gift of rational thought, can attain happiness by living according to our own nature--which meant for Epictetus according to reason.But what does it mean to live "according to nature" or reason? For Epictetus, [...]

    2. THE MORAL DISCOURSES. (?). Epictetus. ****. This was the translation by Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, and also included The Enchiridion and various Fragments, as published by Everyman’s Library in 1910 and later reprinted in 1913. This translation was the benchmark for this work for the longest time. Since then there have been many more accessible translations using contemporary language. Aside from that, I have to start off by telling you that this is a browsing book. Each discourse stands on its ow [...]

    3. Epictetus is one of the great spiritual minds of human history. His ideas are very similar to Buddhist ones, promoting a doctrine of nonattachment, acting morally and living simply. He differs in a few key ways, however. Like all Stoics, he imagines that death is the end of our consciousness in a very permanent way. He also stresses that our actions, if anything, are the only things in our power and that we should simply accept changes of fortune by learning not to desire anything but our own vi [...]

    4. This book is an extended variation on the stoic philosophy of Epictetus best captured by this passage from the first entry of his Handbook:“Some things are up to us and others are not. Up to us are opinion, impulse, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever is our own action. Not up to us are body, property, reputation, office, and, in a word, whatever is not our own action. The things that are up to us are by nature free, unhindered and unimpeded; but those that are not up to us are weak, se [...]

    5. "It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.""First say to yourself what you would be; And then do what you have to do.""People are not disturbed by things, but by the views they take of them."

    6. Rating is for the edition of the book rather than for Epictetus, really with all this really old, public domain stuff you gotta be careful. This is pretty good, especially if you want one, relatively inexpensive volume. Not as feel good as Aurelius, but much much funnier.

    7. Engaging, inspiring, earthly, funny Epictetus can give you great insights, skills and determination to change your life for the better, even if you don't agree with everything he says. The text might be old, but our life problems are pretty much the same, so the lessons feel as contemporary and relevant as ever.We can't avoid pain and hardships. Even though the topics are sombre, there is entertainment value to be had from gallows humour: I was laughing out loud half of the time, and the other h [...]

    8. I made my way slowly through the Discourses over the past six months or so. It's Roman-era self-help literature of the best sort – but that’s what philosophy was to the ancients: a guide for living, not an exercise in logic or intellectual abstraction. Our own age (an era in which victimhood is virtue and affluence is happiness) could do with a bit of the old Stoicism. It’s summarized more succinctly in Epictetus’s brief Enchiridion than in the Discourses or by the more sophisticated Mar [...]

    9. It is a good book, at least for me it was not as good as Seneca's Letters to Lucillus or Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, but worth reading for anyone interested in stoicism.

    10. Comparing ancient and modern philosophy is always an interesting thing to do. Ancient philosophy seems to have been much more practical and applied; something that everyone could take part in, instead of being relegated to experts in the field. It was not there to argue about everything in existence (well, except for the Skeptics) but was instead meant to teach you how to live your life to the fullest. In ancient philosophy, a lot was taken for granted that would never be done so today; such as [...]

    11. J'ai recommandé chaudement la lecture d'Épictète à mon entourage après en avoir moi-même consulté les discours. Quoi que le principe en soit au mieux difficilement applicable, il est très simple, en apparence du moins, et sa pratique ne peut qu'être bénéfique. Ce principe, sous-jacent à tous les discours, c'est : cultives seulement ce qui dépend de toi. Ces choses qui peuvent être dites dépendre purement de nous, en tant que nous sommes des Hommes, sont bien peu nombreuse pour Ép [...]

    12. This was the last book I read before going to Basic last year, and I really think it contributed a lot to how much I learned about myself during my training stint. Also, [url=enpedia/wiki/James_St Admiral James Stockdale[/url] credited this work with helping him through seven and a half years of torture by the Viet Cong. I think that alone says more than I would be able to.I guess Epictetus' main thesis is simply this (and the course of the book is spent fleshing this out): that there are things [...]

    13. Love me some good ol' stoic philosophy. I read this as a result of reading Good to Great, of business canon. I loved it and do see the applicability. It's a good reminder that you need to read outside of your sphere to gain depth and perspective on your subject.

    14. If you suffer from anxiety, especially over everyday occurrences or seemingly trivial matters (like me), you should find this book extremely helpful. I did not expect it to be a 2,000 year old self-help book when I choose it, but voila! It focuses on explaining how to release things out of your control, albeit in a logical format. It's like an ancient "Don't sweat the small stuff" presented in philosophical arguments. Don't be scared off because you think it might be a difficult read because it' [...]

    15. I couldn't finish this one. Do you know why? Because by chapter 29 out of 90 I had heard, for the third or forth time, how Epictetus would reply if one commanded him to shave himself. His musings on stoicism are thoroughly profound, I admit, but I couldn't put up with a philosopher droning on about the same damn thing ad nauseam. The book is so boring and repetitive, that I eventually found myself taking shorter and shorter routes to work so that I could end my daily stoicism earlier.

    16. Epictetus wasn’t an easy read for me. If I was new to the Stoics, I probably would have abandoned his Discourses immediately, which would have been a crying shame.One of the obstacles is that this isn’t a book in the conventional sense. It’s made up of notes scribbled down by a student, which means it is unstructured, fragmented, and at times repetitive. It’s almost essential to have some background knowledge of what is being discussed, so I’d recommend reading Marcus Aurelius and/or S [...]

    17. Repetitive, often ranting, written (spoken, actually--written down by a disciple) with certainty, Epictetus's works can be summed up by a sentence or two: "Some things are up to us and others are not. Up to us are opinion, impulse, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever is our own action. Not up to us are body, property, reputation, office, and, in a word, whatever is not our own action." So don't worry about the "externals" that are out of your control, what most people spend so much energy [...]

    18. Written during the first century A.D Arrianus wrote the words of Epictetus in the style in which they were delivered in speech. To provide a synoposis of the explanation given in this book (from the Modern Library), Stoicism was founded by Zeno in taking from Plato the value of self-sufficiency. If the universe is self-sufficient, dualism would not be possible and so monism must be. And that implies that everything is good and natural. Ironically, the efficient workings of the self-sufficient ma [...]

    19. Perhaps more actual than ever, Epictetus' speech decries the attachment to material goods. Instead, Epictetus proposes a life of freedom and independence.Were it a self-help book, it would probably bear the title "How to eliminate the pressure you willingly impose on yourself when you attach undue value to that which, in reality, is dependent on external factors". The short sketches, set against a background of everyday Greek life, offer practical advice. In a manner similar to Viktor Frankl and [...]

    20. Epictetus is a genius of the ancients, a man whose moral and ethical thought and pathos have the golden mean in mind. The whole idea and notion of balance, ressponsability, dutifulness, and a sense of following, liberally determined, the values one believes at any cost. The stoics were definitely the first existentialists, along with the Bible (for me a great existentialist text) with some elements of severity, extreme measures, principle, radicalism of the cynics, without the irreverence, more [...]

    21. Read: Discourses I 29; II 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 18, 22, 26; III 5, 12, 13, 15, 18; IV 2, and Handbook 1-27.Edition has introduction to the histo-political world of Epictetus, a biography, and a rough overview of Hellenistic philosophy (read: Epicureanism/Stoicism etc.). Additionally, some Stoic vocabulary at the end along with some modern interpretations/criticism of his work - focused mostly on his Discourses.The Discourses can be tedious and repetitive at times to read given the discou [...]

    22. "Come, then, Epictetus, shave yourself." "If I am a philosopher," I answer, "I will not shave myself." "But I will take off your head?" If that will do you any good, take it off.This is just a sample of the kind of thing you'll find within an hour of reading this book.It's a bit less accessible than the Enchiridion. Which does make it slightly more fun to reread.It is part of the Stoic tradition that lasted a thousand years. Put simply, a must read.

    23. I am fond of certain stoic principles which Epictetus mentions in Enchiridion - regarding self-mastery, controlling desires (not branding them evil as say Gandhi would do), being unemotional and controlling oneself from getting perturbed by external sources which lie outside one's control. However most other tenants, I dislike as I sense an element of fatalism and passiveness in them. But still a quick and pithy read, I'd say Do check out this master work of one of the most famous stoics

    24. Maybe not as good as Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, but still a very good Stoic book and with a lot to say about how to contact our lives. I said that Meditations was better because the paragraphs are shorter and easier to read, but I would still recommend The Discourses as much as I would recommend Meditations

    25. His discourse on the use of the forms of right reasoning is a survey with concluding opinon. We haven't gone far from his understanding of the fundamental ground of reasoning. Worth a read, but probably not the complete works in a number of volumes unless you are a philosopher or a glutten for philosophical minutiae. I am neither. I think it an important work in my own grounding.

    26. An interesting read. There's a lot to think about. I found a lot of wisdom and common sense. If you find Stoic tranquility to be something worthy pursuing, definitely a good book to read. It has some datedness to some material, though.

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