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The Discourses of Epictetus, tr. by P.E Matheson, [1916], at



When any disturbing news is brought you, bear this in mind, that news cannot affect anything within the region of the will. Can any one bring news to you that you are wrong in your thought or wrong in your will? Surely not: but only that some one is dead; what does that concern you? That some one speaks ill of you; what does that concern you? That your father has some design or other. Against whom? Is it against your will? How can he have? No, it is against your wretched body, or your wretched property; you are safe, it is not against you.

But the judge pronounces that you are guilty of impiety. Did not the judges pronounce the same on Socrates? Is it your concern that the judge pronounced on you? No. Why then do you trouble yourself?

p. 372

[paragraph continues] Your father has a duty of his own, which he must fulfil, or else lose his character as father, affectionate and gentle. Do not try to make him lose anything else for that reason; for a man never suffers harm except in that in which he is at fault.

Again, it is your duty to make your defence with firmness, self-respect, dispassionately: otherwise you lose your character as son, self-respecting and honourable. What then? Is the judge free from danger? No: he too incurs danger just as much. Why then do you still fear what judgement he will give? What have you to do with another's evil? Your evil is to defend yourself badly: that is the only thing you need be careful about. Whether you are condemned or not condemned is an-other's business, and the evil in the same way is another's.

'So-and-so threatens you.'

Threatens me? No.

'He blames you.'

It will be for him to see how he does his own business.

'He is going to condemn you unjustly.'

All the worse for him!

Next: Chapter XIX. What is the Difference Between the Philosopher and the Uneducated Man