The Worthless Life

But when a man is cowardly and mean, what else must be done for him than to write letters as you would about a corpse. "Please to grant us the body of a certain person and a sextarius of poor blood." For such a person is, in fact, a carcass and a sextarius of blood, and nothing more. But if he were anything more, he would know that one man is not miserable through the means of another.

Finally, Epictetus sums up this chapter with one more thought about death. He notes that a person who lives a dishonorable and unrighteous life leads a worthless life, so worthless, in fact, that the effect he has on the world is as if he were dead.

For this reason, it behooves us to live a righteous life. And it is never too late to change. In Luke (23:43), Jesus talked to one of the criminals who was crucified with him who asked Jesus to remember him in heaven. Jesus said to him, "I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me." The man was redeemed even though he had lived harshly all his days.

Chapter 9:

  1. Our Relationship with God Has Consequences
  2. The Power of God Protects (9a)
  3. Sustenance (9b)
  4. The Philosopher's Job (9c)
  5. Our Mission (9d)
  6. Death Not Desired or Feared (9e)
  7. The Worthless Life (9f)
Stoicism and Christianity Index

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This is a translation and explanation of the first book of the Discourses of Epictetus. His words are in regular text, comments are in bold.

Biographical Information on Epictetus

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