Death Is No Evil

Diogenes, who was sent as a scout before you, made a different report to us. He said that death is no evil. For it is not base. He said that fame is the noise of madmen. And what has this spy said about pain, about pleasure, and about poverty? He said that to be naked is better than any purple robe, and to sleep on the bare ground is the softest bed. He gives as a proof of each thing that he affirms his own courage, his tranquility, his freedom, and the healthy appearance and compactness of his body. There is no enemy, he says, all is peace. How can this be so? "See," Diogenes replies, "am I struck? Have I been wounded? Do I flee from any man?" This is what a scout ought to be. But you come to us and tell us one thing after another. Will you not go back and see clearer when you have laid aside fear?

Instead of our outlook being like the fearful scout, Epictetus tells us that our outlook should mirror that of Diogenes, the skeptic philosopher who told us that all tribulation was nothing. Christians can find plenty of support for this idea in the Bible. First, we have the example of Christ's own ability to deal with adversity. Then in Acts (5:41) the disciples positively revel in their suffering for the cause of Jesus. In the First Letter of Peter (2:20) we find out that God rewards those who suffer.

Chapter 24:

  1. How We Struggle with Circumstances
  2. Sending a Scout to Rome (24a)
  3. Death Is No Evil (24b)
  4. Stoicism and Inheritance (24c)
  5. How We Struggle with Circumstances (24d)
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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