Epictetus
Epictetus


Exhortation to Action

Will you not leave the small arguments about these matters to others, to lazy fellows, that they may sit in a corner and receive their sorry pay, or grumble that no one gives them anything? Will you not come forward and make use of what you have learned? It is not these small arguments that are wanted now. The writings of the Stoics are full of them. What then is the thing which is wanted? A man who shall apply them, one who by his acts shall bear testimony to his words. Assume, I entreat you, this character, that we may no longer use in the schools the examples of the ancients but may have some example of our own.

Wow, here is an exhortation to action! We can sit and philosophize all day long, but it is application that is important. Jesus himself performed great works while he told us what they meant. He also told us to go out and spread the word of God. We can be plum full of good intentions, good thoughts and good philosophy, but the key is applying them in the breach.

Chapter 29:

  1. On Constancy and Courage
  2. Do Philosophers Despise Kings? (2a)
  3. Opinions (2b)
  4. The Stronger and the Weaker (2c)
  5. Anytus and Meletus (2d)
  6. Superior Principles (2e)
  7. Child-Like Minds (2f)
  8. Like an Athlete (2g)
  9. Facing Adversity (2h)
  10. Might for Right (2i)
  11. Objective Truth (2j)
  12. Exhortation to Action (2k)
  13. The Runaway Slave (2l)
  14. Summary - Stoicism and Christianity (2m)
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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