Stoicism

Make it your study then to confront every harsh impression with the words, “You are but an impression, and not at all what you seem to be”. Then test it by those rules that you possess; and first by this, the chief test of all “Is it concerned with what is in our power or with what is not in our power” And if it is concerned with what is not in our power, be ready with the answer that it is nothing to you.

— Epictetus, Handbook 1.5 (translator Matheson)

So-and-so’s son is dead. Answer, “That lies outside the sphere of the moral purpose, it is not an evil.” His father has disinherited So-and-so; what do you think of it? “That lies outside the sphere of the moral purpose, it is not an evil.” Caesar has condemned him. “That lies outside the sphere of the moral purpose, it is not an evil.” He was grieved at all this. “That lies within the sphere of the moral purpose, it is an evil.” He has borne up under it manfully. “That lies within the sphere of the moral purpose, it is a good.” Now, if we acquire this habit, we shall make progress; for we shall never give our assent to anything but that of which we get a convincing sense-impression. His son is dead. What happened? His son is dead. Nothing else? Not a thing. His ship is lost. What happened? His ship is lost. He was carried off to prison. What happened? He was carried off to prison. But the observation: “He has fared ill,” is an addition that each man makes on his own responsibility.

— Epictetus, Discourses 3.8.1�5(translator Oldfather)

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