Epictetus

Greek slave who gained his freedom and taught philosophy

Epictetus taught that the epitome of evil is not death, but the fear of death. His teachings could be summed up in three words: tranquillity, fearlessness and freedom. His sayings were collected and include the following:

“No man is free who is not master of himself.”

On doing good:

“As the sun does not wait for prayers and incantations to be prevailed upon to rise, but immediately shines forth, and is received with universal salutations, so, neither do you wait for applauses and shouts and praises in order to do good; but be a voluntary benefactor, and you will be beloved like the sun.”

On dying:

“But remember the principal thing: that the door is open. Do not be more fearful than children; but as they, when the play does not please them, say, ‘I will play no longer’, and go: so do you, in this same case, say, ‘I will play no longer’, and go; but if you stay, do not complain.”

 

Login

Search Humanists UK