Tag Archives: Epictetus

How to be a Stoic

From ‘The New Yorker’ Born nearly two thousand years before Darwin and Freud, Epictetus seems to have anticipated a way out of their prisons. The first line of Epictetus’ manual of ethical advice, the Enchiridion—“Some things are in our control and others not”—made me feel that a weight was being lifted off my chest. For …

The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own

— Epictetus, Discourses, 2.5.4–5 The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable …