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The Door is Open



quoted from the Discourses of Epictetus (c. 60-c. 138 AD), one of the most hilarious books I ever read--


On Vanity
In what lies your power? "All men pay respect to me." Well, I also pay respect to my platter, and I wash it and wipe it; and for the sake of my oil flask, I drive a peg into the wall.

On Necessary Difficulty
What do you think that Hercules would have been if there had not been such a lion, and hydra, and stag, and boar, and certain unjust and bestial men, whom Hercules used to drive away and clear out? And what would he have been doing if there had been nothing of the kind? Is it not plain that he would have wrapped himself up and slept? In the first place, then, he would not have been a Hercules, when he was dreaming away all his life in such luxury and ease . . . "

On those who are afraid of death
Tell me where I can escape death: discover for me the country, show me the men to whom I must go, whom death does not visit. Discover to me a charm against death. If I have not one, what do you wish me to do? I cannot escape death, but shall I die lamenting and trembling? For the origin of perturbation is this, to wish for something, and that this should not happen.

On the True Master
For what is a master? Man is not the master of man; but death is, and life and pleasure and pain; for if he comes without these things, bring Caesar to me and you will see how firm I am.

Pinili mo iyan e 
If this does not satisfy you, the door is open: if it does, bear.




Listen
When you listen to a philosopher, do not say to him, "You tell me nothing"; but only show yourself worthy or fit for hearing; and you will see how you will move the speaker.

What is within you power
Does the vine say to the husbandman, "Take care of me?" No, but the vine by showing in itself that it will be profitable to the husbandman, if he does take care of it, invites him to exercise care.

Love and goodness
Whoever, then, understands what is good, can also know how to love; but he who cannot distinguish good from bad, and things which are neither good nor bad from both, how can he possess the power of loving? To love, then, is only in the power of the wise.

Weakness as the beginning of thought
The beginning of philosophy to him at least who enter on it in the right way and by the door, is a consciousness of his own weakness and inability about necessary things.

What having to decide says about you
For he who has once brought himself to deliberate upon such matters, and to calculate the value of external things, comes very near to those who have forgotten their own character.

Witnesses
Do me this favor: do not grudge an old man seeing a sight which [you] have not seen.




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