Of Human Freedom (Penguin Great Ideas)
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In this personal and practical guide to moral self-improvement and living a good life, the second-century philosopher Epictetus tackles questions of freedom and imprisonment, stubbornness and fear, family, friendship and love, and leaves an intriguing document of daily life in the classical world.
GREAT IDEAS. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves -- and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives -- and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.
Poor guy, to be enslaved to a whore, and a cheap one at that! What right do you still have to call yourself free? What point is there in boasting about your military victories?  Then the man calls for a sword to end it all, yells at the slave who refuses to give him one out of compassion, sends gifts to his girl – who still despises him – begs and implores her and rejoices when he meets with the least success.  But until he succeeds in suppressing his lust and anxiety, how is he really
like it or not, a person fares poorly whenever he acts like an insensitive brute.  ‘So you’re saying that Socrates did not fare poorly?’ That’s right – the jurors and his accusers did instead. ‘Nor Helvidius at Rome?’ No – but the person who killed him did. ‘How do you reckon that?’  Well, you don’t call a fighting cock that’s bloodied but victorious unfortunate, but rather one who lost without receiving a scratch. And you don’t yell ‘Good dog!’ at one that doesn’t hunt or work;
that delivers us from slavery: finally to be able to say, with meaning: Lead me, Zeus, lead me, Destiny, to the goal I was long ago assigned.  What about you, philosopher? The tyrant is going to call on you to bear false witness. Tell us: do you play along or not? ‘Let me think it over.’ Think it over now? What were you thinking over in school? Didn’t you rehearse which things are good, which are bad, and which are neither?  ‘I did.’ And what did you decide? ‘That justice and
if events ordain that you spend time either alone or with just a few other people, look upon it as tranquillity and play along with it for the duration. Talk to yourself, train your thoughts and shape your preconceptions. If, on the contrary, you happen upon a crowd, call it a sporting event, a festival or celebration,  and try to keep holiday with the people. What could better please a person who loves his fellow man than the sight of them in numbers? We like to see herds of cows or horses,
and refuse to change your mind because you don’t want to. You will repeat, “We must stick with a decision.”  Begin with a firm foundation; evaluate your decision to see if it is valid – then there will be a basis for this rigid resolve of yours.  If your foundation is rotten or crumbling, not a thing should be built on it, and the bigger and grander you make it, the sooner it will collapse.  ‘With no good reason, you are taking the life of an old friend of mine, one who shares both