Fruits of the Forest

Thanks to everyone who got up for 10.30am on a Monday morningĀ  to talk about the Life of the Stoic at Forest Hill Library. What I didn’t tell you is that I realised on the bus there that I’d left all my notes and the hand-outs at home. Luckily I’d also emailed them to myself, but then it turned out that the public computers had all gone down temporarily, and for a moment I wondered if the Fates were conspiring against me.

Forest Hill Library

Forest Hill Library

What this provided me with was an excellent opportunity to ask the question, what would Epictetus have done? What I’m sure he would not do is to complain about it. For a start, a slave at birth, he would have suffered far worse than a little anxiety overĀ  paperwork. As I mentioned in the session, he was once beaten so badly by his master, that he was crippled for life, and yet could still say, “No one suffers misfortune because of the actions of another” .

His words which have come down to us, give us more than a clue as to how he dealt with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune:

I must die; so must I die groaning too? I must be imprisoned; so must I grieve at that too? I must depart into exile; so can anyone prevent me from setting off with a smile, cheerfully and serenely?

I’ll be posting more about the ideas of the Stoics in the coming days and nights, so do check back. Or, click on the Follow button, to receive an email update every time the page is updated.

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