Theopoetics

It's stories, all the way down.

Epictetus, from The Handbook chapter 38 — June 28, 2015
Epictetus, from The Handbook — June 27, 2015

Epictetus, from The Handbook

48.
The average person never looks
at himself as the source of
his help or harm but rather

blames everything else.

The philosopher, however,
looks to herself as the source
of help and of harm.

A person bettering himself
censures no one,
praises no one,
blames no one,
accuses no one;

says nothing concerning herself
as being anybody or knowing anything.

When she is thwarted or restrained,
she accuses herself;
and if she is praised,
she smiles to herself;
if anyone finds fault,
she is not defensive.

He moves like a convalescent,
careful not to interfere with anything
that is doing well but
not yet quite there.

She restrains desire;
she transfers her aversion
to only those things that
interfere with her will;

he employs his energies
in moderation but
in all directions. If
he looks stupid,
he doesn’t care.

In other words,
he watches himself
like an enemy.

He watches
like one in ambush.

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Epictetus from The Handbook — June 24, 2015

Epictetus from The Handbook

50.
Whatever rules you chose,
treat them like laws. As if
it would be impious
not to obey. Forget what
others may be saying of you.
That’s not your concern.

How long are you planning to wait
to demand the best of yourself?
How long will you act against reason?

You know the principles. So,
what kind of master are you waiting for?
What is your excuse for delay?
You aren’t a child anymore.

You neglect. You procrastinate.
You laze around. You say, “I’ll
start next week. Next month.
Sometime.” And so you go on

doing nothing. Living and dying
like the majority. Think: now—
right not is the time to grow up.

Consider your rules
as if they were laws.

Pleasure. Accomplishment.
Embarrassment. Everything
is an opportunity for practice.

The Olympics are now.
They can’t be postponed.
This is a contest to be lost or won.

This is how Socrates did it:

he learned from every experience,
using only his own mind.

You may not be Socrates
but still you can live like
someone trying to be Socrates.

from The Handbook by Epictetus — June 22, 2015
from The Handbook by Epictetus — June 20, 2015

from The Handbook by Epictetus

7.

A ship anchors,
you go ashore,
and amuse yourself
picking up shells.

But

don’t you keep one
eye on the ship, so
when the captain calls
you drop the shells
and get back?

Just so with life—
we amuse ourselves
on the shore with family,
possessions.

But keep an eye out:

when the boat leaves,
you will be on it.IMG_2144

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