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Diogenes of Sinope | Epictetus, Discourses 3.26

Then you fear starvation, as you think; but what you really fear is not starvation; you are afraid that you may not have a cook, that you may not have another to cater for you, another to shoe you, another to dress you, others to rub you, others to follow you; when you have stripped in the bath and stretched yourself out like the crucified, you want to be rubbed on this side and that, and then you want the masseur to stand by and say, 'Turn, and give me his side, take his head, hand me his shoulder'; and then when you have left the bath and gone home you expect to cry out, 'Will no one bring me something to eat?' and then, 'Remove the tables, and wipe them.' What you really fear is that you may not be able to live the life of an invalid; for the life of healthy men you have only to see how slaves and labourers and true philosophers live; the life of Socrates, though he had a wife and children to live with, the life of Diogenes, and of Cleanthes, who combined philosophy with drawing water. If this is what you want to have, you will have it everywhere, and will live with confidence. Confidence in what? In that which alone it is possible to confide in, what is trustworthy, and cannot be hindered or taken away, that is, your own will. Why have you made yourself so useless and unprofitable that no one is willing to take you into his house and take care of you? Every one will pick up a vessel that is whole and fit for use if it is flung aside and will count it gain; but every one will count you loss, not gain. Cannot you even serve the purpose of a dog or a cock? Why then do you wish to live any more, if this is your character?

Source: The Discourses of Epictetus, tr. by P.E Matheson, [1916]

diogenes_of_sinope/epictetus_discourses_3.26.txt · Last modified: 2014/01/14 23:19 (external edit)