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Diogenes of Sinope | Epictetus, Discourses 4.7

Would you have me then stand in awe of all these things, and pay them reverence, and go about as the slave of all?

God forbid! No, if I have once learnt that what is born must needs also be destroyed in order that the world may not stand still or be hindered, it makes no difference to me whether a fever is to destroy it or a falling tile or a soldier, but if I must compare them I know that the soldier will do the thing quicker and with less pain. Seeing then that I neither fear anything that he can do to me nor desire anything that he can provide, why do I stand in awe and amazement before him any more? Why do I fear the guards? Why do I rejoice if he speaks to me in a friendly way and gives me a welcome? Why do I tell other people how he talked to me? Is he a Socrates or a Diogenes, that his praise of me should be a proof of what I am? Do I admire his character? No, it is to keep up the game that I come to him and serve him, so long as he commands me to do nothing stupid or unseemly. But if he says to me, 'Go and fetch Leon of Salamis', I say to him, 'Look for some one else, I will play no longer.'

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

diogenes_of_sinope/epictetus_discourses_4.7.txt · Last modified: 2014/01/14 23:19 (external edit)