Epictetus /

Edited by Albert Watanabe

Ch. 5 essay

It is not things (πράγματα) themselves, but our opinions (δόγματα) about the things which disturb us. Death is given as an example. Life and death belong to the category of indifferents for the Stoics. While life may be preferred in most cases, death may be chosen at times when one may not be able to live a moral life. Death by itself is not regarded as inherently evil. Thus, since it is our opinions which cause disturbance, people who are beginning their education in Stoic ethics blame themselves (their mistaken opinions), when things do not turn out as they wish. The person who is truly educated (πεπαιδεύμενος) blames neither himself or others, since he does not wish for things outside of his control. It is the one who is uneducated who blames others because he mistakenly thinks that he can control what is outside his control. 

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