The Enchiridion Essay
“The Enchiridion,” by Epictetus is a very interesting piece. This piece emphasizes the different aspects of our lives that we do have control of contrasted to the parts of our lives that we do not have any control of. “Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions. ” (Epictetus 1) This quote lists and incorporates some parts of life that we, as human, have domain over and some aspects that are completely out of our reach; they are inevitable.
This piece also describes thinking about the consequences of your own actions before deciding what to do in a situation. “In every affair consider what proceeds and follows, and then undertake it. Otherwise you will begin with spirit; but not having thought of the consequences, when some of them appear you will shamefully desist. ” (Epictetus 29) This is where the concept “think before you leap” develops from. Epictetus understood that people need to think through an idea before they pursue it. I believe this is a very wise concept that shows you that you do have control over your own actions.
Chapter 18, page 546 of “The Archetypes of Wisdom,” by Douglas J. Soccio states that, “But we do not need philosophy only as a counterweight to…philosophical assumptions…. We need it to help us think through our own intuitive ideas, to criticize them and to figure out which ones we are willing to hold on to. ” As to my own understanding, this quote helps explain to me the point Epictetus was trying to get across. Its helps readers understand how important it is to think about the consequences of your actions before you proceed to do them.
You need to critique your own thoughts in order to become successful; this is something you do have control over. Epictetus also uses “The Enchiridion,” to explain the concept of fate. “Don’t demand that things happen as you wish, but wish that they happen as they do happen, and you will go on well. ” (Epictetus 8). This quote basically means that all things happen for a reason, and you should not dwell on the bad things in your life because it will all work itself out for the better. This is an excellent idea to live by.
You have no control over the events that occur in your lifetime; you only have control over your mental and physical response to these events. One of my favorite quotes from “The Enchiridion,” by Epictetus is, “Don’t regard what anyone says of you, for this, after all, is no concern of yours. ” (Epictetus 50). You do not have any control over other’s people’s thoughts about you, so there is no reason to stress yourself out over it. You should live your life without the fear of being criticized by other people. No matter what you do, you cannot control other people’s opinions.