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ARRIANUS of Nicomedia

Manual of Epictetus

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Of existing things some are in our power,
others not in our power.
In our power are conception, effort, desire, aversion
and in a word whatever are our actions;
but not in our power are the body, property, reputation,
rulers and in a word whatever are not our actions.

Also things in our power are by nature
free, unhindered, unimpeded,
but things not in our power are
weak, slavish, hindered, belonging to others.

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Actions do not disturb people,
but opinions about actions;
for example, death is nothing terrible,
or else it would have appeared so to Socrates also,
but the opinion about death, that it is terrible,
that is what is terrible.

So when we are hindered or disturbed or grieved,
let us never accuse another, but ourselves,
that is, our own opinions.

To charge others is the work of the uneducated,
in whose power the self is doing badly;
beginning to be educated is to charge oneself;
having been educated neither another nor oneself.

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Remember that you are an actor in a play,
which the playwright wills;
if short, short; if long, long;
he may intend you to play a beggar
so that also you might act this naturally;
or a cripple, an official, or a private person.
For this is yours, to play the given role beautifully;
but the selection of it is another's.

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Remember that not the one abusing or beating is insulting,
but the opinion about these is insulting.
So when someone irritates you,
be aware that your assumption has irritated you.
Thus at first try not to be carried away by the impression;
for once you get time and delay,
you will more easily control yourself.

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