Page:Discourses of Epictetus volume 1 Oldfather 1925.djvu/29

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largely abandoned, he manifests but slight interest in it.

Among duties he is concerned principally with those of a social character. Nature places us in certain relations to other persons, and these determine our obligations to parents, brothers, children, kinsmen, friends, fellow-citizens, and mankind in general. We ought to have the sense of fellowship and partnership (κοινωνικοί), that is, in thought and in action we ought to remember the social organization in which we have been placed by the divine order. The shortcomings of our fellow-men are to be met with patience and charity, and we should not allow ourselves to grow indignant over them, for they too are a necessary element in the universal plan.

The religious possibilities of Stoicism are developed further by Epictetus than by any other representative of the school. The conviction that the universe is wholly governed by an all-wise, divine Providence is for him one of the principal supports of the doctrine of values. All things, even apparent evils, are the will of God, comprehended in his universal plan, and therefore good from the point of view of the whole. It is our moral duty to elevate ourselves to this conception, to see things as God sees them. The man who reconciles his will to the will of God, and so recognizes that every event is necessary and reasonable for the best interest of the whole, feels no discontent with anything outside the control of his free will. His happiness he finds in filling the role which God has assigned him, becoming thereby a voluntary co-worker with God, and in filling this role no man can hinder him.