Page:Discourses of Epictetus volume 1 Oldfather 1925.djvu/31

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to which, in a singularly frank expression (I. 4, 27), he was ready to sacrifice even truth itself. No wonder, then, he cared little for logic as such and not at all for science.[1] "The moralist assumes that what lies upon his heart as an essential need, must also be the essence and heart of reality. . . . In looking at everything from the point of view of happiness men bound the arteries of scientific research." Though spoken of the Socratic schools in general, this word of Nietzsche's[2] seems especially apt of Epictetus. He was of an age when the search for happiness by the process of consulting merely the instincts of the heart was leading rapidly to an alienation from scientific truth and a prodigious decline in richness of cultural experience.

Yet even in his happiness, which we cannot dismiss as a mere pose, there was something wanting. The existence of evil was in one breath denied, and in another presumed by the elaborate preparations that one must make to withstand it. "And having done all, to stand?" No, even after having done all, "the house might get too full of smoke," the hardships of life too great any longer to endure; the ominous phrase, "the door is open," or its equivalent, the final recourse of suicide, recurs at intervals through his pages like a tolling bell. And beyond? Nothing. Nothing to fear indeed; "the dewdrop sinks into the shining sea." "When He provides the necessities no longer. He sounds the recall; He opens the door and says, 'Go.' Where? To nothing you need fear, but back to that from which you came, to what

  1. Cf. Zeller. p. 770.
  2. Menschliches, Allzumenschliches, I. 21; 23.