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Top 7 Brilliant Ideas of Epictetus: The Philosopher Who Was Born a Slave

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Epictetus, one of my favorite philosophers, was widely known for his fascinating philosophical ideas. Although he was a slave at a young age, he managed to pursue stoic philosophy under an influential teacher who played a huge role in making him great.

It’s said that Epictetus’ teachings influenced more people than Plato’s. Many people, including affluent folks and great thinkers, were highly interested in his teachings.

Here are some of his brilliant philosophical teachings I would love to share with you.

1.How To Achieve Your Goals

According to the stoic philosopher, you can only get what you want if you work extremely hard. He also believed you can achieve your goals if you quit doing anything that doesn’t move you towards them and only focus on doing the things that move you towards them.

2.Stop Being Concerned With Things Beyond Your Power

Epictetus taught that we should only be concerned with the things we can change. He believed it’s a waste of time and energy to be concerned with the things, such as other people’s character, the past, or the weather, which we don’t have the power to change. He argued that we only live well when we allow the things we can’t control to do as they please.

3.Only Care About The Things That Matter

Epictetus noticed that people were stressed because they cared about many things. They cared about their estate, brother, slave, pet, emperor, the weather, and the society. He advised people that they could reduce their burdens by choosing to only care about the things that truly mattered to them.

4.There is A Creator

This great philosopher also argued that all the things in the universe reveal the presence of an artificer as they could not have occurred randomly. He believed that things such as our intellect and sexual intercourse were purposefully designed by a Higher Power. He asked non-believers to explain, ‘how objects so wonderful and workmanlike should come to being at random and spontaneously.

5.Anxiety Occurs When We Want Things That Are Beyond Our Control

‘When I see a man in anxiety, I say to myself. What can it be that this fellow wants? For if he did not want something that was outside his control, how could he be in anxiety?’ – Epictetus, Stoic Philosopher

Epictetus argued that we become anxious when we want something that is beyond our control. He provided an example of a good singer who only becomes anxious when singing in front of a crowd because she wants the crowd to applause her but fears it might not do so. This singer could not have been anxious if she focused on her singing (which she can control). She only became anxious because she focused on applause (which she couldn’t control).

6.Understand The True Nature of Everything You Love

Epictetus urged his students to understand the true nature of the things they loved so that they won’t be sad when they lose them. For instance, he advised people who loved their family members to realize that they are vulnerable to death so that they won’t be disturbed when they die. Also, he advised people who owned an earthen vessel to understand its true nature so that they won’t be disturbed when the vessel breaks.

7.Your Opinions Determine Your Reactions

To illustrate this point, Epictetus provided an example of a man who wept after his son passed away. He revealed that the passing away of the man’s son was not a bad thing because it could have affected the whole society if it was bad. However, the fact that it only affected this man shows that this man had some opinions about his son. Maybe he thought that there is no one as wonderful as his son. His opinions made him devastated when he lost his son.

Epictetus also provided an example of an insult. He revealed that we react wrongly to an insult because of our opinions towards it.

THE END

Hope you enjoyed Epictetus’ ideas. I welcome you to add more of his ideas in the comment box or reveal the idea you agree or disagree with.

Anyway, I welcome you to my facebook community: The Unbounded Wisdom Community, where I share philosophical, success, and spiritual quotes and ideas.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Delle

    January 11, 2019 at 11:22 am

    I love how you break down useful info from great minds so it’s clearer and even better accessible and memorable! One of my favorite quotes as a perpetual student of life and philosophy is by Epictetus : If You Want To Imorove, Be Content To Be Thought Stupid and Foolish.

    • Isaac Wechuli

      January 11, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks Delle. I love that quote too…it motivates me to do the things i have to do for me to move towards my dreams

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Philosophy

Friedrich Nietzsche on Why God is Dead and the Effects of God’s Death

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Friedrich Nietzsche on Why God is Dead and the Effects of God’s Death

But when Zarathustra was alone, he spoke thus to his heart. ‘Could it be possible? This old saint has not heard in his forest that God is dead!” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900), a German philosopher, is remembered for his popular phrase: ‘God is dead.’ He came up with this phrase after realizing that the society had shifted its focus from religion to science and progress. As well, he observed how the scientific revolution resulted in the society believing that science was more reliable in helping it understand life than religion.

The phrase thus implied that, in the 19th century, many individuals stopped believing in the importance of God because the term ‘God’ became a cultural idea. Furthermore, it indicated that the society stopped perceiving God as the source of creation, and it seldom involved spirituality in everyday social life.

Although Friedrich Nietzsche was an atheist, he believed ‘God’s death’ would bring disastrous effects to the society. For as he wrote, ‘God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, the murderers of all murderers, console ourselves?

He knew ancient people used God to console themselves during hard times, and therefore, God’s death would result in people finding it difficult to face hardships because they would lack a source of consolation. Besides, he claimed that modern folks would despair and find life meaningless if they stopped focusing on God as their helper.

Nietzsche’s idea of God’s death continues to be true in the 21st century because many people have stopped believing in God. To most people, God is just an ancient’s man idea since he doesn’t exist.

For this reason, as Nietzsche prophesied, many people today find life meaningless as it is difficult to find life purposeful in a Godless world. Also, those facing hardships succumb to depression and lose hope in life because they don’t believe that God will help them overcome their hardships.

Nietzsche’s phrase must thus remind us about the importance of believing in a Higher Power/God. This belief reduces the chances of depression when one faces hardships as it makes individuals realize that God is on their side. Lastly, it makes life meaningful as it enlightens us that we were created by a Higher Power for a Higher Purpose.

Thanks for Reading.

Peace be With You

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Philosophy

The Wisdom of Spinoza: Top 5 Powerful Teachings of Spinoza

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The Wisdom of Spinoza: Top 5 Powerful Teachings of Spinoza

Baruch Spinoza, born in 1632, was a philosopher who focused on teaching about God, and the limits of religious authority. He also taught about the human mind, science, and morality. As well, he stressed on the importance of freedom, and he provided the masses with a scientific interpretation of the Bible.

Spinoza’s teachings were enlightening, and the elite believed they would expose several religious errors and awaken the masses. For this reason, the elite forced him to flee Amsterdam.

I gathered Spinoza’s teachings from his book, ‘The Philosophy of Spinoza (Edited by Joseph Ratner).

Enjoy:

1.How to Achieve Sustained Happiness

We only achieve happiness when we free ourselves from the bondage of our emotions by becoming the masters of our emotions. To become the master of our emotions, we must know ourselves because it’s impossible to control our emotions if we don’t study and understand ourselves.

2.Everything is Divine

‘Whatever is, is in God, and nothing can either be or be conceived without God.’ – Baruch Spinoza

Spinoza opposed the religious belief that some things are divine while others aren’t. For him, everything is divine because everything exists within God. He believed nothing is unholy because everything exists only because God, The Divine Creator, exists.

3.Anyone Can Understand God’s True Nature

‘Everyone can by the light of nature clearly understand the goodness and the eternal validity of God.’ –  Baruch Spinoza

Many religious leaders believe understanding God is a spiritual gift only bestowed upon some individuals. However, Spinoza believed everyone can understand God’s true nature by studying nature because nature acts according to God’s laws and thus displays ‘his’ attributes.

4. Miracles are Natural Occurrences

Spinoza disagreed with the idea that miracles are contrary to nature since ‘nothing comes to pass in nature in contravention to her universal laws.’ For him, miracles are part of nature since they obey its laws. He claimed that many people believe miracles are supernatural occurrences because they are beyond their understanding.

5.The Illusion of Good and Bad

According to Spinoza, good and bad are ideas that arise after comparing one thing with another. For instance, an individual only believes Hip Hop is bad because he compares it with Country music, Rock, or Rhumba.

Besides this, people call one thing bad if it makes them sad and call another good if it makes them happy. For this reason, good and bad changes because something that can make you happy might be called bad if it makes another person sad.

Conclusions

Hope you loved Spinoza’s teachings.

Anyway, I gained massive interest in Spinoza’s teachings after realizing that he was banished from the Jewish community and forced to flee Amsterdam. My research on ancient history has enlightened me that all people who provided the masses with teachings that enabled them to realize their true power were either forced to exile or killed. Jesus was crucified, Socrates was sentenced to death, and Pythagoras was burned.

We should all strive to study these folks – who were either killed or exiled – because their teachings contained hidden truths that the ruling classes didn’t want us to know. I will thus continue studying Spinoza’s works, and I’ll share them with you because I believe they contain powerful hidden teachings.

Works Cited

Spinoza, Benedictus de, and Joseph Ratner. The Philosophy of Spinoza. Modern Library, 1954.

PEACE BE WITH YOU

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