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Epictetus: The Enchiridion And Stoicism Essay

995 words - 4 pages

As a worldview, Stoicism is a philosophical approach to help people to cope with times of great stress and troubles. In order to give comfort to humanity, the Stoics agree with the Pantheistic view that God and nature are not separate. Instead, the two forces are one. By believing that God is nature, humans have a sense of security because nature, like God, is recognized as rational and perfect. The perfection of nature is explained through the Divine, or natural, Law. This law gives everything in nature a predetermined plan that defines the future based on past evens (cause and effect). Because the goal for everything in nature is to fulfill its plan, the reason for all that happens in nature is because it is a part of the plan. It is apparent that, because this law is of God, it must be good. The Divine Law is also universal. Everything on the planet has a plan that has already been determined. There are no exceptions or limitations to the natural law. The world in the Stoics’ eyes is flawless, equal, and rational.
More specifically, Stoicism is a moral guide for humans. Though nature is absolute and perfect through God, the human thought is the one and only feature of life that is controlled and changed by people. Humans have the ability to reason and to know that everything in life is determined. For every event that they encounter, humans are able to acknowledge the fact that it is a part of their life plan. Therefore, a person can control whether he/she accepts that the action is unchangeable. Many humans think that they have a choice for all that they do and all that happens to them. But in Stoic reality, natures plan has one path with no possible differences. Thus, good is not defined by what a person does; but, by a person’s attitude towards what happens to him/her. Because of this, Stoics underline the importance of accepting all pains and pleasures in life. If one is able to accept these pains and pleasures as nature, as well as live in dedication to their natural life plan, then he/she may live a happy – or flourishing – life. However, if one expects only pleasure or attempts to decide all that happens in his/her life, this person will only find disappointment in the end. By knowing that God’s plan is certain, people can live in peace with the world. No person has to fear what happens next because he/she can feel satisfied that his/her life is following the Divine Law. It is then clear that external goods are not necessarily good or bad. Features like wealth, honor, food, and bodily health are not needed, but sometimes appropriate for a person to be happy. Nonetheless, these external goods are appropriate when a human is young and not yet fully rational. Once a person reaches full awareness of life and the natural law, external goods become, as the philosopher Epictetus labels them, indifferent.
This life of simplicity was most thoroughly exemplified through the guidelines from Epictetus. As a Stoic, he is a tremendous influence...

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