Soul Share

"striving with the same soul" (Phil 1:27)

“He then who has observed with intelligence the administration of the world, and has learned that the greatest and supreme and the most comprehensive community is that which is composed of men and God -- for these only are by their nature formed to have communion with God, being by means of reason conjoined with God -- why should not such a man call himself a citizen of the world, why not a son of God, and why should he be afraid of anything which happens among men?"
Epictetus, Discourses, 1.9.3

Epictetus on Progress

These queries are based on the discourse of Epictetus called "On Progress" (Discourses 1.4).

Internet Classics Archive


Have you learned that happiness and tranquility can only be achieved by desiring what is good for you and avoiding what is bad, those things being what are within your own will to obtain or avoid?

Does the conduct of your life give evidence of your progress of exercising, through design and preparation, the pursuit of virtue and the avoidance of vice?

Do these things characterize your life?

  • You have rejected the way of life that places value on external things like wealth, power, fame, good luck, beauty, health, long life, etc.

  • You have experienced a conversion leading you to exercise and improve your choices by enduring the toils of life in order to bring your will to be in alignment with God’s will so that you might be uplifted, free, unhindered, unimpeded, faithful, and modest.

  • You realize that by not desiring or avoiding what is outside of your control, you cannot be faithful or free, but will be powerless against the impact of the storms of life and the control of other people over how you experience life.

Which course of life do you follow to make progress?

  1. When you start your day, do you practice spiritual exercises as preparation for making good choices? When you go about your day, are you being faithful to your way of life? Are your desires and appetites consistent with modest living? Is everything about your life guided by your core values and the effect of your training?

  2. You put great effort into reading books about philosophy and think that the purpose of life is to become an expert in the finer points of analytical philosophy and ethical conundrums.

(If it’s the second one, then your life is pointless. If it’s the first and you are studying how people can rid their lives of sorrow and grief, avoid basing their contentment on good luck by which they will experience disappointment, and learn the meaning of death, abandonment, oppression, and violence, then this way of life is ultimately valuable.)

Are you thankful to God for:

  • Bringing the truth—not just about how to live but how to live well—to light and bearing it forth to everyone;

  • Producing in the human mind the capability of achieving happiness (eudaimonia)?

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