Main Stoic Quotes

Stoic quotes

from stoicweek handbook 2014

From the Handbook of Epictetus

 “Some things are under my control and other things are not.”

 “People are upset not by things but by their judgements about things.”

 “You are just an appearance and not at all the thing you claim to represent.”

(Response to a troubling impression.)

 “You are nothing to me.”

(Response to things not under your control.)

 “Virtue is the only true good.”

 “What is beyond my control is indifferent to me.”

 “If you want any good, get it from within yourself.”

 “Don’t demand that things go as you will, but will that they happen as they do, and your life will go smoothly.”

 “Sickness is a hindrance to the body, but not to the will.”

 “Never say of anything ‘I have lost it’ but ‘I have returned it.’”

 “It seemed right to them.” (Response to someone whose actions seem disagreeable to you.)

 “Everything has two handles, and can be picked up and carried either wisely or foolishly.”

 “Whoever yields properly to Fate, is deemed wise among men, and knows the laws of heaven.” (Quoted from Euripides)

These two famous sayings were also associated with Epictetus’ brand of Stoicism:

 “Remember thou must die.”

 “Endure and renounce” or “bear and forbear”, having the virtues of courage and self-discipline.

Some more suggestions from the Stoic community:

 “Remember too on every occasion which leads thee to the present difficulty to apply this principle: not that this is a misfortune, but that to bear it nobly is good fortune.” (Meditations, 4.49)

 “The thing that matters the most is not what you bear but how you bear it.” (Seneca, On Providence)

 “Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” (Seneca)

 “If I knew that it was fated for me to be sick, I would even wish for it; for the foot also, if it had intelligence, would volunteer to get muddy.” (Chrysippus)

Let us go to our sleep with joy and gladness; let us say ‘I have lived; the course which Fortune set for me is finished.’ And if God is pleased to add another day, we should welcome it with glad hearts. That man is happiest, and is secure in his own possession of himself, who can await the morrow without apprehension. When a man has said: ‘I have lived!’, every morning he arises he receives a bonus.

(Seneca, Letters 12.9)

It is not the things themselves that disturb people but their judgements about those things.

(Handbook, 5).

Seek not for events to happen as you wish but rather wish for events to happen as they do and your life will go smoothly. (Epictetus, Handbook, 8)



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