Not in our power

And who can never be hindered? The man who sets his desire on nothing that is not his own. And what are those things that are not our own? Those that are not in our power, either to have or not to have, or to have them of a particular nature, or under specific conditions. Our body, therefore, is not our own, its parts are not our own, and our property is not our own. So if you become attached to any of these as your own, you will be punished, as he deserves to be who sets his desire on what is not his own.

~ Epictetus

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When thus prepared

And when you are thus prepared and thus trained to distinguish what is not your own from your own, what is subject to hindrance from what is not, to regard the latter as your concern and the form as not, and carefully keep your desire directed toward the latter, and your aversion directed towards the former, will there any longer be anyone for you to fear?

~ Epictetus

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Shaken from what?

Ought you not first to have acquired something by the use of reason, and then to have made that secure? But you are studying to be able to prove things in argument. Prove what, though? You are studying so as not to be shaken by fallacious arguments. Shaken from what? Show me first what you are watching over, what you are measuring, or what you are weighing; and then, accordingly, show me your balance.

~ Epictetus

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True nature of the good

What, then, is wrong with you? I tell you, it is this, that you have neglected and corrupted that part of you, whatever it may be, with which we feel desire or aversion, and the impulse to act or not to act. Neglected in what way? By letting it remian ignorant of the true nature of the good, to which it was born, and of the nature of evil, and of what it has as its own and what is not its own.

~ Epictetus

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Due consideration

Like an ape, you imitate whatever you see, and one thing after another is sure to please you, but no longer to please you as soon as it becomes familiar. For you have never entered upon anything with due consideration, nor after examining the whole matter carefully and sstematically, but always approach things in a random and poorly motivated manner.

~ Epictetus

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Serenity, Freedom

When you have considered all these things with care, then, if you think fit, approach philosophy, and be willing to give up all of this in exchange for serenity, freedom and an undisturbed mind. Otherwise, do not come near; do not, like children, be at one time a philosopher, later a tax-collector, then a rhetorititian, and then one of Caesar’s procurators. These things are not compatible. You must be one man, either good or bad. You must cultivate either your own ruling faculty or externals, and apply yourself either to things within or those outside; that is, you must assume either the attitude of a philosopher or that of a layman.

~ Epictetus

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