20, History/Philosophy Student, Full-time Misanthrope, Eboracum Novum
Of this Word’s being forever do men prove to be uncomprehending, both before they hear and once they have heard it. For although all things happen according to this Word they are like the unexperienced experiencing words and deeds such as I explain when I distinguish each thing according to its nature and declare how it is. Other men are unaware of what they do when they are awake just as they are forgetful of what they do when they are asleep.
Like seeing roasted meat and other dishes in front of you and suddenly realizing: This is a dead fish. A dead bird. A dead pig. Or that this noble vintage is grape juice., and the purple robes are sheep wool dyed with shellfish blood. Or making love - something rubbing against your penis, a brief seizure and a little cloudy liquid.
Perceptions like that - latching onto things and piercing through them, so we see what they really are. That's what we need to do all the time - all through our lives when things lay claim to our trust- to lay them bare and see how pointless they are, to strip away the legend that encrusts them.
Epictetus explained that his curriculum was not about "revenues or income,or peace or war, but about happiness and unhappiness, success and failure, slavery and freedom." His model graduate was not a person "able to speak fluently about philosophic principles as an idle babbler, but about things that will do you good if your child dies, or your brother dies, or if you must die or be tortured. ...Let others practice lawsuits, others study problems, others syllogisms; here you practice how to die, how to be enchained, how to be racked, how to be exiled." A man is responsible for his own "judgments, even in dreams, in drunkenness, and in melancholy madness." Each individual brings about his own good and his own evil, his good fortune, his ill fortune, his happiness, and his wretchedness. It is unthinkable that one man's error could cause another's suffering; suffering, like everything else in stoicism, was all intemal-remorse at destroying yourself.