The four books of the Discourses are neither Dialogues in the style of Plato nor Orations written by Isocrates for display, but the faithful recording -by his pupil Arrian- of Epictetus’ live talking. I have done my best to preserve this peculiarity and have kept very close to the Greek text. The reader should bear this in mind, and read according to the right ‘tempo’.

Thank you for choosing this new translation of Epictetus.


“Why, then, did you say that he is a man? For is perhaps each being judged from its mere external appearance? Since, in this way, say that also a waxen apple is an apple. But it must also have the aroma and the taste of an apple; the external feature is not sufficient. Not even nose and eyes are, then, adequate to make a man, if he has not the judgements of a man”. (IV, 5, 19-20)


No insipient person is free (1-5)

[IV,1,1] Free is the one who lives as he decides, whom it is impossible to constrain or hamper or force; whose impulses are unhindered, whose desires are right on the mark, whose aversions do not stumble on what they avert. Who, then, wants to live a life full of aberrations? -No one- [IV,1,2] Who wants to live deceived, reckless, unjust, impudent, faultfinding, slave-minded? -No one- [IV,1,3] No insipient person, then, lives as he decides to live and therefore no insipient person is free. [IV,1,4] Who wants to live grieving, fearing, envying, pitying, desiring and failing in his desires, averting and stumbling on what he averts? -No one at all- [IV,1,5] Have we, then, any insipient person without grief, without fear, unstumbling, unfailing? -No one- No one of them, therefore, is free.

Our freedom is not built upon birth or social position (6-10)

[IV,1,6] When someone who has been twice consul hears this, if you add up: “But you are a wise man, this does not apply to you”, he will forgive you. [IV,1,7] Yet if you tell him the truth: “With regard to not being you too a servant, you differ in nothing from those who have been thrice retailed”; what else have you to expect but blows? [IV,1,8] “How”, he says, “am I a servant? My father was free, my mother was free; nobody has a deed of sale for me. More than this, I am a senator, a friend of Caesar, I have been consul and I have many servants”. [IV,1,9] In the first place, my dear sir and senator, your father too was probably subject to the same servitude, and your mother, and your grandfather and besides them all your ancestors. [IV,1,10] And even if they were free to the highest degree, what has this to do with you? What, if they were generous and you are mean; if they were fearless and you are cowardly; if they were self-restrained and you are impudent?

A slave is he who has a master… (11-15)

[IV,1,11] -What has this to do, says someone, with being a servant?- To do something unwillingly, being constrained, groaning, does it appear to you nothing with regard to being a servant? [IV,1,12] – Let this be so, he says. But who can constrain me except Caesar, who is the Lord of all us?- [IV,1,13] You yourself, then, acknowledge that you have a master. And do not be consoled by the fact that, as you say, he is the master of all us. Recognize, instead, that you are the servant of a great family. [IV,1,14] Also the Nicopolitans are accustomed to acclaim in this way: “Yes, by the fortune of Caesar we are free men!” [IV,1,15] Yet, if you deem so, for the time being let’s acquit Caesar, but tell me this: Were you never in love with anyone? A maiden, a young boy, a servant, a free person?

… or a mistress (16-23)

[IV,1,16] -What has this to do with being servant or free?- [IV,1,17] Were you never ordered by your beloved to do something you did not want to do? Did you never flatter your little servant? Did you never kiss his feet? And yet if someone constrained you to kiss those of Caesar, you would believe this an outrage and the height of tyranny. [IV,1,18] What else is, then, servitude? Did you never leave at

night for places where you did not want to go? Did you never spend as much as you did not want? Did you never say some things wailing and groaning? Did you never endure to be reviled, to be shut outside? [IV,1,19] But if you are ashamed to acknowledge this in your case, look at the words and deeds of Thrasonides who, having served in so many military campaigns -as you probably have not- at first is gone out of the camp at night, when Geta does not dare to go out, while if the latter had been constrained by him to do so, he would have gone out yelling insults and decrying his bitter servitude. [IV,1,20] And then what does Thrasonides say? *…a cheap maiden, he says, has enslaved me; me, whom not one of my enemies ever…* [IV,1,21] You wretched fellow, who are servant of a maiden, and a cheap one! Why, then, do you still call yourself free? Why do you blether about your military campaigns? [IV,1,22] And then he asks for a sword and becomes embittered with the fellow who, out of benevolence, does not give it to him; and sends gifts to the girl who hates him, and entreats and cries and again is elated when he has had somewhat of a happy day. [IV,1,23] Except that even then, how could he have freedom for himself if he has not learned to give up craving or fear?

The instinct is what more closely approaches freedom, in the case of aproairetic creatures (24-28)

[IV,1,24] Analyse how we use the concept of freedom in the case of animals. [IV,1,25] Some people shut tame lions in a cage, feed them, pasture them and convey them about like pets. Who will say that this lion is free? The softer its condition, is it not the more servile? Which lion, if it possessed a conscience and reasoning power, would decide to be one of these tame lions? [IV,1,26] Come on, and when these birds are caught and fed in a cage, what do they experience when seeking a means of escape? Some of them starve to death rather than submitting to such a form of luxury. [IV,1,27] And those who preserve themselves in life do so with toil and pain and embitterment; they waste away and generally, when they find a small opening, they leap out. To such a point they desire their natural freedom and to be autonomous, unhampered! [IV,1,28] What evil is here for you, in the cage? “What do you say? I have been born to fly where I want, to pass my life in the open air, to sing when I want: you deprive me of all this and then say: ‘What evil is here for you?’ “.

A freedom for whose sake men can give their life (29-32)

[IV,1,29] For this reason we will call free only those creatures that do not bear captivity and that, when captured, flee by dying. [IV,1,30] In like manner also Diogenes somewhere says that the only device to preserve our freedom is to die in a light-hearted way, and writes to the Persian king: “You cannot enslave the town of the Athenians; no more, he says, than the fishes”. [IV,1,31] “How? Will I not catch them?” “If you catch them”, Diogenes says, “they will desert you and disappear precisely as the fishes do. Also if you catch one of them, it dies. If the Athenians die when you catch them, how does this avail your preparations for war?” [IV,1,32] This is the voice of a free man who has earnestly inquired into the business and, as it’s likely, has found the truth. But if you look for it in a place where it is not, why be amazed if you never find it?

The amazing story of slaves who ignore their true slavery (33-40)

[IV,1,33] The slave wishes to be set straightaway free. Why? Do you think he longs to give money to those who collect the five per cent tax? No. But because he fancies that till now he is hindered and is not serene because he has not yet hit the mark. [IV,1,34] “If I am set free”, he says, “straightaway all is serenity, I turn my mind towards nobody, I talk to everybody as equal and similar, I proceed where I want, I come whence I want and go where I want”. [IV,1,35] Later he is emancipated, and having nothing to eat, straightaway he seeks someone to flatter, someone at whose house to dine. And then, either prostitutes himself and experiences the most terrible things -and if he gets a manger from prostitution he has fallen into a slavery [IV,1,36] much more arduous than the former- or, finding himself in abundance but being a person ignorant of the beautiful, he has fallen in love with a maiden and having ill fortune he bursts into tears and yearns for his servitude. [IV,1,37] “What evil had I with that? Another clothed me, another gave me shoes, another fed me, another cured me when I was sick

and I did him some service. Now, wretched me, what I experience being the servant of many rather than of one! [IV,1,38] Yet”, he says, ” if I get the rings of the equestrian order, then indeed I’ll pass my life in the utmost serenity and happiness”. In the first place, in order to get those rings he experiences what he deserves. [IV,1,39] And then, once he has got them, again it is the same story. And he says “If I serve in a military campaign, I would have got rid of all my evils”. He serves in a military campaign, he experiences what befits one who wants whipping and nevertheless he asks for a second campaign and a third. [IV,1,40] And when he puts on the finishing touch and becomes a senator, then he becomes a slave who comes to the assembly, then he serves in the most honourable and sleekest slavery.

All animals, as aproairetic creatures, behave by instincts. The human being, who is a proairetic animal, remains an instinctive creature as far as he uses counterdiairesis, and becomes free, that is a man, only when he learns to play rightly with antidiairesis and to use diairesis with art. Our witnesses are Caesar and his court (41-50)

[IV,1,41] That he may not be stupid, that he may learn what Socrates said: ‘The “what is” of each thing’, and that he may not adapt at random his preconceptions to the particular substances! [IV,1,42] For this is what causes all of human beings’ evils: the inability to adapt the common preconceptions to the particular cases. [IV,1,43] We think one, one thing and another, another thing to be cause of our evils. One thinks that the cause of his evils is the fact of being sick. Not at all, but the fact that he does not adapt in the right way his preconceptions. Another thinks, because he is a beggar; another, because he has an embittering father or mother; another, because Caesar is not propitious. Yet the cause is one and only one: that he does not know how to adapt his preconceptions. [IV,1,44] For who does not have the preconception of evil, the fact that evil is a harmful thing, that it is to be avoided, that we must manage so as to get rid of it in every way? [IV,1,45] One preconception does not contradict another preconception, but conflict arises when one proceeds to adapt them. What is, then, this evil, this harmful thing that has to be avoided? One person says: not to be Caesar’s friend. He left for the wrong way, he aborted his adaptation, he oppresses himself, he seeks something that has nothing to do with his program: for when he hits the mark and is a Caesar’s friend, nevertheless he has not achieved the true goal he was seeking. [IV,1,46] For what is it that every person seeks? Stability of judgement, to be happy, to do everything as he disposes, not to be hampered, not to be constrained. When, then, he becomes a friend of Caesar, has he ceased of being hampered, of being constrained, is he stable, is he serene? From whom shall we try to know this? Whom do we have more trustworthy than this very person who has become Caesar’s friend? [IV,1,47] Come in our midst and tell us when you slept with more contentment. Now or before you became Caesar’s friend? Straightaway you hear him saying: “Stop, by the gods, mocking my soul; you don’t know what I am experiencing, wretched me! Sleep does not come to me but, look, first one and then another person comes and says: Caesar is already awake! Caesar is already advancing! And then disconcertment, and then worries”. [IV,1,48] Come on, when did you dine with more pleasure: now or before? Listen what he tells about this too. He says that if he is not invited, he is sorry; and that if he is invited, he dines like a servant at the Lord’s table, meanwhile taking care not to say or do anything stupid. What do you believe he fears? To be whipped like a servant? And how could he get off so well? But he fears, as is fitting to a person so important, to a friend of Caesar, to lose his neck. [IV,1,49] When did you bathe with more contentment? When did you train more at your leisure? On the whole, which life would you rather live, the current or the previous one? [IV,1,50] I can swear that nobody is so insensitive or such a liar as not to bitterly lament his mishaps the more he is a friend of Caesar.

Listen to those who have looked for the Truth and have found it: no unhappy person is free (51-53)

[IV,1,51] -When, then, neither the so-called kings nor the friends of the kings live as they want, who are anymore free men?- Seek and you will find. For nature has given you resources for finding the truth. [IV,1,52] And if you are unable to find what comes next proceeding with these mere resources, listen those who have already sought. What do they say? Do you deem freedom a good? -The greatest- Can, then, one who hits the mark of the greatest good be unhappy or fare ill? -No- Those people, then, whom you see unhappy, not serene, mourning, declare confidently that they are not free. [IV,1,53] -I

declare so- Therefore, as far as freedom is concerned, from now on we can skip questions of buying, of selling and of relying on any kind of estate. For if you have rightly acknowledged this, whether he is a Great King or a little king, whether he is a fellow who has been consul once or twice, if he is unhappy he is not free. -Let it be so-

Great slaves with purple-edged robes, little slaves on holidays and syllogisms worthy of slaves (54-61)

[IV,1,54] Answer me, then, this further question: do you think freedom anything great and generous, anything renowned? -And how not?- Is it, then, possible that the one who hits the mark of such a great and renowned and generous good be a slave-minded person? -It is not possible- [IV,1,55] When, then, you see someone cringing before another or flattering contrary to what appears true to him, say confidently that this person too is not free: and not only if he does it for the sake of a dinner, but also for the sake of a province or of a consulship. And call little slaves those who do these things for small ends and the others, as they deserve, great slaves. [IV,1,56] -Let this also be so- Do you deem freedom something unconditioned and autonomous? -And how not?- When, then, it is in another’s power to hamper or constrain someone, say confidently that this person is not free. [IV,1,57] And don’t look to his grandfathers and great-grandfathers, don’t look for a deed of purchase or sale; if you hear him say from deep inside and with passion “Lord!”, even if twelve rods promote him, call him a slave. If you hear him say “Wretched me, what I do experience!” call him a slave. If, in short, you see him weeping aloud, finding fault, not being serene: call him a slave who has a purple-edged robe. [IV,1,58] If however he does none of these things, do not call him free yet but decipher whether his judgements are constrained, hampered, leading to a lack of serenity. And if you find him to be such a person, call him a slave on vacation during the Saturnalia. Say that his Lord is setting off; but he will come along and then you will recognize what he experiences! [IV,1,59] -Who will come along?- Whoever has the power to secure or withhold any of the things that the fellow wants. -Have we, then, so many Lords?- So many. For, previous to these we have as lords different circumstances, and they are many. For this reason it is necessary that those be lords who have power over any of them. [IV,1,60] Since no one fears Caesar himself, but fears death, exile, removal of property, prison, lack of honours. Nor does anyone have a predilection for Caesar, unless Caesar is a man of great value, but we have a predilection for wealth, tribuneship, praetorship, consulship. When we have a predilection for and hate and fear these things, it is necessary that those who have power over them be our Lords. For this reason we revere them as Gods. [IV,1,61] For we have this concept: “What has the power of the greatest benefit is divine”. Then we wrongly subordinate: “This person has the power of the greatest benefit”. The conclusion from these premises is by necessity wrongly inferred.

Can anything that is in another’s power make us free? No, it cannot (62-67)

[IV,1,62] What is it, then, that makes the man unhampered, unconditioned? For wealth does not do it, nor a consulship nor a province nor the kingdom, [IV,1,63] we must find something else. What is it that makes a person unhampered and unimpeded in writing? -The science of writing-And in playing the lyre? -The science of lyre-playing- Then, also in living, the science of living. [IV,1,64] In short, you have heard. Analyse it also in its particular cases. Is it feasible for the person who aims at some of the things that are in power of others to be unhampered? -No- Is it feasible for him to be unimpeded? -No- [IV,1,65] Therefore he is not free. Look, then: have we nothing in our exclusive power, or is everything in our exclusive power, or some things are in our exclusive power and others in the power of other people? -How do you say?- [IV,1,66] When you want your body to be intact, is this in your exclusive power or not? -It is not in my exclusive power- And it to be healthy? -Nor this, either- And it to be handsome? -Nor this, either- It to live or to die? -Nor this, either- Therefore the body is what is another’s, it is subjected to everything that is stronger than it. -Let it be so- [IV,1,67] And your land, is it in your exclusive power to have it when you want, for all the time you want and in the manner you want? -No- And your servants? -No- Your robes? -No- Your house? -No- Your horses? -None of these things- And if you want at any cost your offspring or wife or brother or friends to live, is this in your exclusive power? -Nor this, either-

Is there anything that is in our exclusive power? Yes, there is (68-75)

[IV,1,68] Have you, then, nothing unconditioned, that is in your exclusive power or do you have something of this sort? -I don’t know- [IV,1,69] Look, then, and analyse it in this way. Can anyone make you assent to what is false? -No one- In the topic of assent, then, you are unhampered and unhindered. -Let it be so- [IV,1,70] Come on, can anyone constrain you to impel to what you do not want? – He can. For when he threatens me with death or chains he constrains me to impel- But if you despise to die or to be fettered, do you turn any longer your mind towards him? -No- [IV,1,71] Is it, then, your work to despise death or is it not yours? -It is mine- So it is your own work also to impel or is it not? -Let it be mine- And to repel something? This also is yours. [IV,1,72] -What then if, when I start walking, the fellow hampers me?- What will he hamper of you? Perhaps your assent? -No, but my body- Yes, as he would hamper a stone. -Let it be so, but I do no longer walk- [IV,1,73] And who told you that “to walk is an unhampered work of your own”? For I said unhampered only to impel. Where there is need of the body and of its cooperation, you have heard long ago that nothing is yours. -Let it be so also this- [IV,1,74] And can anyone compel you to desire what you do not want? -No one- Compel you to propose or design or in short to use the impressions that befall you? [IV,1,75] -Nor that either, but when I desire he will prevent me from achieving what I desire- If you desire some of the things that are yours and unhampered, how will he hamper you? -Not at all- Who, then, tells you that the one who desires what is another’s is unhampered?

This is the Truth, put it in practice and do not fear its consequences (76-80)

[IV,1,76] -Should I not, then, desire bodily health?- Not at all, nor anything else of what is another’s. [IV,1,77] For what is not in your exclusive power to arrange or keep when you dispose so, this is what is another’s. Keep far away from it not only your hands but above all your desire. Otherwise you enslaved yourself, you bowed your neck, whatever the thing that is not yours and that you are infatuated with may be, whatever is the subjected and mortal thing for which you are pining away. [IV,1,78] -Is not my hand mine?- It is a part of you, but by the nature of things it is clay, it is the hampered, constrained, servant of everything that is stronger than it. [IV,1,79] But why do I tell you the “hand”? You ought to treat your whole body like a loaded-down donkey, as long as it is possible, as long as it is given. And if there is an impressment and a soldier lays hold of it let it go, do not contend, do not grumble. Otherwise you will take blows and nevertheless you will lose your donkey. [IV,1,80] When you ought to behave in this way towards your body, look what is left for you to do about all the other things that are provided for the sake of the body. When the body is a donkey, the rest will be bridles of the donkey, pack-saddles, shoes, barley, fodder. Let them also go, set them free more quickly and more light-heartedly than the donkey.

Provided with diairesis… (81)

[IV,1,81] Once prepared in this way, exercised in the exercise of distinguishing what is another’s from what is your own, what is hampered from what is unhampered, to believe that this is for you while the former is not, to have thoughtfully here your desire, here your aversion: do you any longer fear anyone?

…what will you fear? (82-85)

[IV,1,82] -No one- And what will you fear about? About what is yours and where is for you the substance of good and evil? Who has power on this? Who can deprive you of this, who can hinder you? No more than one can hinder Zeus. [IV,1,83] Do you fear for the body, for the estate, for what is another’s, for what is nothing to you? And what else did you study from the beginning but how to distinguish what is yours and what is not yours, what is and what is not in your exclusive power, what is hampered and what is unhampered? For what purpose did you come to the philosophers? That you might nevertheless be misfortuned and have ill fortune? [IV,1,84] In this way you will not be able to

control fear and disconcertment. What is grief for you? For the fear of things expected becomes grief when they are present. What do you still crave? Now you have a well proportioned and reconstituted desire of what is proairetic because you know that this is beautiful and present; and you desire nothing of what is aproairetic, so that that certain element which is unreasonable, impetuous, urgent beyond measure may not have a place. [IV,1,85] When, then, you are behaving in this way towards the things, which person can still be fearful to you? What is frightening in a person either when seen or chatting or, generally, when one interacts with him, for another person? Nothing more than a horse can be frightening for another horse or a dog for another dog or a bee for another bee. But it is things that frighten each of us, and when a person can secure these things for or deprive someone of them, then this person becomes frightening.

The comparison of the demolition of the acropolis that is within ourselves and of the town’s acropolis (86-88)

[IV,1,86] How is an acropolis put down? Not by iron nor by fire but by judgements. For if we crush the acropolis of the town, have we perhaps thrown away the acropolis of fever also, that of handsome females, in short the acropolis that is within us and the tyrants that are within us? Have we thrown away those who are tyrants of each of us every day, and are sometimes the same tyrants and sometimes others? [IV,1,87] Thence we must begin and thence we must crush the acropolis, casting out the tyrants: we must disregard the body, its parts, its arts and faculties, our estate, fame, offices, honours, offspring, brothers, friends. All this we must believe another’s. [IV,1,88] And if thence the tyrants are cast out why, on my account, is there still reason to raze the walls of the acropolis? For if it stays, what harm does it to me? Why any longer should I cast out the bodyguards? Whence do I become aware of them? It is against others that they have their rods, their spears and daggers.

I am accountable only for the acropolis that is within me, not for the one that is in town (89-90)

[IV,1,89] I was never hampered when I disposed something nor I was ever constrained when I did not dispose it. How is this possible? I have adjoined my impulse to Matter Immortal. It disposes that I have a fever: and I dispose it too. It disposes that I impel to something: and I dispose it too. It disposes that I desire: and I dispose it too. It disposes that I obtain something: and I decide it. It does not dispose it: I do not decide it. [IV,1,90] Then I dispose to die; then I dispose to be racked. Who can hamper me any longer or compel me contrary to what appears true to me? No more than one can hamper or compel Zeus.

The comparison of the wise traveller, who is able to find the safe fellow (91-98)

[IV,1,91] So do also the safest travellers. One has heard that the way is infested with robbers. He does not dare to venture alone, but awaits the caravan of an ambassador or of a quaestor or of a proconsul and attaching himself to their party he passes on in safety. [IV,1,92] So also does, in this world, the prudent man. “Many robberies, tyrants, storms, want of means, wasting of the dearest things. [IV,1,93] Where to find a refuge? How to pass on without being robbed? After awaiting which caravan in order to cross in safety? [IV,1,94] To whom should he attach himself? To So-and-so, a money’s rich fellow, or to one of consular rank? And how does it avail me? He himself is stripped naked, wails, mourns. And what if my fellow-traveller turns upon me and robs me? [IV,1,95] What have I to do? I’ll be a friend of Caesar, and being his fellow no one will wrong me. In the first place, how many things I must endure and experience, how many times and by how many people I must be robbed in order to become his friend! [IV,1,96] And then, if I become his friend, Caesar, too, is mortal. And if he, because of some circumstance, becomes my personal enemy, to where is it better for me to withdraw? To a lonely place? [IV,1,97] Come on, and there does not fever come? What, then, will happen? Is it impossible to find a safe, faithful, strong, not insidious fellow-traveller?” [IV,1,98] Thus he reflects and comes to the concept that if he adjoins himself to Zeus, he will cross in safety.

Our only safe fellow is Matter Immortal, with its excellent laws (99-102)

[IV,1,99] -How do you say ‘adjoin oneself”?- So that what Zeus disposes, the man also disposes; and what Zeus does not dispose, the man also does not dispose. [IV,1,100] -How will this happen?- How else than by examining the impulses and the government of Matter Immortal? What has It given me that is mine and unconditioned? What did It forsake for Itself? It gave me the proairetic things, It has placed this in my exclusive power, unhindered, unhampered. But the body made of clay, how could Matter Immortal have made it unhampered? Matter Immortal, then, subordinated my estate, furniture, house, offspring, wife to the regular cycle of the whole. [IV,1,101] Why, then, fight against Matter Immortal? Why do I want what I cannot dispose; why do I want to have at any cost what is not given to me? But how? As it has been given and for how long it has been given. – But he who gives, also takes away- Why, then, do I contend? I do not say that I’ll be silly using force upon one who is stronger, but still earlier that I am unjust. [IV,1,102] I came in this world having what I have from where? -My father gave it to me- And who gave it to him? Who has made the sun, who the fruits, who the seasons, who sexuality and the sociability of men one with another?

Soul’s immortality is not the desire of a free man but of a foolish slave (103-106)

[IV,1,103] After having taken everything from another one, and your very self too, are you vexed and do you blame the giver, if It takes away anything? [IV,1,104] Who are you and for what purpose have you come to this world? Did not Matter Immortal introduce you here? Did not Matter Immortal show you the light? Has It not given you co-workers, sensations, reason? As what kind of creature did Matter Immortal introduce you here? Not as a mortal being? Not in order to live on earth with a bit of flesh, to observe Its government, to parade and to feast with It for a while? [IV,1,105] Don’t you want, then, till it has been given to you, to observe the parade and the festival and then, when you draw out from it, to proceed in reverence and gratitude for what you heard and saw? “No, but I wanted to feast further”. [IV,1,106] Also the initiates in the mysteries want to go on with the initiation and those at Olympia probably desire to watch more athletes. But the festival has an end. Go out, get rid of it as a grateful and self respecting man. Give place to others. Other people too must be born precisely as you were born and, once born, to have a country and dwellings and provisions. If the first-comers do not slowly retire, what is left over? Why are you insatiate? Why are you dissatisfied with everything? Why do you distress the world?

If you are not satisfied with it, go out! (107-110)

[IV,1,107] -Yes, but I want my offspring and my wife to be with me- For, are they yours? Are they not of the giver? Are they not of the one that has made you too? And then will you not withdraw from what is another’s? Will you not give way to the better? [IV,1,108] -Why did Matter Immortal introduce me into the world on these terms?- If this thing does not suit you, go out! Matter Immortal does not need a faultfinding observer. It needs those who feast with It and join in the dance, that they may rather applaud, treat It as a god and sing a hymn in praise of the festival. [IV,1,109] Matter Immortal will, not unpleasantly, look at slothful and cowardly people as people left out of the festival; for when they were present, they did not pass their life as in a feast nor did they fulfill their fitting task but they were sorry, they blamed their genes, their fortune, those who were with them; insensible to what came to their lot and of the faculties that equip them to face the difficulties: magnanimity, generosity, virility, the very freedom for which we are now seeking. [IV,1,110] -For what purpose, then, have I got the aproairetic things? -To use them. -Till when?- Till the lender disposes so. -And if they are necessary to me?- Do not pine away for them and they will not be necessary. Do not say to yourself that they are necessary and they are not necessary.

A very good daily exercise (111-113)

[IV,1,111] This is the study that we should conduct from morning till evening. Beginning from the smallest things, the more fragile ones: a pot, a drinking-cup; and then go on to the garment, to dogs, to

horses, to a bit of land; and thence to yourself: your body, its parts, your offspring, wife, brothers. [IV,1,112] Look them around from every side and throw them away from you. Clean your judgements, if anything that is not yours has ever remained glued to you, that it may not become connatural, that you may not be sorry when it is dragged away. [IV,1,113] And if you train yourself every day, as you do in the gymnasium, do not say that you do philosophy (let this name be a wearisome one) but that you have an emancipator, for this is indeed freedom.

The freedom and Diogenes (114-117)

[IV,1,114] In this way Diogenes was freed from Antisthenes, and afterwards said that he could be no longer enslaved by any one. [IV,1,115] Look how he, thanks to this, dealt with the pirates when he was captured: did he ever call any of them “Lord”? And I am not talking of the name, for I do not fear the words, but of the passion from which the word gushes. [IV,1,116] How he reproached them because they were feeding the captives poorly! And when he was retailed did he seek, perhaps, a “Lord”? No, but a servant. And how, after he was retailed, he treated his master! Straightaway he argued with him, telling him that he ought not to have attired himself in that way, not shorn in that way and, about his sons, how they ought to pass their lives. [IV,1,117] What is amazing in that? For if he had purchased a gymnastic trainer would he have treated him as a manservant or as a lord in issues relating to the wrestling-school? And in the same way if he had purchased a physician or an architect. Thus in each subject matter it is inevitable that the skilled person master the unskilled one.

The possession of the science of living and the freedom (118-119)

[IV,1,118] And in general whoever possesses the science of living, what else ought he to be but the master? For who is lord in a ship? -The steersman- Why? -Because the one who disobeys him is penalized- [IV,1,119] But can he flay me? -Can he do that without a penalty?- So I judged. But because he cannot do it without a penalty, for this reason he has not that power. No one can do an injustice without penalty.

He who ignores the science of living has in this very fact his penalty (120-122)

[IV,1,120] -And what is the penalty for the person who, when he deems so, fetters his own servant?- The fact of fettering him. This is what you too will acknowledge, if you wish to safeguard the judgement that the man is not a beast but a tame creature. [IV,1,121] For, when does a vine fare badly? When it fares contrary to its own nature. And a cock? In the same way. [IV,1,122] A man too, then. And which is his nature? To bite, to kick, to throw into prison and behead? No, but to do well, to cooperate, to wish good things. Therefore he is faring badly, whether you will or not, when he acts without intelligence.

The happiness of Socrates and the unhappiness of his prosecutors and judges (123-127)

[IV,1,123] -So that Socrates did not fare badly?- No, but his judges and his accusers. -Nor Helvidius at Rome?- No, but the one who killed him. [IV,1,124] -How do you say that?- As you, too, say that the winning cock does not fare badly, even if cut to pieces; but the defeated one, even if unwounded. Nor you deem a dog happy when he does not pursue the prey and does not toil but when you see it sweating, suffering, broken by the run. [IV,1,125] Why do we say a paradox if we say that everything’s evil is what is contrary to its own nature? Is this a paradox? Don’t you say that for all other creatures? Why, in the case of man alone, do you drift along otherwise? [IV,1,126] But as we say that the nature of man is tame, unselfish, faithful, this is not a paradox. -No, it is not- [IV,1,127] -How, then, is the man not damaged even if he is flayed or fettered or beheaded?- It is not so if he experiences it generously and he goes out getting from this both gain and benefit; while damaged is the human being who experiences the most lamentable and shameful things; who, instead of a man, becomes a wolf or a viper or a wasp.

An unforgettable summary (128-131)

[IV,1,128] Come on, let’s come to the acknowledged points. The unhampered man, the man who has the things ready at hand as he decides them, is free. On the contrary the one whom it is possible to hamper or constrain or hinder or cast out unwillingly into something, is a slave. [IV,1,129] Who is unhampered? The man who aims at nothing that is another’s. What is another’s? What it is not in our exclusive power to have or not to have or to have of a certain kind or in a certain state. [IV,1,130] Therefore the body is another’s, its parts are another’s, the estate is another’s. If you, then, pine away for any of these things as exclusively yours, you will pay the penalty deserved by one who aims at what is another’s. [IV,1,131] This way leads to freedom, this is the only release from servitude: to be able to say at some time with our entire soul * Lead me, Zeus, and you indeed, Destiny, to that goal long ago to me assigned *.

The wise man is able to take decisions about good and evil at a glance (132-134)

[IV,1,132] But what do you say, philosopher? The tyrant calls upon you to say one of those things that are not fitting for you. Do you say it or not say it? Tell me. -Let me analyse the question- Do you analyse it now? When you were at school, what did you analyse? Did you not study what is good, what is evil and what is oudeterous? -I analysed this- [IV,1,133] Which conclusions were you pleased with? – That the just and beautiful things are goods; the unjust and shameful one are evils- Is perhaps life a good? -No- Is perhaps to die an evil? -No- Is perhaps prison an evil? -No- But a mean and faithless discourse, the betrayal of a friend, the flattery of a tyrant, what did they appear to you? -Evils- [IV,1,134] What then? You are not analysing the question now, nor have you hitherto analysed or deliberated about it. What kind of analysis? Knowing that I can do this, if it is proper that I secure for myself the greatest goods and not secure the greatest evils? Wonderful analysis, necessary and needing much deliberation! Why do you mock us, sir? Such an analysis never happens.

But you waver, and say one thing at school and another thing out of the school (135-138)

[IV,1,135] You would not have come to this statement, nor near it, if you truly imagined that the shameful things are evil and that the rest is oudeterous. But you would immediately distinguish, as with your sight, with your intellect. [IV,1,136] For when do you analyse whether the black is white, whether the heavy is light? Do you not stick to what appears as evidence? How, then, do you say that you are analysing now whether what is oudeterous has to be avoided more than what is evil? [IV,1,137] But you do not have these judgements, and these things -death and prison- do not appear to you oudeterous things but the greatest evils. Nor those things -a faithless discourse, the betrayal of a friend, the flattery of a tyrant- appear to you evils, but rather things that are nothing to us. [IV,1,138] For from the beginning you accustomed yourself to say so: “Where am I? At school. Who hears me? I am talking with the philosophers. But now I have gone out of the school: remove those judgements worthy of schoolboys and stupid people!”

Contradiction between theory and practice? Not at all. (138-140)

In this way a friend is condemned on the testimony of a philosopher. [IV,1,139] In this way a philosopher becomes a parasite; in this way a philosopher rents himself for money and in the Senate someone does not say what appears true to him. While within his head his judgement shouts loudly, [IV,1,140] not a cold and paltry conception depending on idle reasoning as on a hair, but a potent conception, one fit for use, one familiar with its business by having been trained through hard work.

Men and worms (141-143)

[IV,1,141] Be on your guard, and see how you hear -I do not say: that your child died; how would you

react?- that your oil was spilled, that your wine was drained dry. [IV,1,142] That someone, standing by your side while you are furious, may tell you only this: “O philosopher, at school you say other things. Why do you deceive us? Why do you say to be a man while you are a worm?” [IV,1,143] I would like to stand by the side of one of these philosophers while he is having sexual intercourse, that I may see how he is tense and what words he lets loose, if he remembers his name and the discourses that he hears or says or reads.

The slavery of people who, because they are wealthy in money, believe to be free (144-150)

[IV,1,144] -What has this to do with freedom?- Nothing else but this has to do with freedom, whether you wealthy people so wish or not. [IV,1,145] -And who witnesses this?- Who but you yourself, who have the Great Lord and live at his bidding and motion; who grow cold if only he looks at one of you with a hardened gaze; who look after old ladies and old crooks and say: “I cannot do this: I have not this power”? [IV,1,146] Why don’t you have this power? Did you not contradict me just now saying that you are free? “But Aprulla has hampered me!” Tell, then, the truth, slave; and do not run away from your Lords, do not make denials, do not dare to present your emancipator when you have so many controls of your servitude! [IV,1,147] Yet one would still conceive more worthy of excuse the fellow who is compelled by amorous passion to do something contrary to what appears true to him, who at the same time sees what would be better for him but lacks the right tension to follow it, inasmuch as he is stably held by something violent and somehow divine. [IV,1,148] But who would tolerate you when you play the lover of old ladies and old crooks, when you wipe their nose, rinse them, give them gifts and while -when they are sick- you cure them as a servant, in the meantime you wish them die and consult the physicians in order to know if they are eventually near death? Or again when, for the sake of these great and solemn offices and honours, you kiss the hands of another’s slaves, that you may be the servant of people who are not even free? [IV,1,149] And then you walk around solemn, in your dignity as a praetor or a consul. Don’t I know how you became praetor, whence you got the consulship, whom gave it to you? [IV,1,150] As for me, I would not dispose to live if one had to live by the intercession of Felicio, tolerating his frown and his servile insolence: for I know what is a servant who has what seems to be good fortune and is puffed up with pride.

A free man? Diogenes (151-158)

[IV,1,151] -But you, says someone, are you free?- I want this, by the gods; and I wish it. But I am yet unable to look in the face of my Lords; I still honour my body; I hold in high esteem the fact of having it intact even if it is not intact. [IV,1,152] But I can show you a free man, so that you may no more seek a paradigm. Diogenes was free. Whence do you know this? Not because he was born from free parents, for he was not; but because he himself was free, because he had thrown away all the handles of servitude and there was no way to come upon him nor whence to take and enslave him. [IV,1,153] He could easily unbind himself from everything, everything was only glued to him. If you had laid hold of his estate, he would have let it loose, rather than follow you for its sake. If you had laid hold of his leg, he would have let loose the leg; if of the whole body, the whole body; and of household, friends, fatherland in the same way. He knew whence and from what he had those things and on which terms. [IV,1,154] He would have never abandoned his authentic ancestors, the gods, and his real fatherland; nor he would have given way to another in more obedience and heed to them, nor another would have died for his fatherland more light-heartedly than him. [IV,1,155] For he did not seek to seem, at some time, to be doing anything on behalf of the whole, but remembered that all that happens comes from there, is performed on behalf of that fatherland and handed down through the law that governs it. Therefore see what he himself says and writes: [IV,1,156] “For this reason”, he says, “you, Diogenes, have the power to argue as you decide with the king of the Persians and with Archidamus, king of the Lacedaemonians”. [IV,1,157] Was it so because he was born from free parents? Was it because they were the offspring of enslaved people that all the Athenians, all the Lacedaemonians and Corinthians were unable to argue with those kings as they wanted to do but feared and paid court to them,? [IV,1,158] Why, then, someone says, have you this power? “Because I believe the body not to be mine,

because I need nobody, because the law and nothing else is everything to me”. This is what allowed him to be free.

Another free man? Socrates (159-166)

[IV,1,159] And that you may not think I am showing the paradigm of a solitary man, one who has neither wife nor offspring nor fatherland or friends or congenerous from whom he could be bent and distracted, take Socrates and observe a man who has a wife and children -even if as another’s things-, fatherland, -as much and how one ought to have it- friends and congenerous; who has subordinated all this to the law and to ready obedience to the law. [IV,1,160] For this reason, when he had to serve in a military campaign, he went away first and there unsparingly ran risks. When he was sent by the Tyrants to fetch Leon, because he thought this deed a shameful one, he did not take counsel on this subject, although he knew that might die as a result. [IV,1,161] And what difference did it make to him? For he disposed to save something else: not the flesh but the faithful, self respecting man. This cannot be tampered with, this is impossible to subordinate. [IV,1,162] And then when he had to speak in defence of his life, does he deal with this business as one who has offspring and wife? No, but as one who is alone. And when he had to drink the poison, how does he deal with this? [IV,1,163] When he could preserve himself in life and Crito told him: “Go out, do it for your children”, what did Socrates say? Did he believe this an unexpected piece of luck? Whence? But he considers what is decorous and the rest he does not see or calculate. For he did not want, he says, save the body, but what is grown and saved by just conduct, while is diminished and lost by unjust conduct. [IV,1,164] Socrates does not save himself in a shameful way; he who refused to put the vote when the Athenians summoned him to do so; he who disdained the Tyrants; he who argues in that way about virtue and about human excellence. [IV,1,165] It is not possible to safeguard this man with a shameful deed; this man is safeguarded by death and not by flight. For also the good actor is safeguarded as such if he stops talking when he has to stop, rather than playing out of the right time. [IV,1,166] What will, then, the children do? “If I had gone away to Thessaly, you would have taken care of them; and if I set off to Hades, will there be no one to take care of them?” Look how he calls death soft names and scoffs at it!

What would have we done if we had to meet the circumstances that Socrates met? (167-169)

[IV,1,167] But if it had been you and I, straightaway we would have philosophized “One must resist the wrongdoers with equal weapons” and added up “If I save myself I’ll be of avail to many people; if I die, to nobody” and if we had to crawl out through a hole to escape, we would have gone out through it! [IV,1,168] And how would we have benefited anybody? Where would we have been of benefit remaining there? And if by living we would have benefited anybody, would we not have benefited people much more by dying when one has and how one has to die? [IV,1,169] Now that Socrates is dead, the memory of what he performed or said when living is not less beneficial to people but, on the contrary, even more beneficial.

Look at these models (170-175)

[IV,1,170] Study these models, these judgements, these discourses; have in view these paradigms if you dispose to be free, if you crave for freedom in proportion to its value. [IV,1,171] And what is amazing there, if you purchase a thing so important at the price of things so many and so great? For the sake of this legitimate freedom some hang themselves, others hurl themselves down a cliff and sometimes entire towns perish. [IV,1,172] And for the sake of the authentic, not insidious, safe freedom, will you not give back to Matter Immortal what It has given, when It demands it back? As Plato says, will you not study not only to die, but also to be racked, to be exiled, to be flayed and in short to give back what is another’s? [IV,1,173] You will therefore be a servant among servants even if you are consul ten thousand times; even if you climb up the Palatine hill, a servant none the less. And you will realize that the philosophers possibly say paradoxes, precisely as Cleanthes says, but certainly not what is contrary to reason. [IV,1,174] For you will know in practice that what they say is true and that none of these

things which are admired and which you are eager for avail those who obtain them. Those who have not yet obtained them imagine that, once these things become present, all things good will be present to them. And then, when these things become present the burning heat is just as bad, the restlessness of this people is the same, and so is their surfeit and their craving for what they do not have. [IV,1,175] For freedom is not arranged through the fulfilment of what they crave but by the suppression of their craving.

Freedom is obtained by removing the craving for what is not in our exclusive power, that is striving to acquire the diairetic judgement (176-177)

[IV,1,176] And that you may know that this is true, as you have toiled for those things, so transpose your toil upon these too: stay awake to secure the judgement that frees you. [IV,1,177] Instead of looking after an old fellow who is wealthy in money, look after a philosopher. Let you be seen at his doors. If seen, you will have not behaved indecently; you will not depart empty and without gain, if you come to him as one ought. Otherwise, try at least; the experiment is not shameful.


My pupil must forget complaisance at any cost and learn how to play rationally with diairesis and antidiairesis (1-6)

[IV,2,1] In this topic, first of all you ought to pay attention not to mix again with some of your former intimates or friends so as to condescend to do the same things with him. Otherwise you will lose yourself. [IV,2,2] If the thought is insinuated in you: “I’ll appear awkward to him and he will not behave with me as before”, remember that nothing happens free of charge and that it is not possible, if you are not doing the same things, to be the same person as before. [IV,2,3] Choose, then, whether you dispose to be similarly loved by those who loved you before, remaining similar to your former self; or, being better, to lose the same affection. [IV,2,4] For if this is better, immediately bend your mind towards this and let no other considerations distract you. No one who plays a double game can make profit and, if you have preferred this above all, if you dispose to be for this only, to do all you can to achieve it, give up all the rest. [IV,2,5] Otherwise ambivalence will prevent you from making a profit as it’s worth and to obtain what you used to obtain before. [IV,2,6] For before, when you aimed at exquisitely worthless things, you were pleasant to those who were with you.

Do you prefer to be a boozer and please the people or a sober man unpleasant to them? (7-9)

[IV,2,7] You cannot excel in both forms of behaviour, but it is necessary for you to be left behind in one to the degree in which you associate to the other. If you do not drink in the company of those you used to drink with, you cannot appear pleasant to them. Choose, then, whether you dispose to be a boozer and pleasant to those fellows or a sober man and unpleasant. If you do not sing with those you used to sing with, you cannot be similarly loved by them. Here too choose, then, what you dispose. [IV,2,8] For if to be a self respecting and well-regulated man is better than for someone to say of you “a pleasant person”, give up the rest, despair of it, turn away from it, let nothing be between you and it. [IV,2,9] If you are not pleased with this, incline entirely to the opposite: become one of the lewd fellows, one of the adulterers, do what comes next and you will obtain what you want. Jump up and yell to the dancer!

The choice is anyway unavoidable (10)

[IV,2,10] So different personalities do not mix together: you cannot play both Thersites and Agamemnon. If you dispose to be Thersites you ought to be humpbacked and bald. If Agamemnon

you ought to be tall, wonderful and to love your subordinates.


To get a beautiful action rather than some coins is not a loss but a gain for you (1-3)

[IV,3,1] When you leave behind some external object, have ready at hand the thought of what you are securing for yourself in its place. And if this is more valuable, never say: “I have been penalized”. [IV,3,2] You have not been penalized if in place of an ass you secure a horse, in place of a sheep an ox, in place of coins a beautiful action, in place of cold discourses a quiet as it ought to be, in place of smutty talk, the self respect. [IV,3,3] Mindful of this, you will preserve everywhere the sort of role you ought to have. Otherwise consider that you are losing your time at random and that you are going to spill out and undo all the attention that you pay to yourself now.

The transition from diairesis to counterdiairesis and vice versa is but a small twisting of our reason…(4-7)

[IV,3,4] Little is needed to lose and overthrow everything: a small twisting of reason. [IV,3,5] In order to overthrow his vessel, the steersman does not need the same preparation he needs in order to safeguard it. If he turns a little by the wind side, he is lost. And if he looses his attention even unwillingly, he is lost. [IV,3,6] Something of this sort happens here too. If you slumber a little, all you have amassed till now is gone. [IV,3,7] Pay attention, then, to your impressions; stay awake because of them. For the treasure you keep is not small but is self respect, is faithfulness, stability of judgement, self control, control of grief, control of fear, undisconcertment, in short is freedom.

If you are more valuable than all the gold of the world, at what price are you going to sell yourself? (8-10)

[IV,3,8] At what price are you going to sell these things? Notice how valuable they are. -But I’ll not obtain something of the sort that he obtains!- But when he obtains anything, notice what he gets in return. [IV,3,9] “I get orderly behaviour, he gets a tribuneship. He a praetorship, I self respect. I do not cry aloud where it’s unfitting; I’ll not stand up when one ought not. For I am free and friend of Zeus, that I may obey It purposely. [IV,3,10] I ought to lay claim to nothing else: not to the body, not to estate, not to office, not to fame; in short to nothing, nor does It decides that I lay claim to them. For if It so disposed, It would have made them my goods. But It has not made them so; for this reason I cannot violate any of Its directions”.

Be content to use the external objects in a rational way, that is, in accord with the nature of things (11-12)

[IV,3,11] Keep your own good well protected in every circumstance and, as for the rest, keep it according to what is given and so as to deal with it rationally, and be content with this only. Otherwise you will have ill fortune, you will be misfortuned, hampered, hindered. [IV,3,12] These are the laws that have been dispatched from There, these are the ordinances. Of these you ought to become an interpreter, to these become subordinated; not to those of Masurius and Cassius.


To crave for or against an external object does not make any difference. In both cases we show ourselves unable to use it rightly so as to enjoy serenity (1-5)

[IV,4,1] Remember that it is not only the craving of offices and money’s wealth that make people slave- minded and subordinated to others, but also the craving of quiet, of leisure, of setting off, of scholarship. In short whatever the external object, its price subordinates you to another. [IV,4,2] What difference, then, does it make to crave being a Senator or not being a Senator? What difference does it make to crave for an office or for not having it? What difference does it make to say “I fare badly, I have nothing to perform but am tied down to books like a corpse”, or say “I fare badly, I have no abundant leisure to read”? [IV,4,3] For as salutations and offices are external and aproairetic objects, so is also a book. [IV,4,4] Why do you want to read? Tell me. If you turn to reading because your soul is won by it or in order to learn something, you are a cold and slothful fellow. If you refer reading to what it ought to be referred, what else is this but serenity? And if reading does not secure you serenity, how does it avail you? [IV,4,5] -It secures me serenity, one says, and for this reason I am vexed when I must leave reading behind- And which serenity is this, that a chance comer can hinder, I don’t say Caesar or a friend of Caesar but a crow, a flute-player, a fever and thirty thousand other things? Serenity cleaves to nothing so strongly as to continuity and freedom from hindrance.

How to stop always making the same errors? (6-7)

[IV,4,6] I am called now to perform a certain task. I’ll go now with the purpose of paying attention to the measures that one ought to keep, in order to act with self respect, with safety, apart from desire of and aversion for external objects. [IV,4,7] Furthermore I pay attention to people, to what they say, to how they move; and this I do not with a malignant attitude nor in order to have something to censure or mock, but to turn my mind towards myself and see whether I too am performing the same aberrations. “How to stop, then?” At that time I too was aberrant; now no longer, thanks to Zeus…

We do not live in order to study but we study in order to live well (8-13)

[IV,4,8] Come on, once you have done this and come to these things, have you done anything worse than reading a thousand lines or writing as many? When you eat, do you take offence because you are not reading? Are you not content with eating according to the principles you learned by reading? And when you take a warm bath? When you train? [IV,4,9] Why, then, are you not the same in all cases, both when you approach Caesar and when you approach So-and-so? If you remain the self-controlled, the undaunted, the restrained man; [IV,4,10] if you notice what happens rather than being noticed, if you do not envy those who are honoured above you, if you are not panic-stricken by the subject matters of life: what do you lack? [IV,4,11] Books? How and for what? Are not books a preparation for life? But life is then filled with things other than books. As if an athlete, when he enters the stadium, would cry because he is not training outside. [IV,4,12] But you trained for these contests; the jumping- weights, the sand, your young training partners were for this. And now do you look for those things when it’s time to work? [IV,4,13] Like if in the topic of assent, while some cataleptic and acataleptic impressions stand side by side, we should dispose not to distinguish them but to read the books “On apprehension”.

We, instead, do not study in order to live well but, if given the chance, to explain to others what we have studied (14-18)

[IV,4,14] What then, is the cause of this? That we never read for this purpose, never wrote for this purpose, that in our daily work we may use the impressions that befall us in accord with the nature of things, but we end by learning what is said and by being able to explain it to someone else, by resolving a syllogism, by scouring a hypothetical argument. [IV,4,15] For this reason where there is eagerness, there is also hindrance. Do you want at any cost what is not in your exclusive power? Be therefore hampered, be hindered, fail! [IV,4,16] If, instead, we should read the books “On impulse” not in order to see what is said about impulse but in order to impel well; and the books “On desire and aversion” in order that we may never fail when we desire nor, when we avert something, stumble on what we avert; and the books “On proper deeds” in order that, mindful of social relationships, we may do nothing

unreasonably nor contrary to them: [IV,4,17] well, we would not be vexed when we are hindered in our readings but we would be content with performing the appropriate deeds in return; and would not number what we are accustomed to number till now “Today I read so many lines, so many I wrote”, [IV,4,18] but we would say: “Today I used impulse as it is prescribed by the philosophers, I did not use desire, I used aversion only towards proairetic things, I was not terrified by So-and-so, I was not discountenanced by So-and-so, I trained my ability to tolerate another’s intemperance, my ability to abstain from it, my cooperativity”, and in this way we should thank Matter Immortal for what one ought to thank It.

If the external objects are not goods they are not anyway evils and can be called with good reason ‘oudeterous things’ (19- 22)

[IV,4,19] Now we do not know that we too, though in a different way, become similar to the multitude. Another fellow fears that he may not hold office; you to hold it. Not at all, sir! [IV,4,20] But as you mock the one who fears that he will not hold office, so mock yourself too. For it makes no difference to be thirsty because one has a fever or to fear water because one is sick with rabies. [IV,4,21] How will you any longer be able to say with Socrates “If it pleases Zeus, let it be so”? If Socrates craved to spend his leisure in the Lyceum or in the Academy and to argue every day with youths, do you deem that he would have served in such a light-hearted way in so many military campaigns? Would he not regret and groan “Wretched me! Now I am here, miserable and misfortuned when I could be sunning myself in the Lyceum”? [IV,4,22 ] Was this his work: to sun himself? Was it not to be serene, unhampered, unimpeded? And how would he still be Socrates if he regretted these things? How could he still write paeans in prison?

To give a wrong value, either positive or negative, to external objects means to improperly set in motion our counterdiairesis and therefore enslave our proairesis (23-28)

[IV,4,23] In short, remember that whatever outside of your proairesis you will honour, you have lost your proairesis. And outside of it there is not only an office but also the lack of an office, not only a commitment but also the leisure. [IV,4,24] “Am I now, then, to enjoy myself in this turmoil?” Why do you say turmoil? Being among many people, what is embittering about that? Imagine that you are at Olympia, believe it to be a festival. There too one has cried aloud something and another something else, one performs something and another something else, one jostles another, there is a mob at the baths. And who of us does not rejoice at this festival and is not sorry for being far from it? [IV,4,25] Do not become a person difficult to please, a stomach weak person in the face of the events. “The vinegar is rotten, for it’s acid”. “The honey is rotten, for it disrupts my body’s state”. “I do not want garden vegetables”. And so: “I do not want the leisure, it is loneliness”, “I do not want a mob, it is turmoil”. [IV,4,26] But if the affairs of life cause you to enjoy yourself alone or with few people, call this quiet and use the thing for what one ought: chat with yourself, train your impressions, refine your preconceptions. [IV,4,27] If, however, you run into a mob, call it a contest, a festival, a feast, and try to feast with the men. Which spectacle is more pleasant for a lover of mankind than the view of many men? We view with pleasure herds of horses or of oxen and when we see a great fleet we are all in joyful effusions: who is annoyed when he notices many men? [IV,4,28] “But they cry down to me”. Your hearing, then, is hindered. What, then, is this to you? Is the faculty that uses the impressions perhaps also hindered? And who prevents you from using desire and aversion, impulse and repulsion in accord with the nature of things? Which turmoil is sufficient to this end?

The right moment to enter the contest has come. Do not moan: unhappiness is an evil (29-32)

[IV,4,29] Remember only the universal principles: “What is mine, what is not mine? What is given to me? What does Zeus dispose me to do now, what does It not dispose?” [IV,4,30] A little while ago It disposed that you should have leisure, chat with yourself, write about these principles, read, listen, prepare: you had sufficient time for this. Now It tells you: “Come now to the contest, show us what

you learned, how you engaged in trials. How long will you train yourself alone? By now is the right time to recognize whether you are an athlete deserving victory or one of those who go around the whole world and are always defeated”. [IV,4,31] Why, then, are you vexed? No contest happens without turmoil. There must be many fellow-wrestlers, many who yell, many supervisors, many spectators. [IV,4,32] -But I wanted to pass my life at ease- Wail therefore and groan as you deserve. For he who is uneducated to diairesize and disobeys the ordinances of Matter Immortal, what other penalty is greater than this, that is to grieve, to mourn, to envy, in short to be misfortuned and have ill fortune? Don’t you want to get rid of this?

In order to get serenity, that is a good, we must remove the desire of what is not in our exclusive power (33-38)

[IV,4,33] -And how shall I get rid of it?- Did you not often hear that you ought to remove totally your desire and turn your aversion towards the proairetic things only? That you ought to give up everything: body, estate, fame, books, turmoil, offices, lack of office? For where you are inclined there you are a servant, you are subordinated, you become hampered, constrained, entirely in the power of others. [IV,4,34] Keep ready at hand instead the line of Cleanthes *Lead me, Zeus, and you indeed, Destiny*. Do You dispose that I go to Rome? I go to Rome. To Gyara? I go to Gyara. To Athens? I go to Athens. To prison? I go to prison. [IV,4,35] If you once say: “When may one depart for Athens?”, you are lost. For it’s necessary that your desire, being imperfect, makes you misfortuned; and if perfect, that it makes you empty, elated at what one ought not be. Again, if you are hindered, you are prey to ill fortune, because you stumble on what you do not want. [IV,4,36] Give up, then, all this. “Athens is beautiful”. But it is much more beautiful to be happy, to be self-controlled, undisconcerted, having your affairs in the power of no one. [IV,4,37] “There is turmoil at Rome, and salutations”. But to be serene is worth all the difficulties. If, then, it is the right time for these things, why don’t you remove the aversion for them? What necessity is there to bear burdens like a belaboured ass? [IV,4,38] Otherwise, see that you must always be the servant of the fellow who can bring about your acquittal, who can hinder you in everything, and you have to look after him as you would after an Evil Genius.

Industry? What kind of industry? Industry is toiling in order to keep our own ruling principle in accord with the nature of things. All the other activities must be defined as what they actually are and therefore in a different way (39-48)

[IV,4,39] There is only one way to serenity (keep this judgement ready at hand at dawn, by day and by night): the detachment from aproairetic things, to believe none of them exclusively ours, to commit everything to our genius, to fortune; to make trustees of them those whom Zeus too has made trustees; [IV,4,40] and to be for one thing only, for what is exclusively yours, for what is unhampered; and to read referring your reading to this end, and so to write and so to listen. [IV,4,41] For this reason I cannot call a fellow industrious if I only hear that he reads or writes. And if one adds up that he does it the entire night, I do not call him industrious till I don’t recognize referring to what he does so. For neither do you call industrious the one who stays awake for the sake of a maiden, nor do I. [IV,4,42] Yet if he does this for the sake of reputation, I call him a lover of fame; if for the sake of money, I call him a lover of money, not industrious. [IV,4,43] But if he toils in reference to his own ruling principle, that he may have it and enjoy himself in accord with the nature of things, only then do I call him industrious. [IV,4,44] Never praise and never censure on the basis of commonplaces, but on the basis of judgements. For these, the judgements, are peculiar to each and are those that make our actions shameful or beautiful. [IV,4,45] Mindful of this, rejoice with what is present and prize what is timely. [IV,4,46] If you see that some judgements that you learned and carefully analysed come to fruition for you in practice, make merry. If you have put away or diminished your malignant attitude, and reviling, recklessness, smutty talk, idleness, negligence; if you are not moved by your former judgements or not in the same way as before, you can feast every day. Today because you conducted yourself as a virtuous man in this work; tomorrow, in another one. [IV,4,47] How much greater cause for a sacrifice is this than a consulship or a province! These goods come to you from yourself and from the gods. Remember who is the giver, to whom and for what. [IV,4,48] Brought up with these considerations, do you still make a distinction about where you will be happy, about where you will please Zeus? From all

quarters are not men equally distant from Zeus? From all quarters do they not see events similarly?


Socrates is wise because he knows that nobody can be master of another’s proairesis (1-6)

[IV,5,1] The virtuous man does not engage in strife with another person nor does he allow, at his best, another to do that. [IV,5,2] The life of Socrates is exposed to us as a paradigm, precisely as in other things, in this one too. He not only avoided strife everywhere, but did not allow others as well to engage in strife. [IV,5,3] See in Xenophon’s ‘Banquet’ how much strife he resolved and, again, how he tolerated Thrasymachus, Polus, Callicles and how he was tolerant with his wife, with his son when this tried to confute him by quibbling. [IV,5,4] For Socrates very safely remembered that nobody dominates another’s ruling principle and wanted nothing else but what was exclusively his own. [IV,5,5] And what is this? If he does only what is exclusively his own to do, not even Socrates is sufficient to convince those people to keep their proairesis in accord with the nature of things; for this, their proairesis, is what is another’s. But Socrates is up to this task: that while those people do what is exclusively theirs as they think it fitting for them, he nevertheless will stay and enjoy himself in accord with the nature of things. [IV,5,6] For this is always the program of the virtuous man. To obtain a praetorship? No; but if this is given to him, to keep his ruling principle, upon this subject matter, in accord with the nature of things. To marry? No; but if marriage is given to him, to keep himself, upon this subject matter, in accord with the nature of things.

To educate oneself means nothing else but to learn diairesis (7)

[IV,5,7] But if he wants his son or his wife to cease their aberrations, he wants what is another’s to cease being what is another’s. And this is the education to diairesis: to learn what is exclusively ours and what is another’s.

A man thus educated on the world’s roads (8-9)

[IV,5,8] Where, then, remains a place for strife, if a man is so disposed? Does he become infatuated with anything that happens? Does anything appear novel to him? Does he not accept from insipient people much worse and much more embittering things than those that occur? And does he not count it a gain that they omitted to do more extreme things? [IV,5,9] “So-and-so reviled you!” I am very grateful to him because he did not strike me. “But he struck you too!” I am very grateful because he did not wound me. “But he wounded you too!” I am very grateful because he did not kill me.

An insipient fellow on the same world’s roads (10-18)

[IV,5,10] For when did he learn, or from whom, that he is a tame, unselfish creature; and that the great damage to the wrongdoer is the injustice in itself? Having, then, not learned this or being persuaded about it, why will he not follow what appears useful to him? [IV,5,11] “My neighbour has thrown some stones!” Did you aberr, then, did you? “But some things in my house were broken!” Are you, then, a vessel? No, but proairesis. [IV,5,12] What, then, is given to you to meet this event? To you as a wolf, to bite on your turn and throw more stones than he did. But if you seek what is given to you as a man, examine your store-room and see with what faculties you have come into this world. Perhaps bestiality? Perhaps the faculty of bearing grudges? [IV,5,13] When is a horse miserable? When it is dispossessed of its natural faculties: not when it cannot sing ‘cuckoo!’ but when it cannot run. [IV,5,14] And the dog? When it cannot fly? No, but when it cannot keep the scent. Is it not, then, in like manner that a person has ill fortune not when he cannot choke lions or embrace statues (for he has come into the world

having from nature certain faculties not to this end) but when he has lost his good intelligence, his faithfulness? [IV,5,15] We ought to gather in order to moan this fellow and the many evils that he has come into and not, by Zeus, the one who is born or who dies, but the one who during his life has lost what is exclusively his own. Not what is of his father, not a bit of land, the house, the inn and the servants (for none of these things is exclusive to the man, but they are all another’s, they are servants, subjected, given by their lords once to one and once to another) but what makes a man, the imprints of the intellect with which he has come to this world, [IV,5,16] those that we seek also upon coinage and if we find them we evaluate the coinage good, while if we do not find them we hurl it away. [IV,5,17] “Whose imprint does this sesterce have? Of Trajan. Bring it here. Of Nero? Hurl it away, it is counterfeit, it is rotten”. So here too. What imprint do his judgements have? “He is gentle, sociable, tolerant of another’s intemperance, unselfish”. Bring him here, I accept him, I make him a citizen; I accept him as a neighbour, as a shipmate. [IV,5,18] Only see that he has not the imprint of Nero. Is he perhaps prone to anger, furious, faultfinding? “When he deems so, he smashes the heads of whom he meets”.

The shocking Truth (19-21)

[IV,5,19] Why, then, do you say that he is a man? For is perhaps each being judged from its mere external appearance? Since, in this way, say that also a waxen apple is an apple. [IV,5,20] But it must also have the aroma and the taste of an apple, the external feature is not sufficient. Not even nose and eyes are, then, adequate to make a man, if he has not the judgements of a man. [IV,5,21] This human being does not listen to reason, does not understand when he is controlled: he is an ass. In this one the self respect has gone into necrosis: he is unprofitable, he is anything but a man. This one looks for someone to kick or bite when he meets him: so that he is not a sheep or an ass but some wild beast.

What kind of approval do you want? The approval of human beings or the approval of men? (22-24)

[IV,5,22] -What then? Do you dispose me to be despised?- By whom? By men of knowledge? And how will they despise me, knowing that I am meek, self respecting? By an ignorant human being? And what do you care? For no other artist cares about the opinions of those unskilled in his art. [IV,5,23] -But they will stick much closer to me!- Why do you say ‘to me’? Can anyone damage your proairesis or prevent it to use the impressions that befall you as it has been born to do? -No- [IV,5,24] Why, then, are you any longer disconcerted and want to show yourself off as a fearful fellow? Will you not come into the midst and proclaim that you are at peace with all people, whatever they will do; and that you mock especially those who deem to damage you? “These slaves know neither who I am nor where my good and my evil are: there is no way for them to approach what is mine”.

Only a stronghold of right judgements is able to resist any attack (25-28)

[IV,5,25] In this way also those who dwell in a well fortified town mock the besiegers: “Why do these people go now to such troubles for nothing? Our walls are safe; we have sufficient food to last a very long time and every other preparation”. [IV,5,26] This is what makes a town well fortified and impregnable. And what makes impregnable the soul of a man is nothing else but his judgements. For what kind of wall is so strong or what kind of body is so adamantine or what kind of estate is so secure against theft or what kind of good name is so unassailable? [IV,5,27] All things are everywhere mortal, easy to capture, and it is inevitable that he who pays attention, in any way, to any of them, is disconcerted, has ill hopes, fears, mourns, has imperfect desires and aversions that stumble on what they avert. [IV,5,28] Then do we not dispose to make well fortified the only safety given to us? And, diverting ourselves from what is mortal and subservient, do we not dispose to labour for what is not mortal at another’s hand and is free by nature? And do we not remember that no person damages or benefits another person, but that it’s the judgement upon each of these things that damages, that overthrows; that the judgement is strife, is civil war, is war?

What happens if we consider as good and evil things not our judgements about the external objects but the external objects themselves? (29-32)

[IV,5,29] What made Eteocles and Polyneices what they were was nothing but this, the judgement upon tyranny, the judgement about exile: that one is the extreme of the evils and the other is the greatest of the goods. [IV,5,30] This is the nature of every being: to pursue his good, to flee from his evil; to believe an enemy, a treacherous fellow, he who deprives us of the first and encompasses us with the opposite, even though he is a brother or a son or a father. For nothing is a closer congenerous to us than the good. [IV,5,31] Well then, if these external things are good and evil, a father is not friend to his sons, nor a brother to a brother; but all is everywhere full of enemies, of treacherous people, of delators. [IV,5,32] But if our only good is proairesis as it ought to be, and the only evil is proairesis as it ought not to be, where is there any longer room for strife, where for reviling? About what? About things that are nothing to us? Against whom? Against ignorant people, against ill fortuned people, against people who have been deceived in the greatest issues?

Only the right judgements produce friendship, peace and justice (33-37)

[IV,5,33] Socrates, mindful of this, administered his house tolerating a very shrewish wife and an unintelligent son. To what end was she shrewish? -To pour over his head as much water as she wanted and to trample underfoot the cake-. And what is this to me, if I conceive that this is nothing to me? [IV,5,34] This is my work and a tyrant will not hamper me from disposing this, nor will a master, nor will the multitude the single individual, nor will the stronger the weaker. For this has been given unhampered to each human being by Matter Immortal. [IV,5,35] These judgements in a house make friendship, in a town concord, among nations peace; make man thankful to Matter Immortal, confident everywhere, because external things are another’s things, because they are worthless. [IV,5,36] We, however, are capable of writing and reading these things and of praising them when they are read; but we are nowhere near to being persuaded by them. [IV,5,37] Therefore what is said about the Lacedaemonians “At home lions, at Ephesus foxes” suits us too: at school lions, outside foxes.


Pitying people, pitied people and pity (1-2)

[IV,6,1] -I am annoyed, says someone, at being pitied- To be pitied, then, is it a work of yours or of those who pity you? What then? Is it in your exclusive power to stop it? -It is in my power, if I show them that I do not deserve their pity- [IV,6,2] But this fact of not deserving pity is it or is it not already there? -I indeed deem it to be there. But these people do not pity me for what, if anything, would deserve pity: that is for my aberrations; but for poverty in money, lack of office, diseases, deaths and other things of this sort-

Two ways for escaping pity (3)

[IV,6,3] Are you, then, prepared to persuade the multitude that no one of those things is evil and that it is possible also for the man who is poor in money and lacks office and honours to be happy; or are you prepared to show yourself off to them wealthy in money and holding office?

The ways of the braggart are numberless (4-5)

[IV,6,4] For of these alternatives the second is that of the cold and worthless braggart. See through what means you could achieve your pretence. You will have to borrow some servants and possess a few

pieces of silverware and show these same pieces openly and often, if possible, trying however to have it pass unnoticed that they are the same; then possess splendid robes and the other parade of finery. You must also show that you are honoured by the most well known persons and try to dine with them or at least to be thought to do so. As for the body, you must use some base arts so as to appear more shapely and more noble than you are. [IV,6,5] This you must contrive if you want to use the second method to avoid pity.

The impossible way: to do what Zeus itself has been unable to do (5-8)

The first way, an ineffectual and long one, is to attempt what Zeus itself could not do, that is to persuade all human beings which things are good and which are evil. [IV,6,6] For has this been given to you? Persuade yourself: only this has been given to you. You have not yet persuaded yourself and you are attempting to persuade others? [IV,6,7] Who lives as long with you as you live with yourself? Who is as capable of persuading you as you yourself? Who has a better disposition and behaves more informally with you than you with yourself? [IV,6,8] How is it, then, that you have not yet persuaded yourself to learn? Are not you now upside down? Is this what you have been eager for: to learn how to be able to control grief, to be undisconcerted, not slave-minded, free?

If you are disconcerted by another’s opinion about you, do you think you know what is good and what is evil? (9-10)

[IV,6,9] Have you not heard that there is only one way that brings to this: to give up aproairetic things, withdraw from them and acknowledge what is another’s? [IV,6,10] The fact, then, that another conceives something about you, of what class of things is it? -Aproairetic- Therefore is it nothing to you? -Nothing- But if you are still bit and disconcerted by this, do you think that you have been persuaded of what is good and what is evil?

Look at yourself in a mirror and recognize your weak points (11- 17)

[IV,6,11] Will you not, then, disregard others and become your own pupil and teacher? “The others will see whether it is advantageous for them to behave and enjoy themselves in a manner not in accord with the nature of things; as for me no one is nearer to me than myself. [IV,6,12] Why is it, then, that I have heard the discourses of the philosophers and I assent to them but, in practice, I have become no lighter? Am I so bastard? Yet in other things that I decided to do, I was not found very bastard. I quickly learned literature, wrestling, to use geometry, to resolve syllogisms. [IV,6,13] Is it that reason, perhaps, has not persuaded me? Yet from the beginning I chose nothing else nor valued anything more highly, and now I read about these issues, I hear them, I write them: till now we have not found an argument stronger than this. [IV,6,14] What do I lack, then? Have not the opposite judgements been torn away? Are my very conceptions untrained, unaccustomed to meet the real deeds and, like old pieces of armour stored away, are rusting and can no longer suit me? [IV,6,15] Yet in wrestling, in writing or reading I am not content with mere learning, but I turn over and over the syllogisms that are propounded and I twine new ones myself and likewise syllogisms with equivocal premises. [IV,6,16] However, the necessary philosophical principles, those which enable the man who takes impulse from them to become able to control grief, able to control fear, self-controlled, unhampered, free; these I do not train nor do I study them as befits them. [IV,6,17] And then do I care about what others will say about me, whether I shall appear to them renowned or happy?”

The man who knows that he is doing a good job is not sorry if other people speak ill of him (18-21)

[IV,6,18] Paltry fellow, will you not notice what you are saying about yourself? Who do you appear to be to yourself? Who are you in conceiving, in desiring, in averting; who are you in impulse, in preparation, in design, in the other human deeds? Yet do you care if the others pity you? [IV,6,19] -Yes, but I do not deserve to be pitied!- Are you sorry, then, for this reason? And is the one who is sorry, worthy of pity? -Yes- How, then, are you still pitied without deserving it? By the very things that you

experience about pity, you structure yourself worthy of pity. [IV,6,20] What does Antisthenes, then, say? Did you never heard it? “It is a kingly thing, O Cyrus, to act well but to be ill spoken of”. [IV,6,21] My head is sound yet everybody thinks that I have a headache. What do I care? I have no fever, yet everybody condoles with me as if I had it: “Wretched fellow, you have had a fever for such a long time!” I too adopt a sullen expression and say: “Yes, indeed I have fared badly for a long time”. “What may happen, then?” As Matter Immortal disposes. And at the same time I laugh in my sleeve at those who pity me.

How can I have right judgements if it’s not enough for me to be who I am, yet I lay claim upon other people’s judgements about me, that they might be as I want them? (22-24)

[IV,6,22] What, then, prevents me from doing a similar thing here? I am poor in money, but I have a right judgement about being poor in money. What do I care, then, if I am pitied because I am poor in money? I do not hold office, while others do. But what one must have conceived about holding office and not holding it, I have conceived. [IV,6,23] Those who pity me will see; I am not hungry, I am not thirsty, I am not shivering, but they think that I too am hungry and thirsty for the things for which they hunger and thirst. What am I to do with them? Should I go around and proclaim and say “Do not err, sirs, I fare well. I do not turn my mind towards poverty in money or lack of office or, in short, anything else but only towards right judgements: these I have unhampered and I do not worry about anything else”? [IV,6,24] What babble is this? How can I have right judgements any longer if I am not content with being who I am, but I am dismayed by what other people think of me?

What do you claim? Do you want to be successful where you did not toil? (25-27)

[IV,6,25] -But other people will obtain more than me and will be honoured above me- What is, then, more reasonable than the fact that those who have been eager for something have more of it? They have been eager for offices, you for judgements; they for money’s wealth, you for the use of impressions. [IV,6,26] See whether they have more than you of what you have been eager for and they neglect. Whether they assent more in accord with the natural standards; whether their desire is more unfailing than yours; whether their aversion is more unstumbling than yours; whether they hit the mark more than you in design, in purpose, in impulse; whether they safeguard what is fitting as husbands, as sons, as parents, and so on according to all the other names of human relationships. [IV,6,27] If those people hold offices, will you not say to yourself the truth: that you do nothing to achieve this, while they do everything; and that it is very unreasonable that the one who cares for something would acquire less of it than the one who neglects it?

Wisdom in the first place, petty politics in its place: look at why the wise man is in no way eager to rule the world (28-30)

[IV,6,28] -No, but because I worry about right judgements, it’s more reasonable for me to rule- In what you worry about, in judgements; but in those things in which other people have worried about more than you have, give way to them. It is as if, because you have right judgements, you urged, when you shoot with the bow, to hit the centre of the target more often than an archers, or to work the bronze better than a smith. [IV,6,29] Give up, then, eagerness for judgements, deal with what you want to get for yourself and, if things do not proceed successfully, at that time cry; for you deserve to cry. [IV,6,30] But now you say that you are intent upon other things, that you take care of other things, and the crowd says well: “One work has no partnership with another work”.

The prayer of the petty politician (31-33)

[IV,6,31] A fellow gets up at dawn and looks for someone of Caesar’s house to greet, someone to whom he may say a hypocritical word, to whom he may send a present, how he may please a dancer, how he may gratify one maligning another. [IV,6,32] When he wishes, he wishes for these things. When he sacrifices, he sacrifices for these things. He has placed the words of Pythagoras “Do not accept sleep

on your soft eyes” here beside. [IV,6,33] ” ‘Where did I violate’… in matters of flattery? ‘What did I do’… perhaps something as a free, perhaps something as a generous man? ” And if he finds something of this sort he reproaches and brings charges against himself: “But what business did you have to say that? Wasn’t it possible to lie? Also the philosophers say that there is nothing to hamper one’s telling a lie”.

The remarks and the wishes of the wise man (34-35)

[IV,6,34] Yet if you are indeed worried only about the use of impressions as it ought to be, the instant you get up in the morning, straightaway brood: “What do I lack to achieve self control? To achieve undisconcertment? Who am I? Am I perhaps a body, an estate, fame? None of this. But what? I am a rational creature”. [IV,6,35] Which are, then, the demands upon me? Unearth your actions. ” ‘Where did I violate’… in matters of serenity? What did I do’… that was unfriendly or unsocial or unintelligent? ‘What had I to do but left undone’… with regard to these issues?”

True good things against false illusions (36-38)

[IV,6,36] Since, then, there is so great a difference in the things for which you crave, in your deeds, in your wishes, do you still want to be on equal footing with them with regard to those things you have not been eager for, but they have? [IV,6,37] And then are you amazed and vexed if they pity you? Those people are not vexed if you pity them. Why? Because they are persuaded to obtain good things, while you are not. [IV,6,38] For this reason you are not content with your goods and aim at theirs. They, on the contrary, are content with their goods and do not aim at yours. For if you were indeed persuaded that, as for good things, it’s you who hits the mark and they have gone astray, you would not brood over what they say about you.


Our fear in the face of a tyrant comes from a certain judgement about the tyrant and about ourselves (1-5)

[IV,7,1] What makes the tyrant frightening? -The bodyguards, one says, their daggers, the chamberlain and those who deny entry- [IV,7,2] Why, then, if you bring a child near the tyrant and his bodyguards, is the child not afraid? Is it because the child is not aware of the presence of the bodyguards? [IV,7,3] Yet if one is aware of the presence of the bodyguards and the fact that they have daggers, but comes to see the tyrant for this very purpose, for the reason that he disposes to die because of some difficult circumstance, and seeks a carefree way to experience this at another’s hand, is this person afraid of the bodyguards? -No, for he wants just what makes them frightening- [IV,7,4] And if one comes to him disposing neither to die nor to live at any cost but according to what is given, what prevents this person to come to him with no dread? -Nothing- [IV,7,5] If, then, a person behaves with regard to his own estate in the same way as this fellow does with regard to his own body, and if he behaves so also with regard to his offspring and wife and in short, if due to some madness or insanity a person is so disposed that he cares not a whit about having or not having these things but, as the children playing with potsherds quarrel about the game and are not worried about the potsherds themselves, so this person has not cared a whit about the subject matters of life but greets the game that he plays with them and pays attention to its conduct, well, what kind of tyrant remains frightening to him, what kind of bodyguards, what kind of daggers in their hands?

Only the safe possession of diairesis makes the man free and allows him to control fear (6-11)

[IV,7,6] And then, if one can be so disposed towards these things because of madness -and the Galileans are so disposed because of habit-, because of reasoning and rational demonstration can no

one learn that Matter Immortal has made all things in the world, that the whole world itself is not hampered and has its end in itself, while its parts are made for the needs of the whole? [IV,7,7] All other creatures have been removed far from understanding the government of Matter Immortal while the rational creature has the resources to recapitulate all these things, to understand that he is a part of them and what kind of part he is and that it’s well for the parts to make way for the whole. [IV,7,8] Besides this, the rational creature, being by nature generous, magnanimous, free, sees that of the things which are around him, something is unhampered and in his exclusive power, while something else is hampered and in another’s power. Unhampered is what is proairetic, hampered what is aproairetic. [IV,7,9] And for this reason, if the rational creature believes that what is good and useful for himself is only in those things that are unhampered and in his exclusive power, then he will be free, serene, happy, undamaged, high-minded, pious, grateful for all things to Matter Immortal, nowhere finding fault with what happens and bringing charges to no one. [IV,7,10] If, however, he believes it to be in the external and aproairetic objects, it is necessary for this creature to be hampered, hindered, subservient to those who have power over external and aproairetic objects, objects that he is infatuated with and that he fears. [IV,7,11] And it is also necessary for him to be impious, inasmuch as he thinks that he is damaged by Matter Immortal; to be unfair in securing for himself always more than his share; to be slave-minded and full of mean tricks.

Ecce homo (12-15)

[IV,7,12] When one has distinctly stated this, what prevents him from living light and docile, awaiting meekly everything that may occur and bearing what has already occurred? [IV,7,13] “Do you dispose that I am poor in money?” Bring it and you will recognize what is poverty in money when it chances in the hands of a good actor. “Do you dispose that I hold some offices?” Bring them. “Do you dispose lack of office?” Bring it. “Do you dispose pains?” Bring also the pains. [IV,7,14] “And banishment?” Wherever I go, it will be well with me there. For here too it was well with me not because of the place but because of my judgements, and I am going to bring them along with me. For no one can deprive me of them, they alone are mine and impossible to take away. Their presence is sufficient for me wherever I am and whatever I do. [IV,7,15] “But it’s now time to die!” Why do you say ‘die’? Do not croon the thing, but tell the business as it is. “It’s now the right time that the material from which I was gathered be restored again to those elements. What is so terrible about that? Of the things that are in the world, what is going to be lost? Which novel thing, which thing contrary to reason is going to be born?

The free man has power over nobody and nobody has power over him (16-18)

[IV,7,16] Is the tyrant frightening for this reason? Is it because of this that his bodyguards seem to have great and sharp daggers? Leave these judgements to others. I have analysed the business from every point of view. [IV,7,17] No one has power over me. I have been constituted free by Matter Immortal. I have recognized Its directions. No longer can anyone put me in servitude. I have the emancipator that one ought and the judges that one ought to have. [IV,7,18] “Am I not the lord of your body?” What is that, then, to me? “Am I not the lord of your estate?” What is that, then, to me? “Am I not the lord of exile or chains?” I withdraw here again from all these things and from the whole body in your favour, when you want. Try your power over me and you will recognize its limits.

Give things their proper value and play without fear till everything remains a game. But when the game is no longer fairly played, at that point we must save ourselves, that is save at any cost the Truth of diairesis (19-24)

[IV,7,19] Whom, then, can I still fear? The chamberlains? What can they do to frighten me? Shut me outside? If they find that I want to enter, let them shut me outside! – Why, then, do you come to these doors?- Because I deem it proper for me to play the game, while it remains a game. [IV,7,20] -How, then, are you not shut outside?- Because if one does not receive me, I do not dispose to enter but rather I always dispose what happens. For I believe that what Zeus disposes is better than what I

dispose. I’ll devote myself to It as a minister and follower. I co-impel, I co-desire, in short I co-dispose. The exclusion is not for me but for those who use the force. [IV,7,21] Why, then, do I not use the force? Because I know that inside, no good is distributed to those who enter. And when I hear that someone feels blessed because he is honoured by Caesar, I say: “What occurs to him? Is he perhaps also acquiring the judgement as it ought to have for governing a Province? And the right judgement to administer a guardianship? Why, then, should I any longer break in? [IV,7,22] Someone is scattering dried figs and nuts. The children snatch them and fight with one another; the men do not, for they believe them to be a small thing. If someone scatters potsherds, not even the children snatch them. [IV,7,23] Provinces are distributed. The children will see to that. Money. The children will see to that. A praetorship, a consulship: let the children snatch them up; let them be excluded, be struck, let them kiss the hands of the giver, of the servants. For me they are dried figs and nuts”. [IV,7,24] What, then, if a fig, when he hurls them, by chance lands in a fold of my garment? I pick it up and I gorge on it. For to that degree, it is possible to honour a fig. But neither a dried fig nor any other evil thing, that the philosophers have convinced me to deem evil, is worth my grovelling and overthrowing someone else or being overthrown by him, or flattering those who hurl the figs.

But you fear the tyrant because you are like him, because you give the same value to the same things, because you think you are immortal and therefore are linked by the same magic chain of shit with which you recognize each other and feed each other (25-28)

[IV,7,25] Show me the daggers of the bodyguards. “Look how they are great and how they are sharp!” And what, then, do these great and sharp daggers do? [IV,7,26] “They kill!” And what does the fever do? “Nothing else”. And what does a tile do? “Nothing else”. Do you want me, then, to admire and revere all these things, and go about serving them all? Far from it. [IV,7,27] But once I have learned that what is born must also be destroyed so that the world may not remain still nor be hindered, it no longer makes a difference for me whether a fever, a tile or a soldier will do it; but, if I must compare, I know that the soldier will do it with less pain and more quickly. [IV,7,28] If, then, I fear none of the ways in which the tyrant can dispose of me and I crave nothing he can provide me with, why do I admire him any longer, why still stand in awe of him? Why do I fear the bodyguards? Why do I rejoice if the tyrant chats and receives me politely, and I expose to others how he chatted with me?

Socrates breaks the magic chain of shit. And, with Socrates, all those who recognize that they are proairesis and that they are subject to death (29-32)

[IV,7,29] Is he perhaps Socrates, is he Diogenes, so that his praise is a demonstration of what I am? [IV,7,30] Have I emulated his character? I simply come to him in order to safeguard the game and I do him some service as long as he summons me for no ignoble or disproportionate purpose. If he tells me: “Leave and bring here Leon of Salamis”, I tell him: “Look for another, for I no longer play the game”. [IV,7,31] “Carry him off to prison!” I follow him in the game. “But your neck is taken off!” And does his neck always remain where it is? And the neck of you who obey him? “But you will be cast away unburied!” If I am a corpse, I’ll be cast away. If I am something different from a corpse, tell more finely how the business truly is and do not arouse my fear. [IV,7,32] These things are frightening to the children and to crazy people. And if a person who once entered a philosopher’s school does not know who he is, he deserves to fear and to flatter those whom he flattered before, if he has not yet learned that he is neither flesh nor bones nor sinews but what uses them, what governs and understands the impressions.

But when you say this you despise the laws, you are a subversive, an asocial man! Don’t panic: which laws are you talking about, which order, which society? Don’t panic: let’s see where you are superior to me and where I am superior to you (33- 36)

[IV,7,33] -Yes, but such discourse makes men despise the laws- Quite to the contrary, which kind of reasoning provides the laws with men more ready to obey them? Law is not what is in the power of a

stupid person. [IV,7,34] Yet see how such reasoning prepares one to behave as one ought also towards these stupid people, teaching us to claim from them nothing in which they can win us. [IV,7,35] About the body, such reasoning teaches us to withdraw from it; about the estate, to withdraw; about children, parents, brothers, it teaches us to give way to all, to give up everything. The only exception is judgement, which Zeus too disposed to be special to each of us. [IV,7,36] What kind of lawlessness is here, what kind of ignobility? Where you are better and stronger than me, there I withdraw in your favour. Again, where I am better than you, give way to me. For this is what I have cared about, while you have not.

You care about the external objects, and in this you are superior to me. I care about my judgements, and in this I am superior to you (37-41)

[IV,7,37] For you care about dwelling in marble halls and, further, how slave boys and freedmen are to minister to you; how to wear showy clothes; how to have many hunting dogs, citharists, singers. [IV,7,38] Do I lay claim to these things? Have you, then, cared about your judgements, perhaps about your own reason? Do you know of what parts it consists, how they are combined, which is its articulation, which faculties it has and of what nature? [IV,7,39] Why, then, are you vexed if another, a man who has studied, has more in this regard than you? -But these are the greatest issues!- And who prevents you from concerning yourself with these issues and taking care of them? Who has the greater availability of books, more abundant leisure, people ready to be of use to this end? [IV,7,40] Only bend your mind towards these studies at some time, allot some time to your ruling principle. Analyse why you have it and whence it has come, this thing that uses all the rest, that evaluates all the rest, that selects and does not select. [IV,7,41] But as long as you concern yourself with external objects, you will have those as nobody is able to have them, but you will have your ruling principle as you dispose to have it, filthy and neglected.


The judgement from which proceeds the action of a person is not always easily understood from external appearances or through commonplaces (1-9)

[IV,8,1] Never praise or censure anybody on the basis of commonplaces, nor credit him with some art or want of art: in this way you will get rid of both recklessness and maliciousness. [IV,8,2] “This fellow bathes hastily”. Does he, then, do wrong? Not at all. But what? He bathes hastily. [IV,8,3] -Does everything, then, happen well?- Not at all. What proceeds from right judgements happens well, what proceeds from rascally judgements happens in a rascally way. Yet until you decipher the judgement from which a person does each work, do not praise or censure him. [IV,8,4] And a judgement is not easily determined from the outside. “This fellow is a carpenter”. Why? “He uses an adze”. And what is this? “This is a musician: for he sings”. And what is this? “This is a philosopher”. Why? “For he has a cloak and a long hair”. [IV,8,5] And what do the begging priests have? For this reason if a person sees one of them behaving indecently he straightaway says: “Look at what the philosopher is doing!”. But from the fact that he was behaving indecently one ought instead to say that he is not a philosopher. [IV,8,6] For if the preconception and the profession of the philosopher is this: “To have a cloak and a long hair”, they would speak well. But if it is rather this: “To be free from aberration”, why do they not deprive him of the appellation of philosopher, since he does not fulfill that profession? [IV,8,7] So it is also in the case of other arts. When one sees a fellow hewing badly with an axe, he does not say: “What is the avail of carpentry? Look at the bad work the carpenters do!”, but he says quite the opposite: “This fellow is not a carpenter, for he hews badly with the axe”. [IV,8,8] Similarly if one hears a fellow singing badly, he does not say: “Look how the musicians sing!” but rather: “This fellow is not a musician”. [IV,8,9] Only in the case of philosophy they experience this: when they see somebody doing

things contrary to the professionalism of the philosopher, they do not deprive him of that appellation but, defining him as a philosopher and then based on what happened, that he behaved indecently, they conclude that being a philosopher is of no use.

Thanks to those who call themselves philosophers, philosophy has acquired a negative preconception (10-11)

[IV,8,10] What is, then, the cause of this fact? The cause is that to the preconception of ‘carpenter’, of ‘musician’ and in the same way of the other artists we give the rank of ambassador, while we do not give this rank to the preconception of philosopher, and inasmuch as our preconception is confused and unarticulated we judge only from externals. [IV,8,11] Which other art is acquired by a certain dress and a long hair but has no general principles, a subject matter, an end?

Subject matter, end and general principles of philosophy (12-14)

[IV,8,12] What is, then, the subject matter of the philosopher? Perhaps a cloak? No, but our reason. What is his end? Perhaps to wear a cloak? No, but to have our reason right. What are his general principles? Perhaps those concerning the way to grow a big beard or a thick hair? No, they are rather those that Zeno says, that is to recognize the elements of a discourse, what is the nature of each of them, how they are fitted one to another and what is consequent to these facts. [IV,8,13] Will you not, then, see first whether, by behaving indecently, a person fulfils the profession of a philosopher, and then bring charges against this job? Now instead, when you are temperate, on the basis of what you think he is doing wrongly you say “Look at the philosopher!” (as if it were fitting to call ‘philosopher’ a fellow who does such things) and again “Is this a philosopher?”; while you do not say “Look at the carpenter!” when you recognize some adulterer or when you see someone sating his greed, nor do you say “Look at the musician!” [IV,8,14] And thus that little that you also realize about the profession of a philosopher, you let it slip from your grasp and you confuse it through your lack of study.

A quotation from Euphrates (15-20)

[IV,8,15] But the so-called philosophers also go in quest of followers starting from commonplaces. Once they have put on a cloak and let their beard grow long, they say “I am a philosopher!” [IV,8,16] But nobody will say “I am a musician!”, if he buys a plectrum and a lyre; nor “I am a smith!”, if he puts on a felt cap and an apron. The dress is suited to the art, but those people acquire their name from the art, not from the dress. [IV,8,17] For this reason Euphrates says well: “For a long time I tried to philosophize escaping people’s notice”, he says, “and this was beneficial to me. For in the first place I knew that whatever I did well, I did not it for the spectators but for myself. For myself I ate well, I had a calm gaze, a calm gait: all for me and for the gods. [IV,8,18] And then, as I was competing alone, so also I alone ran the risks. If I did a shameful or unfitting action, the name of philosophy was not in danger nor was I damaging the multitude by aberrating as a philosopher. [IV,8,19] For this reason, those who did not know my design wondered how it was that I was not calling myself a philosopher, although dealing and living with all the philosophers. [IV,8,20] And what evil was there in being recognized as a philosopher by what I did and not by some outward signs?”

What does it matter to pretend to be somebody when one is, in fact, nobody? Does not the very fact of making such a claim testify to its falsity? Socrates did not behave in this way (20-29)

Notice how I eat, how I drink, how I sleep, how I tolerate another’s intemperance, how I abstain from intemperance, how I cooperate, how I use desire and aversion, how I maintain my natural and acquired relationships without confusion and unimpededly. [IV,8,21] Judge me on this basis, if you can. But if you are so deaf and blind as to conceive that not even Hephaestus is a wonderful smith unless you see the felt cap on his head, what evil is there in being ignored by so silly an umpire? [IV,8,22] In this way, the kind of man Socrates was escaped most people’s notice and they used to come to him urging to be recommended to the philosophers. [IV,8,23] Was he, then, vexed about that -as we are-, and said: “But

don’t I look like a philosopher to you?” So he used to lead them away and to recommend them, content with being a philosopher and rejoicing that he was not bit if they did not deem him a philosopher; for he remembered his own peculiar work. [IV,8,24] And what is the work of the virtuous man? To have many pupils? Not at all. Those who are eager for this will see it. To state with great precision difficult philosophical principles? Other people will see this too. [IV,8,25] In what field, then, was Socrates somebody and he disposed to be so? In the field of damage and benefit. “If one”, he says, “can damage me, I am doing nothing. If I wait another to do something beneficial for me, I am nothing. I want something and this does not happen: I am misfortuned”. [IV,8,26] To so great an arena he called out to fight anybody whomsoever, and I believe that he would not have withdrawn before anyone. What do you think? In announcing and saying “I am such a man”? Far from it. But in being such a man. [IV,8,27] For, again, it is the part of the idiot and the braggart to say: “I am a self-controlled and undisconcerted man. Do not ignore, men, that while you are in disorder and turmoil for worthless things, I alone have rid myself of all disconcertment”. [IV,8,28] Thus it is not sufficient for you to feel no pain without proclaiming: “Gather, all you who are suffering from gout, headaches, fever, you lame, you blind and see how healthy I am!”? [IV,8,29] This proclamation is empty and wearisome unless you, like Asclepius, can indicate at once by what cure they too will be exempt from diseases, and that it is for this reason that you present as a paradigm your own health.

The attitude of the true Cynic (30-33)

[IV,8,30] Such a man is the Cynic deemed worthy by Zeus of a sceptre and a diadem, who says: “That you may see, O men, that you are looking for happiness and undisconcertment not where they are but where they are not, [IV,8,31] behold, I have been dispatched from Matter Immortal as a paradigm for you. I have neither estate nor home nor wife nor offspring nor even a bed or a tunic or a vessel: and see how healthy I am. Make trial of me and if you will see me undisconcerted, hear the medicines I was cured with”. [IV,8,32] This is already the attitude of a mankind-loving and generous man. But see whose work is this: it is the work of Zeus or of him whom Matter Immortal judges worthy of this service, that he may at no time lay bare to the crowd anything capable of invalidating his testimony, the one that he presents in favour of virtue and against the external objects *never whitening his beautiful color, nor wiping the tears from his cheeks*. [IV,8,33] And not only this, but that he may not yearn or seek after anything, be it a person, a place, a way of life, like the children do with the vintage season or holidays; adorned from every side by self respect as the others are from walls, from doors and from doorkeepers.

The slow formation of a philosopher (34-40)

[IV,8,34] But now, being merely moved to philosophy, like stomach weak people towards a foodstuff that they will soon loathe, straightaway they aim at the sceptre, at the kingdom. One lets grow his hair, puts on a cloak, shows his shoulder naked, brawls with those he meets and if he sees a person with an overcoat he brawls with him. [IV,8,35] You sir, go through a winter training first. Look at your impulse, that it may not be the one of a stomach weak person or of a pregnant female craving for strange food. Study first how to be ignored. For a while philosophize with yourself who you are. [IV,8,36] This is the way a fruit is born. The seed has to be buried for some time, to be hidden, to grow by small degrees and then bring the fruit to completion. But if it brings forth the ear of corn before sprouting the knee of the stalk, it is imperfect, it comes from a garden of Adonis. [IV,8,37] You too are a small plant of this sort: you have flowered more quickly than you ought, the winter frost will burn you off. [IV,8,38] Look, what do the farmers say about seeds when the hot weather arrives before its season? They are anxious that the seeds may not grow too lush, for then a single frost may confute their exuberance. Look at this you too, sir! [IV,8,39] You have grown too lush, you have leapt upon a bit of reputation before the right season. You deem you are somebody, an idiot among idiots. You will freeze, or rather you are already frozen down at the root; while your upper part still flowers for a little and for this reason you think that you are still alive and verdant. [IV,8,40] Let’s at least ripen in accord with nature. Why do you strip us naked, why do you force us? We cannot yet bear with the air. Allow the root to

grow and acquire the first knee, then the second, then the third; and so the fruit will project itself out by force of nature, even if I don’t want this.

There are no philosophers prodigies (41-43)

[IV,8,41] Who, once he has become pregnant and is filled with such important judgements, does not realize his own preparation and does not impel to the appropriate works? [IV,8,42] A bull does not ignore its own nature and preparation when a wild beast appears, nor does it await the one who will encourage it; nor does a dog ignore it when it sees some wild creature. [IV,8,43] Will I instead, if I have the preparation of a virtuous man, wait for you to prepare me for my own deeds? Now I do not yet have it, trust me. Why do you want me, then, to wither away before season, like you withered?


To have a lot of money, to hold offices, to live with handsome females and to lack the right judgements about all this (1-5)

[IV,9,1] When you see another person holding office, set over against this the fact that you do not need offices. When you see a person wealthy in money, see what you have in place of this. [IV,9,2] For if you have nothing in its place, you are a miserable fellow. But if instead you have freedom from the need for monetary wealth, recognize that you are richer than him and have something much more valuable than monetary wealth. [IV,9,3] Another has a shapely wife; you the freedom from craving for a shapely wife. Do you deem these to be small things? Yet how much would these very people, those wealthy in money and those who hold offices and lead their lives with shapely ladies, pay to be able to despise monetary wealth, offices, those very ladies whom they love and obtain! [IV,9,4] Do you ignore what kind of thing is the thirst of one who has a fever? It is not similar to the thirst of one who is healthy. The latter drinks and his thirst has been quenched. The former, after a momentary satisfaction, is nauseated, turns the water into bile, vomits, has a colic and has a more vehement thirst. [IV,9,5] Such sort of thing is to be wealthy in money and to crave for money; to hold office and to crave for it; to go to bed with a handsome female and to crave for it; because to this are joined jealousy, fear of dispossession, shameful discourse, shameful broodings, indecent works.

A bit of money and our self respect. Which is the greater loss? (6-10)

[IV,9,6] -But, someone says, what do I lose?- You sir, you were self respecting and now you are no longer so. Have you lost nothing? Instead of Chrysippus and Zeno you read Aristeides and Evenus: have you lost nothing? Instead of Socrates and Diogenes you have come to admire the one who is able to seduce and ruin the largest number of females. [IV,9,7] You want to be handsome and, because you are not so, you shape yourself. You want to show off splendid clothes, that the ladies may turn towards you; and if somehow you light upon a perfume you deem yourself blessed. [IV,9,8] Formerly you did not brood over these things but over where could be found a decorous discourse, a renowned man, a generous meditation. Therefore you used to sleep as a man, to advance as a man, to wear man’s clothes, to engage in conversations befitting a good man. And then do you tell me: “I lost nothing”? [IV,9,9] And so people lose nothing but coins? Is not self respect lost? Is not decorum lost? Or to lose these things is not to be penalized? [IV,9,10] You, then, definitely deem that for the loss of these things there is no longer a penalty. But there was a time when you computed that loss only as a penalty and damage; a time when you were anxious least anyone should displace you from these discourses and these works.

If you look for goods greater than virtue, you are lost (11-18)

[IV,9,11] Look, you have been displaced by no one else but yourself. Struggle with yourself, hand

yourself back to decorum, to self respect, to freedom. [IV,9,12] If anyone ever told you about me that someone constrains me to commit adultery, to wear certain clothes, to perfume myself: would you not have left and murdered with your own hands this person who so abuses me? [IV,9,13] Now, then, will you not help yourself? And how much easier is this help! You have to kill no one, fetter no one, outrage no one, you have not to step forth into the market-place but to speak to yourself, to the one who will be very obedient to you and with whom no one is more persuasive than you. [IV,9,14] In the first place stigmatize the events and then, once you have stigmatized them, do not despair of yourself, do not experience what mean people experience who, once they have given in, surrender themselves and are swept off by the current. [IV,9,15] Learn, instead, what the gymnastic trainers do. The child has fallen. “Get up”, he says, “and start again to wrestle, till you get stronger”. [IV,9,16] Experience something of this sort too! For you have to know that nothing is more flexible than the human soul. You have only to dispose so and it has happened, the soul has been corrected. Slumber again and it has been lost. For loss and help are found within. [IV,9,17] -And then what good is it for me?- What do you seek greater than this? Rather than shameless you will be self respecting; instead of unseemly, well regulated; instead of faithless, faithful; instead of impudent, temperate. [IV,9,18] If you seek things greater than these, do what you are doing: not even a god can save you any longer.


Because aproairetic things are not in our exclusive power, we feel embarrassed and are always in difficulty about them (1- 2)

[IV,10,1] Among human beings every embarrassment is embarrassment about external objects, every unmanageability is unmanageability of external objects. “What to do? How is it to happen? How is it to turn out? May this not confront me, may that not”. [IV,10,2] All these are the utterances of people turned to aproairetic things. For who says: “How am I not to assent to the false? How am I not to bend away from the true?”

The words of an immortal mother to her beloved sons (3-7)

[IV,10,3] If one is so a thoroughbred man as to be anxious about this, I’ll remind him: “Why are you anxious? This is in your exclusive power; be secure. Do not be in a hurry to give your assent before applying the natural standard”. [IV,10,4] Again, if he is anxious about desire, that it may be imperfect and failing; [IV,10,5] and about aversion, that it may stumble on what averts; in the first place I’ll kiss him because, giving up what dismays other people and their fears, he has worried about his truly peculiar work, where he himself is. And then I’ll tell him: [IV,10,6] “If you decide to desire without failing and to avert without stumbling on what you avert, desire nothing of what is another’s and avert nothing of what is not in your exclusive power. Otherwise it is necessary for you to fail and stumble on what you avert”. [IV,10,7] What kind of embarrassment is here involved? Where is there a place for questions like “How is it to happen?” and “How is it to turn out?” and “May this not confront me, may that not”?

Use the external things in accord with their nature and shine in your virtue (8-9)

[IV,10,8] Now, the outcome of any business is it not an aproairetic thing? -Yes- The substance of the good and of the evil is it not a proairetic thing? -Yes- You have, then, the power to use everything that comes about in accord with the nature of things. Can anyone hamper you? -No one- [IV,10,9] Say no more, then, to me: “How is it to happen?”. For anyhow it happens, you will set the thing upright and what came about will be a good fortune for you.

Like Heracles did (10)

[IV,10,10] Who would Heracles be if he said “How am I to prevent a big lion, a big boar or bestial human beings from confronting me?” What do you care? If a big boar confronts you, you will engage yourself in a bigger trial; if vicious people, you will rid the whole world of vicious people.

And if I had to die? To die as a good man is a marvelous moment of life (11-13)

[IV,10,11] -And if in this way, then, I die?- You will die as a good man, bringing to completion a generous action. Since we must die in any case, it is necessary to be found doing something, either cultivating or digging or engaged in commerce or being consul or suffering from indigestion or having diarrhoea. [IV,10,12] What, then, do you want to be doing when the death finds you? I, for my part, while doing some work befitting a man, beneficent, of common utility, generous. [IV,10,13] And if I cannot be found while doing such important things, at least while doing what is unhampered, what is given to me, while I am rectifying myself, while I refine the faculty that uses the impressions, while I labour at my self control, while I am giving back to my social relationships what is their due. If I am so fortunate, while I am touching upon the third topic of philosophy, that of safety in determinations.

The death of the wise man (14-17)

[IV,10,14] And if death will seize me while I am occupied with this, it is sufficient for me if I can lift up my hands to Matter Immortal and say: “The resources that I got from You in order to become aware of Your government and to follow it, these I did not neglect. On my part I did not put You to shame. [IV,10,15] Behold how I have used my sensations, behold how I have used the preconceptions. Did I ever blame You? Was I ill pleased at some event or did I ever want it to happen otherwise? Did I violate my social relationships?[IV,10,16] I am grateful to You because You begot me, I am grateful because of what You gave me; and the time I had to use Your gifts is sufficient for me. Take them back again and appoint me to the task that You dispose, for everything was Yours, You gave it to me”. [IV,10,17] Is it not sufficient to go out behaving in this way? And which life is better or more decorous than the life of a man behaving in this way? What kind of overturn is happier?

If you crave for some external object, behold that you must lose yourself, because you have to pay for it with yourself: nothing comes free of charge (18-19)

[IV,10,18] In order that this may happen, it is not small the trouble that you have to accept and not small things you have to miss. You cannot want to be consul and decide this; to be eager for having lands and decide this; you cannot worry about servants and at the same time about yourself. [IV,10,19] But if you want anything that is another’s, you have lost what is yours. This is the nature of the business: nothing happens free of charge. What is amazing in that?

You are ready to lick any ass whatsoever in order to obtain some wicked office, but are adamant in believing that happiness must be obtained free of charge (20-24)

[IV,10,20] If you want to be consul you must stay awake, run here and there, kiss hands, rot away at another’s door, say many things and perform many slavish deeds, send gifts to many people and guest- gifts to some people every day. And then what happens? [IV,10,21] Twelve bundles of rods, to sit down three or four times on a tribune, to provide games in the Circus and dinner in small baskets. Or let someone show me what more there is beyond this! [IV,10,22] Do you want, then, to spend nothing, not to toil for the sake of getting self control, undisconcertment, of sleeping indeed when you are sleeping, of being indeed awake when you are awake, of fearing nothing, of being anxious about nothing? [IV,10,23] And if while you are engaged in these things, something of yours is lost or badly spent or if another obtains what you ought to obtain, straightaway will you be bitten by the event?

[IV,10,24] Will you not counter it with what you are getting in exchange, how much in exchange for how much? Do you want to get such important things free of charge? And how can you? One work with another work.

You must choose (25-26)

[IV,10,25] You cannot obtain diligence about external objects and your ruling principle at the same time. If you want those things, give up this. Otherwise you will have neither one nor the other, being distracted by both. [IV,10,26] If you want this, you must give up those. Oil will be spilled, my vessels will be lost but I’ll maintain my self control. During my absence there will be a fire and my books will be lost, but I’ll use my impressions in accord with the nature of things.

There is a harbour anyway (27)

[IV,10,27] But I’ll have nothing to eat! If I am so wretched, death will be my harbour. This is the harbour of all, death, this is the refuge. For this reason nothing in life is arduous. When you dispose so, you go out and are no longer bothered by the smoke.

Take it easy: your goods are safe (28-30)

[IV,10,28] Why, then, are you anxious, why do you stay awake? Recapitulating where are your good and your evil, you can say straightaway to yourself: “Both are in my exclusive power. No one can deprive me of that nor encompass me with this without my consent. [IV,10,29] Why, then, don’t I throw myself down and snore? What is mine is safe! What is another’s will be the concern of whoever gets it as it is given by the one who has power over it. [IV,10,30] Who am I to want that it be so or so? An option over it has perhaps been given to me? Has anyone made me its governor? To me it’s sufficient to have that over which I have power. This I must arrange most beautifully. The rest will be as its lord disposes”.

What a shame are the ‘heroes’ lacking right judgements! To show them at work is Homer’s purpose (31-36)

[IV,10,31] When a man has these judgements before his eyes, does he stay awake and toss and turn? Wanting what or yearning after what? Patroclus or Antilochus or Protesilaus? For when did he believe that any of his friends were immortal? When did he not have before his eyes the fact that tomorrow or the day after either he or his friend might have to die? [IV,10,32] “Yes”, he says, “but I thought that he would survive me and would raise my son”. For you were stupid and were thinking dubious things. Why, then, don’t you bring charges to yourself instead of sitting and crying like a wench? [IV,10,33] “But he placed beside me something to eat!” For then he was living, stupid! Now he cannot. Automedon will place it beside you and if Automedon also dies, you will find someone else. [IV,10,34] If the pot in which a piece of meat used to be boiled for you is broken, must you die of hunger because you do not have your customary pot? Don’t you send out and buy a new one? [IV,10,35] *No worse evil,* he says, *could I experience* And is this an evil for you? You forbear tearing this evil away from you and impute your mother because she did not foretell it to you, so that from that time forth you might continue to be in sorrow? [IV,10,36] What do you think? Did not Homer compose these stories on purpose, so that we might see that nothing prevents people of the noblest birth, the physically strongest, the wealthiest, the shapeliest ones, when they lack the judgements that they ought to have, from being the most miserable people and prey to the worst fortune?


Clean in body and pure in mind: the sense of cleanliness as a man’s instinct and a peculiarity of the gods whom they are father of (1-4)

[IV,11,1] Some people dispute whether sociability is included in the nature of human beings; yet these same people, so I deem, would not dispute that a sense of cleanliness is quite included and that, if for nothing else, for this quality a man is separated from the other animals. [IV,11,2] When, then, we see some other animal cleansing itself, we are used to say with admiration “Like a man!”. And again, if one scolds some animal, straightaway we are used to say, as though excusing it, “Of course it’s not a man!”. [IV,11,3] And we think cleanliness to be something specific to the man, taking this characteristic in the first place from the gods. Since they are by nature pure and undefiled, and as much as men have approached them in terms of reason, the more they cling to what is pure and clean. [IV,11,4] But since it is unattainable for human substance to be altogether pure because it is mingled with the kind of material that we know, our reason -invited to do what is feasible- tries to make the human substance to come out as clean as possible.

The mind’s purity consists of the presence of the judgements that it ought to have (5-8)

[IV,11,5] The first, then, and highest purity and similarly the first impurity, is that of the soul. But you would not find the soul’s impurity as visible as that of the body, because what impurity of the soul could you find except what makes it filthy for the performance of its own functions? [IV,11,6] Now, the soul’s functions are to impel, to repel, to desire, to avert, to prepare, to design, to assent. [IV,11,7] What is, then, that makes a soul filthy and impure in these functions? Nothing else but its rascally determinations. [IV,11,8] Thus the soul’s impurities lie in the knavish judgements, while its purification occurs with the infusion of judgements as they ought to be. Pure is the soul that has the judgements that it ought, for this soul alone is without confusion and pollution in its own functions.

The cleanliness of our nose… (9)

[IV,11,9] We ought to work artfully to accomplish something similar to this also with our body, according to what is feasible. It was unattainable that snivel would not run from our nose, man being the mixture that we know. For this reason nature made hands and made nostrils exactly like tubes to discharge the fluids. If, then, one gulps them down, I say that he is not doing a man’s work.

of our feet… (10)

[IV,11,10] It was unattainable that our feet would not be covered with mud or would not be entirely defiled when they proceed through such mires. For this reason nature provided water; for this, it provided hands.

of our teeth… (11)

[IV,11,11] It was unattainable that, when we chew, some filth would not remain attached to our teeth. For this reason “Wash”, nature says, “your teeth”. Why? That you may be a man and not a beast or a porker.

of our skin and body… (12-14)

[IV,11,12] It was unattainable that something filthy and needing cleansing would not remain on our bodies by our sweat and by the contact of our skin with our clothes. For this reason there are water, oil, hands, towel, strigil, nitre and, on occasion, other equipment to clean it. [IV,11,13] No, but the smith will clean the iron from rust and will have instruments constructed for this purpose; you yourself will wash your small plate before you eat, unless you are an absolutely dirty and filthy person; and will you not wash your body nor make it clean? -Why? says someone- [IV,11,14] Again I’ll tell you: in the first

place, that you may do a man’s work and then that you may not annoy those with whom you meet.

Be at least careful not to annoy others with your filthiness (15-18)

[IV,11,15] Here, too, you are doing something of this sort and you do not realize it. Do you believe that you deserve to stink? Let it be so, let you be worthy of it. But do those who sit down at your side, recline beside you and kiss you, also deserve it? [IV,11,16] Please, leave for a lonely place somewhere, a place of which you are worthy, and pass your life alone spreading your stench! For it is right that you enjoy your uncleanliness alone. But being in a town, for whom does it appear that such inconsiderate and unintelligent behaviour is typical? [IV,11,17] If nature had committed to your care a horse, would you overlook and neglect it? Now, think that your body has, like a horse, been put in your care: wash it, wipe it off, do it so that no one may turn away or turn aside. [IV,11,18] Who does not turn aside from a filthy fellow, a fellow who stinks, whose skin is dirtier than one befouled with dung? And this odour is acquired from the outside, while the other is acquired through slovenliness from within and is as if one were putrefied.

But Socrates did not use to wash himself so much… (19-21)

[IV,11,19] -But Socrates used to bathe infrequently- Yet his body was gleaming, and was so charming and pleasant that the most wonderfully youthful and those of most noble birth were in love with him and longed to lie on a bed near him rather than near others more shapely. Socrates had, then, the power neither to bathe nor to wash himself, if he so disposed; and yet even his infrequent bathings what a might they had! [IV,11,20] -But Aristophanes says *the pallid, the shoeless ones, I say*- He says also that Socrates trod the air and that he used to steal people’s robes from the wrestling school. [IV,11,21] Yet all those who have written about Socrates credit him with the opposite, and say that he was pleasant not only to hear but also to see. And again about Diogenes they write the same things.

If the philosopher is a clean man he will attract many people to philosophy (22-24)

[IV,11,22] For with regard to uncovering one’s own body, one must not scare people away from philosophy, rather one must exhibit cheerfulness and undisconcertment, as in everything else, also on the side of his own body. [IV,11,23] “Behold, O men: I have nothing and need nothing. Behold how even being homeless, without a city, perhaps in exile and hearthless, I pass my life with less disconcertment and more serenity than all the noble families and those of great monetary wealth. And you see also that my body is not maltreated by my austere mode of life”. [IV,11,24] But if I am told these things by someone who has the dress and the face of a condemned person, which of the gods will persuade me to come to philosophy, if philosophy itself makes people of this sort? Far from it. I would not dispose it, even if I were going to be a wise man!

Cleanliness as man’s aspiration to what is beautiful: Polemo comes to Xenocrates (25-30)

[IV,11,25] As for me, by the gods, I dispose that the young who experiences the first stirrings towards philosophy comes to me with his hair well groomed rather than scruffy and filthy. For in this case one can notice in him a certain impression of the beautiful, an aspiration for what is decorous; and that where he fancies it to be, there he works artfully to obtain it. [IV,11,26] Well then, one has only to indicate it to him and say: “Younker, you seek the beautiful and you do well. Know, then, that the beautiful sprouts there where you have your reason. Seek it there where are your impulses and repulsions, where are your desires and aversions. [IV,11,27] For this you have special in yourself, while the body is by nature only clay. Why do you toil for it to no purpose? Time will make you recognize, if nothing else, that it is nothing”. [IV,11,28] If instead he comes to me befouled with dung, filthy, his moustache reaching down to his knees, what have I to tell him, from which kind of resemblance to anything beautiful may I attract him to reason? [IV,11,29] What has enthused him that is similar to the beautiful, so that I may transpose him and say: “Beauty is not here but there”? Do you want me to tell

him: “Beauty is found not in befouling yourself with dung but is in your reason”? For does he aim at what is beautiful? Has he any disclosement of it? Leave and hold a dialogue with a pig that it may not roll itself into the mire! [IV,11,30] And for this reason the discourses of Xenocrates touched Polemo as a younker and a lover of the beautiful. For he entered the school of Xenocrates because he had glimmerings of an eagerness for beauty, but was seeking it somewhere else.

As for cleanliness, we can also find examples among certain animals (31-32)

[IV,11,31] Nature did not made filthy even those animals that live in common with human beings. Does perhaps a horse roll itself into the mire? Or does a purebred dog? No, but the hog, the rotten geese, the worms, the spiders, the creatures disbanded as far as possible from correlation with men. [IV,11,32] You, then, as a human being, would not even be one of the creatures that live in common with them but rather a worm or a spider? Will you not at some time bathe in whatever manner pleases you, rinse yourself, if not with hot water then with cold water? Will you not arrive here clean, so that those who are here may welcome you? But do you gather with us in such a state even in the shrines, places where it is illegitimate to spit or wipe one’s nose, you who are but spit and snivel?

Do not offend the sense of cleanliness of another person and avoid any eccentricity and oddness (33-36)

[IV,11,33] What then? Is anyone urging you to embellish yourself? Far from it. But to embellish that for which we are born: the reason, its judgements, its activities; and to keep the body clean, sufficient to avoid offence. [IV,11,34] Yet if you hear that one must not wear scarlet clothes, leave and befoul your cloak with dung or tear it to pieces! -But whence can I acquire a wonderful cloak?- You sir, you have the water: wash it! [IV,11,35] See, here is a young boy worthy of love, here an elder worthy of loving and to be loved in return, an elder to whom one will commit his own son that he may be educated, to whom daughters and youths will come, perhaps, so that he may deliver his lectures in a place for dung? Far from it [IV,11,36] Every eccentricity comes from some human trait, but this one is near to being not human!


To pay attention to the general principles means doing not what comes to our mind but what we think (1-6)

[IV,12,1] When you relax your attention for a while, do not fancy that you can retrieve it when you want, but have ready at hand the thought that because of today’s aberration your condition is necessarily worse as regards to everything else. [IV,12,2] For in the first place a habit -and this is the more embittering thing of all- of not paying attention emerges; and then a habit of delaying attention, and so you are accustomed to always defer from one time to another your serenity, a decorous behaviour, to be and enjoy yourself in accord with the nature of things. [IV,12,3] If, then, the deferment is advantageous, more advantageous is the total detachment of attention. But if it’s not advantageous, why don’t you guard your attention continuously? [IV,12,4] “Today I want to play”. What prevents you, then, to do it with attention? “I want to sing”. What prevents you, then, to do it with attention? Can we tear away a part of life on which attention does not extend? For will you do it worse with attention and better without attention? And what in life becomes better thanks to those who pay no attention? [IV,12,5] Does the carpenter who pays no attention do his work more precisely? Does the steersman who pays no attention steer more safely? And which other of the smaller tasks is completed more perfectly thanks to inattention? [IV,12,6] Don’t you realize that, whenever you give up your intelligence, it is no longer in your exclusive power to recall it to you, to what is decorous, to self respect, to restraint? But you do anything that comes into your head, you follow your impulsions.

Be careful to firmly hold the universal principles on the issue of desire and of aversion (7-14)

[IV,12,7] -To what ought I, then, pay attention?- In the first place to the universal principles and these have ready at hand. Neither sleep nor get up, neither drink nor eat nor confer with people separate from these principles: that no one is lord of another’s proairesis and that good and evil are only in proairesis. [IV,12,8] No one, then, is lord either to secure some thing good for me or to encompass me with an evil one, but I alone have power over myself with regard to this. [IV,12,9] When these principles are secure in me, what reason have I to be disconcerted about external objects? Which tyrant is frightening, which sickness, which poverty in money, which obstacle? [IV,12,10] -But I did not please So-and-so- Was that perhaps my work, was it my determination? -No- What do I care, then, any longer? -But he is thought to be somebody!- [IV,12,11] He and those who deem right to do so will see to that. I have the one whom I ought to please, to whom to be subordinated, whom to obey: Zeus and after It myself. [IV,12,12] It recommended me to myself and subordinated my proairesis to myself only, giving standards for its right use; and when I conform to these standards, in syllogisms I do not turn my mind towards any who claims otherwise; and in equivocal arguments I worry about no one. [IV,12,13] Why, then, in the greatest issues am I annoyed at those who censure me? What’s the cause of this disconcertment? Nothing else but the fact that in this topic I am untrained. [IV,12,14] Since every science is entitled to despise ignorance and ignorant people, as are the arts also so entitled. Bring any cobbler and he mocks the crowd’s ignorance of his own work; bring here any carpenter.

Be careful to firmly hold the universal principles on the issue of impulse and repulsion and of what is proper in social relationships (15-18)

[IV,12,15] In the first place you must, then, have ready at hand these principles and do nothing apart from them, but to have your soul intent upon this target: to pursue none of the external things, nothing of what is another’s but, as the one with the power ordained, to pursue at any cost proairetic things and the rest as it is given. [IV,12,16] Besides this we must remember who we are and what is our name, and try to adjust the proper deeds to our faculty for social relationships: [IV,12,17] which time is appropriate for a song of praise, which time is appropriate for a game, and in whose presence; what will come out of the business; perhaps those who are with us will despise us, perhaps we will despise them; when to scoff and when and whom to mock, and when to be complaisant with whom and about what and, well then, how to keep our own personality even in the case of a complaisance. [IV,12,18] Wherever you veer away from any of these principles, straightaway there is the penalty, not from somewhere outside, but from the activity itself.

If you were sure of obtaining happiness in this way, you would not defer it but would immediately put yourself to work (19-21)

[IV,12,19] What then? Can we by now avoid aberration? It’s unmanageable. But we can be continuously intent upon avoiding aberrations. For it is a thing to prize if, by never weakening this attention, we will be rid of at least a few aberrations. [IV,12,20] Now, when you say: “From tomorrow I’ll pay attention”, know that you are saying: “Today I’ll be shameless, ill timed, slave minded; it will be in another’s power to grieve me; today I’ll be prey to anger, to envy”. [IV,12,21] Notice how many evils you entrust to yourself! But if it will be good tomorrow, how much better it is today! If it will be useful tomorrow, it’s much more so today, that you may be able to do it also tomorrow and not to delay it again until the day after tomorrow.


Do not trust the first chance comer (nor the second, nor the third…) (1-4)

[IV,13,1] When we deem someone has discussed his affairs frankly with us, we too are somehow drawn out to divulge our secrets to him and we think that this is what it means to be frank. [IV,13,2] In the first place because we deem it unfair to have heard the affairs of our neighbour and not to give him a share, in our turn, of our affairs. And then because we think, being silent about our own affairs, of giving to him the impression that we are not frank men. [IV,13,3] No doubt, people are often used to say: “I have told you all my affairs, don’t you want to tell me anything about yours? Where does this happen?” [IV,13,4] Furthermore, there is also the thought that we can safely trust one who has already trusted us about his affairs, for we believe that this person would never spread around our affairs as a precaution against us spreading around his in turn.

Spy stories in Rome and its surroundings (5-8)

[IV,13,5] In this way too, in Rome, reckless people are caught by the soldiers. A soldier dressed as a civilian sits down at your side and begins to speak ill of Caesar. Then, taking from him as a pledge of faithfulness the fact that he has begun the abuse, you say what you think about the issue and then are carried off in fetter. [IV,13,6] We also experience something of this sort in general. For even though that person has safely trusted me with his affairs, I do not myself in this way tell my affairs to the first chance comer. [IV,13,7] But after listening I hold my tongue, if I am such a man; while the other goes out and divulges my affairs to everybody. If I know what has happened and am myself similar to him, as I want to get even with him, I divulge his affairs. Thus I tangle and I am tangled. [IV,13,8] If, however, I remember that a person does not damage another one but that each person’s own works damage or benefit him, I firmly hold the principle of doing nothing similar to what he has done, and that I have experienced what I have experienced because of my own babbling.

The first chance comer is, with a very high probability, a cracked wine jar, a fellow that systematically uses counterdiairesis (9-11)

[IV,13,9] -Yes, but having heard the secrets of our neighbour, it’s unfair to give him no share of our affairs in our turn- [IV,13,10] Did I pray you to tell me your affairs, sir? Did you divulge your affairs on the condition that you could, in turn, hear about mine? [IV,13,11] If you are a babbler and deem all you meet friends, do want me too to become like you? Why, if you have done well in trusting me with your affairs but it is not wise to trust you, do you want me to be reckless?

The two wine jars (12-16)

[IV,13,12] It is as though I had a watertight wine jar and you one with a hole in it, and you came to commend your wine to me, that I pour it into my wine jar. And then are you vexed because I too do not trust you with my wine? For you have a wine jar with a hole in it! [IV,13,13] How is this, then, equivalent? You have commended your affairs to a faithful, self respecting man, to a man who believes that only his own activities and nothing that is external are harmful or beneficial. [IV,13,14] And do you want me to commend my affairs to you, to a human being who disparages his own proairesis, who wants to obtain small coins or some office or a promotion at court, even if you are going to slaughter your offspring as Medea did? [IV,13,15] How is this equivalent? Show me that you are a faithful, self respecting, secure man; show that you have friendly judgements; show that your container has no hole in it and you will see how I’ll not wait for you to trust me with your affairs, but will myself come and pray you to hear about mine! [IV,13,16] For who does not want to use a wonderful container, who disparages a well disposed and faithful counsellor, who will not receive merrily the man who intends to

take a share of our difficult circumstances as though it was a load and who, by this very sharing, makes it light for us?

How is it possible for the person who is a slave to external objects not to be officious and unreliable? (17-24)

[IV,13,17] -Yes, but I trust you while you do not trust me- In the first place you do not trust me either but are a babbler and for this reason you are unable to stably hold anything. Since, if it is so, trust me alone with your affairs. [IV,13,18] Now, instead, when you see anyone at his leisure, you sit down at his side and tell him: “Brother, I have no one more well disposed and more friendly than you. I pray you listen to my affairs”. And this you do with people whom you hardly known! [IV,13,19] And if you trust me, it’s plain that you do so because I am a faithful and self respecting man, not because I told you of my affairs. [IV,13,20] Let me, then, also conceive the same things about you. Show me that, if a person tells of his own affairs, he is faithful and self respecting. For, if it were so, I would go around telling my affairs to all people, if by these means I could be faithful and self respecting. But such is not the case, and in order to be faithful and self respecting a man requires judgements and not casual ones. [IV,13,21] If, therefore, you see someone who is eager for aproairetic things and who has subordinated to them his own proairesis, know that this fellow has myriads of people who constrain him, who hamper him. [IV,13,22] He has no need of pitch or rack for saying what he knows but the little nod, perhaps, of a maiden will start him off, a sign of friendship from a Caesar’s courtier, the craving for office, for an inheritance and thirty thousand other things similar to these. [IV,13,23] In general, one ought, then, to remember that secrets require faithfulness and judgements of this sort. [IV,13,24] Where is it possible to find these things easily nowadays? Or let someone show me a man so minded that he can say: “I only care about what is mine, what is not hampered, what is free by nature. This, which is the substance of the good, I have. Let everything else happen as it is given: it makes no difference to me”.