A Daily Pep Talk for the Ascetic Life of the Mind

Epictetus, Encheiridion 22

 “If you desire to study philosophy, prepare to be mocked because many people will ridicule you, declaring “you come here again as a philosopher among us” and “where did you get this brow?”

But do not hold you brow high. Hold on as tight to those things that seem best to you as a man who has been stationed to this place by a god. Remember then that if you hold fast to these ideas, those who used to laugh at you will behold you later in wonder. But if you fail them, you will make yourself a double joke.”

  1.  Εἰ φιλοσοφίας ἐπιθυμεῖς, παρασκευάζου αὐτόθεν ὡς καταγελασθησόμενος, ὡς καταμωκησομένων σου πολλῶν, ὡς ἐρούντων ὅτι “ἄφνω φιλόσοφος ἡμῖν ἐπανελήλυθε” καὶ “πόθεν ἡμῖν αὕτη ἡ ὀφρύς;” σὺ δὲ ὀφρὺν μὲν μὴ σχῇς· τῶν δὲ βελτίστων σοι φαινομένων οὕτως ἔχου, ὡς ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ τεταγμένος εἰς ταύτην τὴν χώραν· μέμνησό τε διότι, ἐὰν μὲν ἐμμείνῃς τοῖς αὐτοῖς, οἱ καταγελῶντές σου τὸ πρότερον οὗτοί σε ὕστερον θαυμάσονται, ἐὰν δὲ ἡττηθῇς αὐτῶν, διπλοῦν προσλήψῃ καταγέλωτα.
  2. Image result for medieval manuscript ascetic monk