February 23, 2014 · 10:30 AM
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Byfacing life honestly, then thinking about it rationally and in perspective, Epictetus laid down much of what we might call existentialism today.
Because he was largely helpless (a crippled Greek slave in ancient Rome) he came to divide all human endeavors into two categories.
1. ThingsYOU CAN CHANGE and
2. Things you CANNOT change.
From there he advises us on how to decide where to place our short lives and little energies.
Although he is seldom mentioned today, his name was a household word in 19th Century educated America. His thoughts can be seen in the practical advice of George Washington's Rules of Civility, Shakespeare's Polonius and modern cognitive psychotherapy.
His manual for living (The Enchiridion) advices us on how to think about everything in life. The Discourses is how to behave in various areas such as family, friends, strangers and even the gods.
His is a totally different path from that of C.S. Lewis.