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Born a slave, the Roman Stoic philosopher Epictetus (c. 55-135 AD) taught that mental freedom is supreme, since it can liberate one anywhere, even in a prison. In How to Be Free, A. A. Long - one of the world's leading authorities on Stoicism and a pioneer in its remarkable contemporary revival - provides a superb new edition of Epictetus's celebrated guide to the Stoic philosophy of life (the Encheiridion) along with a selection of related reflections in his Discourses.
Freedom, for Epictetus, is not a human right or a political prerogative but a psychological and ethical achievement, a gift that we alone can bestow on ourselves. We can all be free, but only if we learn to assign paramount value to what we can control (our motivations and reactions), treat what we cannot control with equanimity, and view our circumstances as opportunities to do well and be well, no matter what happens to us through misfortune or the actions of other people.
How to Be Free features splendid new translations and a compelling introduction that sets Epictetus in context and describes the importance of Stoic freedom today. The result is an unmatched introduction to this powerful method of managing emotions and handling life's situations, from the most ordinary to the most demanding.
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This is an excellent reading of Epictetus' Enchiridion and a few other of his writings. My take on his philosophy is that the only part of our lives that truly belongs to us is our mind, our will and our opinions. Everything else is subject to the whim of outside forces. The only way to be free is to manage our opinions and desires so that we are content and happy no matter the circumstance. Anyone who bases their happiness on outside factors, things out of their control, is really a slave and bound for misery.
4 people found this helpful
- Anonymous User
A very good translation of the handbook
If you want a good introduction to the stoic philosopher, then this book is one I highly recommend. Not to long and easy to understand.