On Stoicism


“Eat like a human being, drink like a human being, dress up, marry, have children, get politically active—suffer abuse, bear with a headstrong brother, father, son, neighbor, or companion. Show us these things so we can see that you truly have learned from the philosophers.”


This is about the idea of understanding philosophy through personal experience, rather than just studying it. Plutarch, a Roman biographer and admirer of the Stoics, was surprised at how quickly he gained understanding of events in Roman literature, despite starting his study of them late in life. The text suggests that this is what Epictetus meant when he talked about studying philosophy: that it should be combined with living life. The text encourages readers to be mindful of this idea in their daily lives, as all experiences bring meaning to the words of philosophy.

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