In the Enchiridion, Epictetus offers a wealth of advice for living a life free of disappointment, grief, and worry. Paying special attention to Chapters 1-4, begin your paper by summarizing—in your own words, as clearly as you can, and citing evidence from the text—Epictetus’s most general advice for living a life free of disappointment, grief, and worry. What does Epictetus think you need to learn to distinguish? What kind of practice(s) does Epictetus recommend you engage in?
Epictetus also offers advice on multiple other more specific topics, including the topic of how to choose a career. Here see especially Chapter 29. What does Epictetus recommend you do when choosing a career? Explain his advice in your own words, again providing textual evidence for your claims.
Now imagine that you think it through carefully and choose to pursue an Olympic sport. Suppose that you have great aptitude for it and some real promise; experts agree that you may well be a contender for the gold. But it will take a great deal of hard work and sacrifice to train until the next Olympics. With this hypothetical scenario in mind, now answer the following questions.
First, in Chapter 19, Epictetus remarks that “You will never have to experience defeat if you avoid contests whose outcome is outside your control.” Do you think this means that Epictetus would chide you for pursuing your Olympic dream? After all, the outcome of an Olympic contest is outside your control. Is Epictetus advising that we never play any game we might lose? If that’s not the message, what is?
Next, consider two different scenarios. In Scenario One, you train like crazy and become an exceptionally good athlete in your chosen sport. You are heavily favored to win the gold, but during the competition you suffer an embarrassing freak accident. Not only do you sustain a career-ending injury and not finish the competition, but you are now a laughingstock around the world. How would Epictetus advise you think about this outcome? Is what happened to you bad? Should you be upset about it? Make sure to cite textual evidence in giving your answer.
Now consider Scenario Two, in which you win the gold, break the world record, and do so in a classy way that impresses everyone. You are admired around the world and receive many lucrative endorsement deals, so your financial future is secure. How would Epictetus advise you think about this outcome? Is what happened to you good? Should you be delighted by it? Again be sure to cite textual evidence in giving your answer.
Finally, offer some brief reflections on whether you think Epictetus’s advice is good advice. Why or why not? The preceptors and I are not looking for any particular answer here; all we care about is that your response is thoughtful, well-reasoned, and clearly explained.
Use MLA format.
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