Epictetus believed that the primary job of philosophy is to help ordinary people effectively meet the challenges of everyday life, and to deal with life's inevitable losses, disappointments and griefs. His prescription for the good life centered on three main themes--mastering our desires, performing our duties, and learning to think clearly about ourselves and our relations within the larger community of humanity.
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"Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can't control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible." The Stoic philosopher Epictetus was born on the eastern edges of the Roman Empire in A.D. 55, but The Art of Living is still perfectly suited for any contemporary self-help or recovery program. To prove the point, this modern interpretation by Sharon Lebell casts the teachings in up-to-date language, with phrases like "power broker" and "casual sex" popping up intermittently. But the core is still the same: Epictetus keeps the focus on progress over perfection, on accomplishing what can be accomplished and abandoning unproductive worry over what cannot.About the Author:
Epictetus (A.D. 55#150;135) taught in Rome until the year 94, when Emperor Domitian banished philosophers from the city. In exile, he established his distinguished school of philosophy.
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