How should the philosopher, the person making progress toward wisdom, respond to wrongdoing? What is the appropriate response when someone behaves badly toward me?
In Discourses 1.18, Epictetus answers that if we must have any response at all, it would be far more appropriate to respond to wrongdoing with pity, rather than anger. But why? There are two lines of argument (which I will address in the opposite order of how he presents them).
Continue reading “From Anger to Pity”
Written yesterday, on his actual birthday; posted here a day late.
Hail to you, Socrates, midwife of souls,
Whom we honor with Artemis, for your shared goals.
To you, whom the oracle once prophesied
Were of all the Athenians surely most wise,
A mission was given, to enlighten the young.
For your skill in that task, your praises are sung.
You comfortably owned your own knowledge’s bounds
And would seek out the truth, wheresoe’er it be found.
Even on your last day, you did honor the law,
For you knew well that death’s not the end of it all.
But rather, philosophy’s practice did quite
Have much the effect of a mystery rite:
You were ready for death, whatsoever it brings
Through the study of human and all divine things.
So we honor you, Socrates, born on this day.
Pray lead us and guide us on Wisdom’s bright way.