Courage Under Fire - Testing Epictetus's Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior


How much do I want to read more? 7/10

A short and interesting speech to be read about Stoic ideas, and especially about Epictetus.


As the senior naval prisoner of war officer in Hanoi for eight years, he was tortured fifteen times, put in leg irons for two years, and put in solitary confinement for four years.


Speech delivered at the Great Hall, King's College, London, Monday, November 15, 1993

Enchiridion means "ready at hand." In other words, it's a hand book. Rhinelander explained that its author, Epictetus, was a very unusual man of intelligence and sensitivity, who gleaned wisdom rather than bitterness from his early firsthand exposure to extreme cruelty and firsthand observations of the abuse of power and self-indulgent debauchery.
Epictetus was born a slave in about A.D. 50 and grew up in Asia Minor speaking the Greek language of his slave mother.

The Stoic viewpoint is often misunderstood because the casual reader misses the point that all talk is in reference to the "inner life" of man.

So what Epictetus was telling his students was that there can be no such thing as being the "victim" of another. You can only be a "victim" of yourself. It's all in how you discipline your mind. Who is your master? "He who has authority over any of the things on which you have set your heart." "What is the result at which all virtue aims? Serenity." "Show me a man who though sick is happy, who though in danger is happy, who though in prison is happy, and I'll show you a Stoic."