Epictetus on dying or having lunch
Practical Wisdom podcast, episode 10
“What was it that Agrippinus used to say?
‘I’m not going to make obstacles for myself.’
He was informed that his case was being heard in the Senate.
‘That’s as it may be. But it’s the fifth hour now’—this was when it was his custom to exercise and take a cold bath—‘so let’s go and exercise.’
Afterward, someone came up to him and said, ‘You’ve been condemned.’
‘To exile,’ says he, ‘or death?’
‘What about my property?”
“It’s not been seized.’
‘So let’s go to Aricia and have breakfast there.’
That’s what it’s like to have trained oneself properly, to have made desire immune to impediment, and aversion immune to encountering what it wants to avoid.
I am condemned to death. If it happens straightaway, I die. If after a short delay, I eat first, since the time has come for it, and then I’ll die later.
How? As is proper for someone who’s giving back what was not their own.” (Epictetus, Discourses, I.1.28-32)
Figs in Winter: Stoicism and beyond is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.