Zitate von Epiktet

 Epiktet Foto
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Epiktet

Geburtstag: 50 n.Chr.
Todesdatum: 138
Andere Namen: Epiktétos z Hierápole

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Epiktet war ein antiker Philosoph. Er zählt zu den einflussreichsten Vertretern der späten Stoa. Als Sklave gelangte Epiktet nach Rom, wo er in Kontakt mit stoischen Lehren kam und auch selbst zu unterrichten begann. Aus Rom vertrieben begründete er in Nikopolis eine Philosophenschule, an der er bis zu seinem Tod lehrte. Da Epiktet selbst keine Werke verfasste, ist seine Philosophie nur in den Schriften seines Schülers Arrian überliefert, der seine Vorlesungen aufzeichnete.

Seine Lehre behandelt vor allem ethische Fragen und stellt die praktische Umsetzung philosophischer Überlegungen in den Vordergrund. Im Zentrum seiner Ethik stehen die innere Freiheit und moralische Autonomie eines jeden Menschen. Epiktet trennt strikt zwischen Dingen und Zuständen, die sich außerhalb der menschlichen Macht befinden und daher als gegeben angenommen werden müssen, und solchen, die das Innerste des Menschen betreffen und daher ausschließlich Gegenstand seines Einflusses sind. Außerdem entwickelt Epiktet ein Konzept der sittlichen Persönlichkeit, die nach seiner Ansicht das Wesen des Menschen darstellt. Menschliches Handeln wird für ihn aber stets auch von Gott bestimmt und gelenkt, der in jedem einzelnen Menschen, der Welt und dem eine Einheit bildenden Kosmos direkt anwesend ist. Da dieser göttliche Kern allen Menschen gleichermaßen innewohnt, muss die Menschenliebe unterschiedslos allen gelten.

Die Rezeptionsgeschichte der Lehre Epiktets ist vielschichtig. Nach einer ersten kurzen Blüte im 2. Jahrhundert geriet er während des Mittelalters im Westen weitgehend in Vergessenheit. Auf indirektem Weg – über späteres Schrifttum und christianisierte Umformungen der ältesten Überlieferung – beeinflussten Konzepte Epiktets jedoch christliche Autoren von der Spätantike bis in die Neuzeit maßgeblich, auch wenn diese Schriften nur noch in loser Verbindung mit dem Namen Epiktets standen. Die Aufzeichnungen seines Unterrichts wurden in der Renaissance erneut bekannt und wirkmächtig.

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Zitate Epiktet

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„Ertrage und entsage.“

—  Epiktet
Aulus Gellius noct. att. 17,9,6

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„You are impatient and hard to please.“

—  Epictetus
Context: You are impatient and hard to please. If alone, you call it solitude: if in the company of men, you dub them conspirators and thieves, and find fault with your very parents, children, brothers and neighbours. Whereas when by yourself you should have called it Tranquillity and Freedom: and herein deemed yourself like unto the Gods. And when in the company of the many, you should not have called it a wearisome crowd and tumult, but an assembly and a tribunal; and thus accepted all with contentment. What then is the chastisement of those who accept it not? To be as they are. Is any discontented with being alone? let him be in solitude. Is any discontented with his parents? let him be a bad son, and lament. Is any discontented with his children? let him be a bad father.—"Throw him into prison!"—What prison?—Where he is already: for he is there against his will; and wherever a man is against his will, that to him is a prison. Thus Socrates was not in prison since he was there with his own consent. (31 & 32).

„Keep death and exile daily before thine eyes, with all else that men deem terrible, but more especially Death. Then wilt thou never think a mean thought, nor covet anything beyond measure.“

—  Epictetus
Context: Keep death and exile daily before thine eyes, with all else that men deem terrible, but more especially Death. Then wilt thou never think a mean thought, nor covet anything beyond measure. (161).

„Habits and faculties are necessarily affected by the corresponding acts“

—  Epictetus
Context: If you have given way to anger, be sure that over and above the evil involved therein, you have strengthened the habit, and added fuel to the fire. If overcome by a temptation of the flesh, do not reckon it a single defeat, but that you have also strengthened your dissolute habits. Habits and faculties are necessarily affected by the corresponding acts... One who has had fever, even when it has left him, is not in the same condition of health as before, unless indeed his cure is complete. Something of the same sort is true also of diseases of the mind. Behind, there remains a legacy of traces and of blisters: and unless these are effectually erased, subsequent blows on the same spot will produce no longer mere blisters, but sores. If you do not wish to be prone to anger, do not feed the habit; give it nothing which may tend to its increase. At first, keep quiet and count the days when you were not angry: 'I used to be angry every day, then every other day: next every two, next every three days!' and if you succeed in passing thirty days, sacrifice to the Gods in thanksgiving. (75).

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„They swear to hold no other dearer than Cæsar: you, to hold our true selves dearer than all else beside.“

—  Epictetus
Context: But' you say, 'I cannot comprehend all this at once.' —Why, who told you that your powers were equal to God's? Yet God hath placed by the side of each a man’s own Guardian Spirit, who is charged to watch over him—a Guardian who sleeps not nor is deceived. For to what better or more watchful Guardian could He have committed each of us? So when you have shut the doors and made a darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone; for you are not alone, but God is within, and your Guardian Spirit, and what light do they need to behold what you do? To this God you also should have sworn allegiance, even as soldiers unto Cæsar. They, when their service is hired, swear to hold the life of Cæsar dearer than all else: and will you not swear your oath, that are deemed worthy of so many and great gifts? And will you not keep your oath when you have sworn it? And what oath will you swear? Never to disobey, never to arraign or murmur at aught that comes to you from His hand: never unwillingly to do or suffer aught that necessity lays upon you... They swear to hold no other dearer than Cæsar: you, to hold our true selves dearer than all else beside. (37).

„He has disposed that there should be“

—  Epictetus
Context: True instruction is this: —to learn to wish that each thing should come to pass as it does. And how does it come to pass? As the Disposer has disposed it. Now He has disposed that there should be summer and winter, and plenty and dearth, and vice and virtue, and all such opposites, for the harmony of the whole. (26).

„If any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone. For God hath made man to enjoy felicity and constancy of good.“

—  Epictetus
Context: If any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone. For God hath made man to enjoy felicity and constancy of good. (122).

„When you have decided that a thing ought to be done, and are doing it, never shun being seen doing it, even though the multitude should be likely to judge the matter amiss. For if you are not acting rightly, shun the act itself; if rightly, however, why fear misplaced censure?“

—  Epictetus
Context: When you have decided that a thing ought to be done, and are doing it, never shun being seen doing it, even though the multitude should be likely to judge the matter amiss. For if you are not acting rightly, shun the act itself; if rightly, however, why fear misplaced censure? (172).

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