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Épictète

Date de naissance: 50 ap. J.-C.
Date de décès: 138
Autres noms: Epiktétos z Hierápole

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Épictète, en grec ancien Ἐπίκτητος / Epíktêtos, qui signifie « homme acheté, serviteur », était un philosophe de l’école stoïcienne. Sa vie est relativement peu connue, et il ne laissa aucune œuvre écrite de sa main. Son disciple Arrien assura la transmission de son œuvre en publiant les notes prises lors des leçons de son maître, en huit livres, dont la moitié sont aujourd'hui perdus, ainsi qu'un condensé de doctrine morale, le Manuel, textes qui eurent une influence certaine sur Marc Aurèle.

Épictète met fortement en avant la partie éthique de la philosophie. Bien qu'il enseigne également la logique stoïcienne, il insiste fortement sur la prépondérance de l'action, et sa philosophie est avant tout pratique. Fidèle aux conceptions traditionnelles de l'école du portique, il présente l'Homme comme soumis au destin ordonné par les dieux. Son enseignement se veut une méthode pour atteindre le bonheur par l'ataraxie, la paix de l'âme en acceptant, avec courage et amour, tout décret du destin inexorable, en accomplissant loyalement son devoir en dépit des circonstances, et en agissant avec bienveillance envers les autres Hommes.

Citations Épictète

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„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.“

—  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).

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„Refuse altogether to take an oath if you can, if not, as far as may be.“

—  Epictetus
Context: Refuse altogether to take an oath if you can, if not, as far as may be. (166).

„Thou shalt not blame or flatter any.“

—  Epictetus
Context: Thou shalt not blame or flatter any. (6).

„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).

„Does a Philosopher apply to people to come and hear him? does he not rather, of his own nature, attract those that will be benefited by him—like the sun that warms, and the food that sustains them?“

—  Epictetus
Context: Does a Philosopher apply to people to come and hear him? does he not rather, of his own nature, attract those that will be benefited by him—like the sun that warms, and the food that sustains them? (120).

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„As God hath ordained, so do; else thou wilt suffer chastisement and loss. Askest thou what loss?“

—  Epictetus
Context: Canst thou judge men?... then make us imitators of thyself, as Socrates did. Do this, do not do that, else will I cast thee into prison; this is not governing men like reasonable creatures. Say rather, As God hath ordained, so do; else thou wilt suffer chastisement and loss. Askest thou what loss? None other than this: To have left undone what thou shouldst have done: to have lost the faithfulness, the reverence, the modesty that is in thee! Greater loss than this seek not to find! (91).

„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).

„Everything has two handles, one by which it may be borne, the other by which it may not.“

—  Epictetus
Context: Everything has two handles, one by which it may be borne, the other by which it may not. If your brother sin against you lay not hold of it by the handle of his injustice, for by that it may not be borne: but rather by this, that he is your brother, the comrade of your youth; and thus you will lay hold on it so that it may be borne. (174).

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