Wednesday, November 09, 2005

If you wish to be crucified, just be patient and the cross will come to you.

Discourses II.2, "On Tranquillity," has several arguments worth exploring, but this striking admonition comes near the end as Epictetus warns us to avoid needlessly provoking the powers that be. If you wish to elicit a fair or sympathetic response from anyone, but especially from those with power, do not make a show of informing them that you do not care what decisions they make. You are encouraging & provoking an unfair and unsympathetic response with such lack of respect.

If Socrates wanted to elicit a just verdict from his jury, we could not have spoken more ill-advisedly. Epictetus implies that Socrates' character required him to speak as he did, but that "apology" is very hard to understand. Reread the Apology and especially Scrates' timesis speech. For whatever reason, it seems that Socrates was impatient for the cross to come to him.


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