Selections from “The Discourses, Handbook, Fragments” of Epictetus


trans. Christopher Gill and Robin Hard

All things obey and serve the universe, both earth and sea, and the sun and the other stars, and the plants and animals of the earth. Our body likewise obeys it, both in sickness and health (when the universe wills) and when young and old, and as it passes through all other changes. It is therefore reasonable also that what depends on ourselves, that is to say, our judgement, should not be the only thing to strive against it. For the universe is powerful, and superior to ourselves, and has taken better counsel on our behalf than we can, by embracing us too in its governance in conjunction with the whole. Moreover, to act against it is to align ourselves with unreason, and achieving nothing but futile harassment, embroils us in pains and sorrows. (Fragments, 3)

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Selections from “The Emperor’s Handbook”


by Marcus Aurelius,
trans. Scott and David Hicks

Never forget that the universe is a single living organism possessed of one substance and one soul, holding all things suspended in a single consciousness and creating all things with a single purpose that they might work together spinning and weaving and knotting whatever comes to pass. (4, 40)

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