Epictetus vs. Seneca “a Comparison in the Writings of Two Stoic Philosophers.”

941 words 4 pages
Born of different stations, languages and creeds, Epictetus and Seneca are Roman philosophers who externally appear to be very different. Epictetus was born to a slave mother, sold as a slave himself and spent the majority of his youth as a slave in Rome. Seneca was born into money; he became tutor to a boy named Nero who later acquired position of Emperor of Rome in 54 A.D. Though these two men seem to be from very different worlds, they have a shared purpose in studying philosophy. The purpose of their writings was to teach people how to live well. Though they had a shared purpose, they suggested its achievement through different means. Epictetus professed an ‘expect the worst so you wont be disappointed when it happens’ …show more content…

But, everything a person is, their unique spirit and personality, everything that makes a person a person is dependent on the proper functioning of a complex, fragile and miraculous chunk of meat that is the human body and without a body, a “person” cannot exist. This is a bit of a bold statement to make, for a man who never had a proper family. He was born into servitude, taken away from his mother at a young age and sold into slavery. He never had a wife or child of his own, so how can he begin to instruct others on how to treat or feel about their own wives and children. Epictetus says, “If it ever happens that you turn outward to want to please another person, certainly you have lost your plan of life.” I completely agree that it is best to live your life for yourself and that if you are living your life for someone else, it may be an unhealthy relationship. I agree with Epictetus there, but it makes me sad to believe that the man who wrote such things, never had the opportunity to consider doing things differently in life in order to please another person. If I met Epictetus today, the only thing I would have to say to him is, “don’t knock it, ‘til you try