Epictetus, Ewan, And Duane Begin: An Analysis

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Epictetus, Stuart Ewan, and Duane Elgin all offer advice on the question of how one should go about living to have a good or meaningful life. Although all the authors come to a general consensus that one should be wary of the objects we desire and attach to, the degree of caution that each one presents varies. Epictetus gives a strong caution because he advises people to detach from almost everything in their lives. If one were to utilize his advice, one would need to undergo a great amount of change in order to truly follow the advice given. Stuart Ewan focuses on being cautious of the desire for the glamourous material life as shown on television and in advertisements. He focuses less on how a person should live their life and more on the…show more content…
The main goal in following all the advice he provides is to be free from disturbance. The first and seemingly most important advice he gives is the distinction between what is in one's control and what is out of it. In knowing this distinction, a person can identify exactly what they are capable of changing in their life before wasting energy in an area that they have no control over. Epictetus claims that the things that are out of our control are “body, property reputation, command” and whatever is not a person’s own actions (1, pg 1). All these things are considered by Epictetus to be “weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others” and because of this we should not worry ourselves over these (1, pg. 1). Epictetus predicts that if a person desires anything out of their control they will “lament, be disturbed, and find fault with both god and men” and they “must necessarily be disappointed” (1-2, pg. 1). Importance should not be given to that which is out of our control because in deeming them important we are wagering our happiness on a losing game. In knowing what is out of one’s control and recognizing the futility of attempting to live a good life by trying to control these aspect, one can move onto focusing their efforts on what they can…show more content…
He does this to do away with the common misconceptions about simple living that usually present the lifestyle as one that is harsh, undesirable, and unachievable by the average person. Although a simple life does not have a definite answer, Elgin asserts that it is not impoverished living or a turning away from progress or a path of “no growth” (pg. 398-400). Poverty is not a voluntary action and is degrading to the human spirit while living simply is a choice that a person freely makes and gives a person a sense empowerment (Elgin, pg. 399). In addressing the misconception of simple living as one of “no growth”, Elgin asserts that economic progress in this lifestyle would include both a growth that is “material and spiritual” (399). This new growth is about focusing energies on enhancing the nonmaterial sides of society like sense of community, strength of democracy, and capacity for compassion

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