Epictetus was a Stoic Greek philosopher who lived from AD 55-135. His belief was basically that all external events are determined by fate; there’s nothing we can do to control what happens to us. Nevertheless, we are responsible for how we react, which we can control through rigorous self discipline. Odd as it sounds, it reminds me of a M*A*S*H episode. Colonel Potter says as much when he compares life to baseball. We can’t control the circumstances of the game; the best thing we can do is hit what’s pitched. I like this quote on how books can inform our lives.
â€œDonâ€™t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents.”
-Epictetus, The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness