There is Philosophy in Everything

lutarch, a Roman biographer as well as an admirer of the Stoics, didn't begin his study of the greats of Roman literature until late in life. But, as he recounts in his biography of Demosthenes, he was surprised at how quickly it all came to him. He wrote, “It wasn't so much that the words brought me into a full understanding of events, as that, somehow, I had a personal experience of the events that allowed me to follow closely the meaning of the words.”

This is what Epictetus means about the study of philosophy. Study, yes, but go live your life as well. It’s the only way that you’ll actually understand what any of it means. And more important, it’s only from your actions and choices over time that it will be possible to see whether you took any of the teachings to heart.

Be aware of that today when you’re going to work, going on a date, deciding whom to vote for, calling your parents in the evening, waving to your neighbor as you walk to your door, tipping the delivery man, saying goodnight to someone you love. All of that is philosophy. All of it is experience that brings meaning to the words.


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