April 27

Selling your soul

"What's it worth to you?" There have been criticisms of Western culture that it is beginning to bring forth a 'Culture of Entitlement' while masquerading as a Meritocracy. While the arguments for both sides rage on, and in fact for all positions in between, Epictetus reminds that, in the end, it is up to us to set the price for ourselves.

Reflection

Have you witnessed favoritism in the past? Was there a 'cost' associated with the favors received?

Read The Manual, § 25 v. 1-5

Examination

    • Why does Epictetus add the qualification "with a view to getting things which are not under our control" in v. 1? How does this change the sense of the passage?
    • Epictetus add another qualifier, "if it is to your interest," in v. 4. What things of the type mentioned would be in our interest?
    • Why does Epictetus mention things that were not paid as a benefit?

Application

    • As you interact with others today, pause to examine your actions. Are you acting to create an exchange?
    • Note the occasions where you choose to withhold 'payment' for something that you feel is 'overpriced.' What standard did you use to evaluate the worth of the result.
    • Consciously examine the risk involved in paying for something whose result is ultimately out of your control. How many of them do you expect, without taking into account the inherent risk?

Realization

In your journal, make a list of the three most important things to you. Next to each, indicate which of the following you would willingly sacrifice to preserve them:

    1. your life
    2. your health
    3. your possessions
    4. your character (i.e. virtues)
    5. your position

Briefly explain why you made those choices.