April 29

Food of the Gods

Every act is an act of grace. Even the most 'mundane' tasks, such as eating, drinking and washing, can be done with an eye to virtue. Epictetus reminds us that how we accomplish each of these tasks has an impact on our whole character.


As you were preparing to begin your day, think about the tasks you accomplished. How much thought did you put into your routine? Were there intentions behind the acts? Or repercussions from them?

Read The Discourses, Book I, Chapter XIII, v. 1-2


    • What are the conditions that Epictetus lists related to eating? Why would they make 'eating' acceptable?
    • Which of the virtues is Epictetus commending to us in v. 2?
    • How do the different scenarios outlined in v. 2 relate to the Stoic principle of 'Control'?


    • Virtue is not only evidenced in the great and heroic moments of our lives. Pause before a routine task, one you accomplish daily, and ask yourself which of the virtues you are working through?
    • Return to the virtues listed in v. 1. Choose one that is lacking in your daily round and seek to add it at the appropriate time.
    • If something or someone goes against your desire today, remember the virtue exemplified in v. 2 and apply it.


Epictetus is asking us to live the 'examined life'. Spend some time this evening analyzing one the routines of your day. Is it virtuous? What is its aim? Who is benefited by it and in what way?