You know from experience that in all your wanderings you have nowhere found the good life—not in logic, not in wealth, not in glory, not in indulgence: nowhere. Where then is it to be found? In doing what man’s nature requires. And how is he to do this? By having principles to govern his impulses and actions. What are these principles? Those of good and evil—the belief that nothing is good for a human being which does not make him just, self-controlled, brave, and free: and nothing evil which does not make him the opposite of these.

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One man prays: ‘How can I sleep with that woman?’ Your prayer is: ‘How can I lose the desire to sleep with her?’ Another prays: ‘How can I be rid of that man?’ You pray: ‘How can I stop wanting to be rid of him?’ Another: ‘How can I save my little child?’ You: ‘How can I learn not to fear his loss?’ And so on. Give all your prayers this turn, and observe what happens.

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At break of day, when you are reluctant to get up, have this thought ready to mind: ‘I am getting up for a man’s work. Do I still then resent it, if I am going out to do what I was born for, the purpose for which I was brought into the world? Or was I created to wrap myself in blankets and keep warm?’ ‘But this is more pleasant.’ Were you then born for pleasure—all for feeling, not for action? Can you not see plants, birds, ants, spiders, bees all doing their own work, each helping in their one way to order the world? And then you do not want to do the work of a human being—you do not hurry to the demands of your own nature

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When you have done good and another has benefited, why do you still look, as fools do, for a third thing besides—credit for good works, or a return?”

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The time you have left is short. Live it as if you were on a mountain. Here or there makes no difference, if wherever you live you take the world as your city. Let men see, let them observe a true man living in accordance with nature. If they cannot bear him, let them kill him—a better fate than a life like theirs.