The Enchiridion in 52 sentences

Thursday January 7, 2021

The Enchiridion isn't long, but it also doesn't have chapter names, so I thought I'd write one-line summaries. I referred to the Long, Carter, and (most preferred) Eliot translations.

  1. Only your actions and perceptions are under your exclusive control.
  2. Limit your desires and fears to things you have control over.
  3. Don't be upset by things outside your control.
  4. Have realistic expectations and you will be less likely to be disturbed.
  5. Fools blame others, and students blame themselves, but the wise blame no one.
  6. Take pride only in what you do.
  7. Live so that you are never unprepared for death.
  8. Align your hopes with reality.
  9. Physical impediments need not disadvantage your mind.
  10. All challenges are opportunities to exercise your many virtues.
  11. Everything is borrowed; nothing is lost, but only returned.
  12. Don't let external things poison your mental state.
  13. To learn effectively, devote no energy to appearing to know.
  14. Do not hope to control other people, but only yourself.
  15. Take what has come comfortably within reach, undistracted by distant desires.
  16. It is not events that cause distress, but our reactions to them.
  17. In whatever situation you find yourself, do your best.
  18. Whatever the future holds can be turned to your advantage.
  19. Judge yourself and others only by how well the controllable is controlled.
  20. Insults and praise do not change who you are, and are not your concern or goal.
  21. You could die at any moment; keep things in perspective.
  22. Ignore invalid criticism, maintaining a humble focus on what's important.
  23. However you wish to be seen by others, act so that you know this is how you are.
  24. Do not let worldly goals distract you from living virtuously.
  25. Every benefit has a cost; it is not helpful to covet what you will not pursue.
  26. Also maintain an outsider's perspective on the events of your own life.
  27. Nothing is intrinsically evil.
  28. Do not let other people control your mind and emotions.
  29. Before doing anything, consider what is entailed and whether you can commit fully.
  30. Regardless of the behavior of those around you, behave virtuously toward them.
  31. Do not assign blame, or even call things good or bad, except for your own actions.
  32. Information is neither good nor bad; do not fear it, avoid it, or ignore it.
  33. Be modest and reserved in speech and other involvements with the world.
  34. Do not rush into hedonism, but consider also the satisfaction of self control.
  35. Don't be afraid to be seen doing what you think is good to do.
  36. Moderate your desires and share with others.
  37. You can't be something else by pretending, and in pretending you also fail to be you.
  38. As you protect your hand from being burned, take care to protect your state of mind.
  39. Judge things by how well they fulfill their function; you don't need fancy things.
  40. Honor people for their substantive contributions (regardless of gender, for example).
  41. Don't let food, drink, exercise, sleep, or sex rule your mind.
  42. Remember everyone is doing their best, given what they know and believe.
  43. All things are handled better in a spirit of cooperation than confrontation.
  44. No person is better or worse than any other, though their attributes may differ.
  45. Avoid value judgements; strive to perceive and communicate factually.
  46. Let wisdom inform all your actions, and reduce the amount you talk.
  47. Do not seek admiration for doing what is admirable.
  48. Maintain an internal locus of control, and control yourself.
  49. Seek wisdom to guide your actions, not as academic posturing.
  50. Do what is best, without delay, unapologetically, always striving to improve.
  51. Be guided by your principles.
  52. Accept reality freely–especially the reality of your mind's freedom.