The Daily Stoic for November 8th, “Actors In A Play”.
“Remember that you are an actor in a play, playing a character according to the will of the playwright—if a short play, then it’s short; if long, long. If he wishes you to play the beggar, play even that role well, just as you would if it were a cripple, a honcho, or an everyday person. For this is your duty, to perform well the character assigned you. That selection belongs to another.”—EPICTETUS, ENCHIRIDION, 17
Nature or nurture? That seems to be the topic for today’s daily stoic again. It’s true that we don’t choose where we born, who are our parents, or even our childhood friends. We probably can’t choose our school, high school, or even college. I think it’s after boyhood that we start to make decisions and become the owners of our lives.
Actors In A Play
Does that mean that our lives are predestined? Can’t we change things? Is our fate eventually defined by our parents and the place we grow up in?
While I believe those things definitely have a great influence on who we become, for the most part we are the result of our decisions. What we become, no cradle can define.
Of course, sometimes our decisions are not enough to avoid the weight of our heritage or
So while I admire the stoic teaching of accepting and understanding whatever happens -good or bad- out of our control, I still defend that it’s us who decide our fate. Thinking otherwise would be very similar to submitting to conformism.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Actors In A Play”, discusses again the “nurture vs nature” topic, and acceptance of everything that happens outside of our control.