A son is dead. What, then? A son is dead. Nothing more? Nothing. A ship is lost. What then? A ship is lost. He is carried to prison. What then? He is carried to prison. That he is unhappy is an addition that everyone must make for himself.
You must apply yourself either to things within or without. That is, be either a philosopher or one of the mob. —Epictetus
These are all conditions where we are expected to show feeling, grief. We are thought hard-hearted, cruel, if we do not. People say to me, I don't wish to overcome all feeling. No, most people live in the emotions. An emotional person is considered very kind-hearted. Emotions are of two kinds always. If we can be carried away by our feelings when happy, and express in consequence what we call love, then we can be carried away by our feelings of depression or anger, and show the opposite condition. Emotional people are not well balanced. We never know where we are going to find them, up or down.
Events come to each one of us. Whether we are happy or unhappy rests with ourselves, and not with the event. It simply shows our point reached in development, the attitude in which we accept it.
A knowledge of principles brings us to firm ground. We have no use for the emotional nature, which really belongs to the undeveloped side.
Principles do not make us hard or cruel. We are more tender and loving as a result of living by principles. We have simply grown to a larger understanding of things, are a little higher up the mountain. We have begun to apply ourselves to the things within instead of without.
When we say, “All is good,” how can we have emotions for happiness or unhappiness, if we truly believe that “all is good”?
We talk so much, and believe so little. One day we play at being a “philosopher,” and the next we are back with the “mob.” Why not take our stand once for all, and be philosophers? This continual living in externals, this continual talking about living within. Why not be a normal creature, and not a monstrosity, neither “fish nor fowl.” Let us be good animals, or let us live the divine that is in each one of us. Let us be, and not seem to be. Are we not tired of playing a double role? Are we not tired of trotting around the old racetrack of little events, great events, or any events? How much do we gain spiritually by retailing them to our friends? Can we not talk about principles? Can we not live according to principles? Can we not “stay at home with the soul,” getting a larger understanding of God and ourselves?