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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wherever I and Mine are Placed

WHENEVER, therefore, anyone makes his interest to consist in the same thing with sanctity, virtue, his country, parents, and friends, all these are secured; but wherever they are made to interfere, friends, and country, and family, and justice itself, all give way, borne down by the weight of self-interest. For wherever I and mine are placed, thither must every animal gravitate. If in body, that will sway us; if in choice, that; if in externals, these. If, therefore, I be placed in a right choice, then only I shall be a friend, a son, or a father, such as I ought. For in that case it will be for my interest to preserve the faithful, the modest, the patient, the abstinent, the beneficent character; to keep the relations of life inviolate. But, if I place myself in one thing, and virtue in another, the doctrine of Epicurus will stand its ground, That virtue is nothing, or mere opinion.

In reading this passage this morning I was reminded of a portion of the "Sermon on the Mount"...  
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt. 6:20-21
In reading these passages I have to, at the risk of possibly annoying some Christians out there, admit that I like the way it has been written by Epictetus more than in the Matthew or Luke passages. It isn't just what we hold as valuable but also whether we give the same value to virtue, our loved ones, etc.  against our value of self.  If we hold our own self to be more important than our morals, kin and country then when those things are held in peril self-preservation will be the choice that is made above all else.  What we hold to be of great value is what will guide our choices and determination in a difficult circumstance.  This is why an education that gives a groundwork of morals and principles is to be held in such high esteem as this is what we will steer our ship by when the storms of life hit.  My concern is that moral streams of education seem to be in lower esteem in our society.  I hope that this tendency in education/society does not continue for when society reaches a crisis it is the moral compass that will guide our direction.