Do not project your desire

Remember that you ought to behave in life as you would at a banquet. As something is being passed around it comes to you; stretch out your hand, take a portion of it politely. It passes on; do not detain it. Or it has not come to you yet; do not project your desire to meet it, but wait until it comes in front of you. So act toward children, so toward a wife, so toward office, so toward wealth – and one day you will be fit to share the Banquets of the Gods.

But if you don’t so much as touch that which is placed before you, but despise it, then you shall not only share the Banquets of the Gods, but their Empire also.

-Epictetus, The Golden Sayings CLIX

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~ by scalambra on May 10, 2011.

4 Responses to “Do not project your desire”

  1. Christianity integrated a fair portion of Stoic philosophy. I like Seneca. O to have read the correspondence between him and Saint Paul.

  2. Seneca corresponded with Saint Paul?!!!!

  3. To be honest I am almost a little weary of the heavily-loaded word ‘projected’ having been accused of doing so much of it; it just seems a word to describe what everyone else except oneself does !

    But as C.G. Jung states projection in itself is neither good or bad, but what one does with it, but i guess Epictetus would easily have recognized the symptoms of it, idle, self-centred desires indulged in.

  4. Hydrotaphia, I don’t think this is anything to do with projection in the psychoanalytical sense. As I was typing the quote, I even wrote “send forth” – “do not send forth your desire” – but then changed it to accord with the translation. I feel it more like projecting your intention (Chinese “yi” – mind/intention)

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