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Epictetus (55-135 CE) Enchiridion
A manual for living a contented life
Rendered by Charles Scamahorn (1935- ) 2014

Paragraph 45

When a person takes a bath quickly, don’t say he did it poorly, but that he did it quickly, and when a person gulps a quantity of wine don’t say he did the thing poorly, but that he drank a large quantity of wine. If you don’t know why a person did a particular act, you don’t know if he did it well of poorly. If you perceive, think and speak without too quick a judgment you will avoid making errors of overgeneralization, and will be more responsive to real facts.

COMMENTS

To make our lives easier it is important to base our decisions and actions on accurate information. This paragraph gives suggestions for holding back on your judgments of the actions of other people, until you have a clear understanding of their reasons for doing what they did. When you make a judgment of good or bad of their action you color your remaining observation of what they do, and that may be totally different from what you would have thought if you hadn’t made a hasty judgment.

 

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