“Protect your own good in all that you do…” Epictetus

How does one protect his good? Why? Is it under attack? Will someone steal it in the night? Epictetus is somewhat esoteric when it comes to his meaning here, for when he speaks of good in this way he almost seems to be talking of the soul.

So to the first question, how does one protect his good, or soul? First and foremost we have to not let the sometimes overwhelming negative news of the day infect us with its rage, or worse its apathy. In a sense we need to stay naive, or like children.

I don’t think he means we should be ignorant of the world around us, more that we should deal with what is in front of us, where we can affect real change. The rest, those things beyond our reach, we need to let go. By focusing on the problems that we can fix we maintain our hope, which in turn protects our good.

As for the second question, is it under attack or threat of theft, I’d say yes. Anything that tries to steal our attention away from our own, or our community’s, betterment is trying to steal the good. Where we place our focus is where and what we grow. Toxic politics, wealth for wealth’s sake, recognition- these are all things that can steal the good from us and we need to be vigilant about how much attention we pay them.