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Day 50: The Banquet Of Life

Remember to conduct yourself in life as if at a banquet. As something being passed around comes to you, reach out your hand and take a moderate helping. Does it pass you by? Don’t stop it. It hasn’t yet come? Don’t burn in desire for it, but wait until it arrives in front of you. Act this way with children, a spouse, toward position, with wealth—one day it will make you worthy of a banquet with the gods.


Today’s stoic meditation is quite interesting. Here, Epictetus is comparing life to a banquet. And there have been multiple interpretations of this meditation.

One interpretation for this is to control our desires. Whenever you desire something from the banquet of life, remember that you must wait for your turn. Breaking into the line and stepping onto people to grab what you want is not considered good manners. Neither if you don’t get what you desire then you should snatch it from other’s plates.

Another interpretation is for instilling certain virtues in our life. You have been offered or invited to a banquet, it’s a great opportunity and you must be grateful for it. And whatever you have on your plate, you must savor it. It suggests that you must live and enjoy the present moment. And since you have access to all, you must over-stuff yourself as you are going to fall sick. This suggests you live with the idea of less is more. Furthermore, if you have access to a nice banquet, then you must help the host to clean up suggesting inculcate selflessness in ourselves. And last but not the least, inviting other people to share with you in the banquet to promote the idea of charity.

While all these are interesting interpretations, I came across another interpretation in this blog post. Here, the author is saying that in the banquet not everyone eats the same food. Everyone has a different appetite and a different food choice. But the author asks to be mindful of what you eat, not be afraid to try out new things, and above all enjoy every bite of what you eat.

Now all these interpretations are beautiful and one can learn from all of them. Let me in the comments below which interpretation you liked most or if you interpret it differently.

Published inPhilosophy & IdeasStoicism

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