Wanting What God Wants

In Discourses II.17, Epictetus expresses the necessity to embrace what-is in theistic terms:

“Give up wanting anything but what God wants…. When you have such a leader as Zeus and identify your wishes and your desires with His, why are you still afraid that you will fail?”

This is more than just acceptance. It also requires giving up fears and complaints:  “But if you show envy, wretched man, and pity, and jealousy, and timidity, and never let a day pass without bewailing yourself and the gods, how can you continue to say that you have been educated?”

For Epictetus, the acceptance of externals isn’t incidental to my desires — rather, it is to be the very heart of my desire.  It is to motivate all my moral choices — I am to want what happens;  I am to want the ultimately integrated and codependent whole in all its manifestations; I am to want God’s will to be done, even if it’s incomprehensible.

There’s a connection with Job here.

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