The Seven Functions of a Clear Mind by The Stoic Epictetus

How you doing this Ivan and I’m back with another quote of the day to have a great day!

Today’s quote is by the Stoic Philosopher EPICTETUS

“The proper work of the mind is the exercise of choice, refusal, yearning, repulsion, preparation, purpose, and assent. What then can pollute and clog the mind’s proper functioning? Nothing but its own corrupt decisions.”


On our self-development journey, our goal is to become a balanced human being.

Balanced in our various centers or functions. We have our intellectual center, our emotional and feeling center, and our bodily and instinctive center.

Many of us are unbalanced, and what this means is that our various functions are not used efficiently and don’t work in a coordinated and integrated fashion and will often times try to do the work of another center. Mental energy trying to do the work of emotional energy. This would be an example of someone stuck in their head and then trying to understand someone who is communicating through their emotional center. As a result, no real relationship and understanding will be taking place.

In today’s quote, Epictetus gives us a good look of how our intellectual center should be used.

Let’s look at the various functions he highlights:

  • Choice— our ability to choose what we think and act in accordance with our vision.
  • Refusal— our ability to use our mind to refuse what isn’t good for our well-being.
  • Yearning— we can use our minds to create a life aim to give our life meaning. Meaning is what many of us are yearning after.
  • Repulsion—our ability to push away negative influences and not accept what isn’t true.
  • Preparation— our ability to plan logically and adapt along the way.
  • Purpose—our ability to use our intellect to carry out our most innermost heart’s desire.
  • Assent— our ability to use our mind to clearly discriminate between what’s in or out of our control and the wisdom to accept what isn’t and take action on what we can.

So according to Epictetus thinking and regretting our past or fearfully imagining our future would be the wrong use of our mental energy.

Learning to use each center and allowing it to do its work according to its strengths will help us become balanced and integrated and then we will be living harmoniously.

Stay tuned as I will be sharing all the various ways we can balance our functions and start functioning from a higher state of Being.

All right, that’s it for today. Hope you enjoyed today’s post. If you did please help me out share with someone who might find it valuable. Until next time, many blessings to you, PEACE!

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