Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The Purple Thread

Epictetus was a second century Greek philosopher. He considered philosophy as a way of life rather than an academic matter. According to him, human sufferings arise when we try to control what is beyond our power and ignore what is within our reach. In one of his famous sayings, he compared people who fit in to the white threads of a dress. Such people are virtually indistinguishable from one another. He wanted to be a purple thread – “that small and shining part which makes the rest seem fair and beautiful”. “Why then”, he asks, “do you want me to be like the many? And if I do, how would I still remain purple?”

So which is better? Being peculiar purple or a predictable pale? I think that everyone should try to achieve a level of excellence in his or her favorite pursuit. Being different from the norm is good as life’s splendor comes from its diversity. Besides purple is one of my favorite colors.


  1. "Because you think yourself but one among the many threads which make up the texture of the doublet. You should aim at being like men in general--just as your thread has no ambition either to be anything distinguished compared with the other threads. But I desire to be the purple--that small and shining part which makes the rest seem fair and beautiful. Why then do you bid me become even as the multitude? Then were I no longer the purple.”

    Epictetus (AD c. 55 – 135) - Ancient Greek sage and stoic philosopher

  2. There are some people who always want to be like the purple thread .To stand out. They are capable of this because they know their strengths and weaknesses. the person who knows himself inside and out is truly a purple thread. loved your post . ^<^.

  3. I was told that everyone strives to become a purple thread surrounded by a host of common white threads. Everyone strives to be different but few succeed. In a way , no one is the same . everyone is different . then why can’t they be a purple thread ? why indeed . because even though an individual may seem different from all others but there is always something he shares with all others . pray ask what that is ? why it’s the plain characteristic of being human ! haha. I bet you didn’t see that coming . anyway , I was told this even though you are a human of the same race or any race you can create your own identity , your own symbol . you don’t need books or technology to make yourself different . you only need to put your faculties of talent to use and the rest will change itself . because everyone has a talent even in animals . take my cat for example. Hes not very good at sleeping but he is excellent at playing . I am just moderate studying but I love reading and photography . my sister may not be good at photography but she has her own sense of style which I sadly donot possess . anyway as I mean to say you can become a purple thread if only you use your talent , your brain and your determination . *^<^*