EPH’ HEMIN is ‘in our power’. According to our philosophy, something is ‘in our power’ only if it is completely under our control. And the only things under our control are the ones in our mind. So, ‘in our power’ is the possibility to choose the reaction to what is not ‘in our power’.
<Eph’ hemin> is ‘in our power’. Opinions, ideas, notions and points of view are all ‘in our power’. We can decide to consider money absolutely vital and superior to any other asset of life. Or we can decide to consider money as only an useful tool inferior to values such as dignity, integrity and decency. It is up to us to feel sad if we are alone. And it is up to us to feel happy if we are alone.
In other words, we can say that human beings always retain the capacity to exercise moral wills. In their power are their opinions (beliefs, judgments), impulses (intentions to act), desires, and aversions. Everything else, being external to their will, or moral characters, is clearly not in their power. Epiktetos (Epictetus) is one of the philosophers who pays a lot of attention to this topic.
We cannot decide the weather. And we cannot determine our family of birth. Also we cannot choose who we meet around the corner. Nor can we influence the seasonal sequence. In fact the list of things and events out of our domain is infinite. However we can still control our states of mind. It does not come easily because we humans use to think that managing emotions, moods and feelings is difficult. Indeed, it is really hard. It is so because we focus on other artificial targets of life like money, career, appearances and other futilities. Training is necessary to win back our states of mind. A guidance (master, teacher, mentor) would also be advisable. And of course it takes time, energy and perseverance (<askesis>).