The Discourses of Epictetus is a series of informal lectures by the Stoic philosopher Epictetus, compiled by his pupil Arrian. The Stoic emphasis on endurance, self-restraint, and the power of the will to withstand calamity could often appear cold and inhuman. Epictetus, however, offers the most humane interpretation of Stoic ideals by using humor, imaginary conversations, and homely comparisons to put his message across. It is a practical philosophy that directs students to focus attention on their opinions, anxieties, passions, and desires. Epictetus contends that genuine education comes from discerning what is our own from that which does not belong to us and in correctly assenting or dissenting to external impressions. The Discourses have been influential throughout history and are quoted by Marcus Aurelius.