Everything – a horse, a vine – is created for some duty. This is nothing to wonder at: even the sun-god himself will tell you, ‘There is a work that I am here to do,’ and so will the other sky-dwellers. For what task, then, were you yourself created? For pleasure? Can such a thought be tolerated?
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (8.19)
The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.
Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)
Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (7.27)
It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation. Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring of myth.
Joseph Campbell (1904 – 87), The Hero With a Thousand Faces (Ch 1, para 2)
There are three things which the gentleman guards against. In youth, when the physical powers are not yet settled, he guards against lust. When he is strong and the physical powers are full of vigour, he guards against quarrelsomeness. When he is old, and the animal powers are decayed, he guards against covetousness.
Confucius (551-479 BC), The Analects, Book XVI, para. 19
In the life of a man, his time is but a moment, his being an incessant flux, his senses a dim rushlight, his body a prey of worms, his soul an unquiet eddy, his fortune dark, and his fame doubtful. In short, all that is of the body is as coursing waters, all that is of the soul as dreams and vapours; life, a warfare, a brief sojourning in an alien land; and after repute, oblivion.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (2.17)
The gentleman undergoes three changes. Looked at from a distance, he appears stern; when approached, he is mild; when he is heard to speak, his language is firm and decided.”
Confucius (551-479 BC), The Analects, Book XIX, para. 9
The gentleman has a dignified ease without pride. The small man has pride without a dignified ease.
Confucius (551-479 BC), The Analects, Book XII, para. 40
Principles can only lose their vitality when the first impressions from which they derive have sunk into extinction; and it is for you to keep fanning these continually into new flame… You have only to see things once more in the light of your first and earlier vision, and life begins anew.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (7.2)
How many whose praises used to be sung so loudly are now relegated to oblivion; and how many of the singers themselves have long since passed from our sight!
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (7.6)