You cannot hope to be a scholar. But what you can do is to curb arrogance; what you can do is to rise above pleasures and pains; you can be superior to the lure of popularity; you can keep your temper with the foolish and ungrateful, yes, even care for them.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (8.8)
Photo by Gary Ellis on Unsplash
“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821 – 1881), The Brothers Kamarazov
Hat tip to Je t’aime / N’arrete pas.
Photo by Andre Mouton on Unsplash
To try to make the world in some way better than you found it is to have a noble motive in life.
Andrew Carnegie (1835 – 1919)
Disaster is virtue’s opportunity.
Seneca (4 BC – AD 65), On Providence (iv 4-6)
The rough clothes, the rank growth of hair and beard, the sworn hatred of silverware, the pallet laid on the ground: all these and any other perverse form of self-aggrandisement are things you should avoid…
The life we endeavour to live should be better than the general practice, not contrary to it…
Philosophy demands self-restraint, not self-abnegation – and even self-restraint can comb its hair.
Seneca (4 BC – AD 65), Moral Letters to Lucilius (5.2 – 5.5)
Worth a re-post in these locked down times.
A person is alive when he is of use to many; he is alive when he is of use to himself. Slackers who hide out at home might as well be in the tomb. Go ahead and write it in marble above their door:
Preceded in death by themselves.
Seneca (4 BC – AD 65), Moral Letters to Lucilius (60.4)
What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task.
Viktor E. Frankl (1905 – 1997), Man’s Search for Meaning (p110)
Note: the translation I have is “striving and struggling”, but I’ve also seen it translated as “What man needs is not a tensionless state, but rather a striving struggle for a worthwhile goal.” which I think I prefer.
A bull is filled up by only a few acres of pasturage; a single wood suffices for more than one elephant; yet a human being feeds upon land and sea. Why is that? Has nature given us such an insatiable maw that although the bodies we are given are of modest size, we yet surpass the largest, most ravenous eaters of the animal world? That is not the case … It is not bodily hunger that runs up the bill but ambition. Therefore let us regard those who, as Sallust says, “heed the belly” as belonging to the race of animals rather than of humans.
Seneca (4 BC – AD 65), Moral Letters to Lucilius (60.2 – 4)
Without music, life would be a mistake.
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900), Twilight of the Idols (Maxims and Arrows, 33)
Why make ourselves worse than little children? When they are left alone, what do they do? They gather up shards and dust and build something or other, then tear it down and build something else again; and so they are never at a loss as to how to spend their time. Am I, then, if you set sail, to sit down and cry because I am left alone and forlorn in that fashion? Shan’t I have shards, shan’t I have dust?
Epictetus (c.50 – 135), Handbook (3.13)
Note: the above translation comes from the very fine Daily Stoic newsletter.