Category: Echoes through time

Echoes through time: the entire range of human fortunes

Exile, torture, war, shipwreck … We should set before our eyes the entire range of human fortunes, and calibrate our thoughts about the future not by the usual scale of events but by the magnitude of what could happen. If we wish not to be overwhelmed, stunned by rare occurrences as if they were unparalleled, we must take a comprehensive view of fortune.

… whatever we mortals construct is condemned to be mortal We live amid things that will die. … Let us, therefore, shape our minds to be such as will understand and endure our lot, knowing that fortune shrinks from nothing.

Seneca (4 BC – AD 65),  Moral Letters to Lucilius (91.8, 91.12, 91.15)

Image: Andrew Munro

Echoes through time: take your stand

An empty pageant; a stage play; flocks of sheep, herds of cattle; a tussle of spearmen; a bone flung among a pack of curs; a crumb tossed into a pond of fish; ants, loaded and labouring; mice, scared and scampering; puppets, jerking on their strings – that is life. In the midst of it all you must take your stand, good-temperedly and without disdain, yet always aware that a man’s worth is no greater than the worth of his ambition.

Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (7.3)

 

Echoes through time: no one is made wretched merely by the present

Animals in the wild flee the dangers they see and are tranquil once they have escaped; we, though, are tormented both by what is to come and what has been. Often, our goods do us harm: memory recalls the stab of fear; foresight anticipates it. No one is made wretched merely by the present.

Seneca (4 BC – AD 65),  Moral Letters to Lucilius (5.9)

 

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