Category: Echoes through time

Echoes through time: the totality of all Being

Think of the totality of all Being, and what a mite of it is yours; think of all Time, and the brief fleeting instant of it that is allotted to yourself; think of Destiny, and how puny a part of it you are.

Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (5.24)

I also quite like the Gregory Hays’ translation of this:

Remember:

Matter. How tiny your share of it.

Time. How brief and fleeting your allotment of it.

Fate. How small a role you play in it.

 

Echoes through time: even self-restraint can comb its hair

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)

Echoes through time: what nature gives us

Each of us needs what nature gives us, when nature gives it.

Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (10.20)

Note: I usually quote the Maxwell Staniforth translation from the Penguin Great Ideas edition. However, for this I preferred the more recent (and much lauded) Gregory Hays translation from 2003.

 

Echoes through time: whoever offers to another a bargain

Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this. Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. Nobody but a beggar chooses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow-citizens.

Adam Smith (1723 – 1790), An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations

Too often, focus is on the [wicked] “self-love” rather than on the proper context.

 

Image: Shutterstock