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
Do away with all fancies. Cease to be passion’s puppet. Limit time to the present. Lear to recognise every experience for what it is, whether it be your own or another’s.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (7.29)
Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the romance of the unusual.
Ernst Hemingway (1899 – 1961), The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway
This quote comes via the irresistible Cultural Offering.
Whatever the world may say or do, my part is to keep myself good; just as a gold piece, or an emerald, or a purple robe insists perpetually, ‘Whatever the world may say or do, my part is to remain an emerald and keep my colour true.’
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (7.15)
Life calls us forth to independence, and anyone who does not heed the call because of childish laziness or timidity is threatened with neurosis.
Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation (Collected Works, volume 5)
Via Jordan Peterson.
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)
When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (6.11)
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)
He whose life has a why can bear almost any how.
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900), Twilight of the Idols (Maxims and Arrows, 12)
Adapt yourself to the environment in which your lot has been cast, and show true love to the fellow mortals with whom destiny has surrounded you.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (6.39)