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)
Steve Layman, in his “Checking in with…” series, gathers some inspiring quotes from Goethe:
A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.
Find the others, here. Well worth a ponder.
I realise I know hardly anything about Goethe, other than Faust.
The above quote reminds me of Marcus (Meditations, 5.16): “for the soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.”
Image: Goethe in 1828, by Joseph Karl Stieler.
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
Life isn’t about finding yourself, or finding anything. Life is about creating yourself … and creating things. Bob Dylan, Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story [00:06:11]
I’ve just watched Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder Revue and this quote, from current-day Dylan stuck in my head. I’m sure I’ve read the same sentiment somewhere else recently, but I can’t place it.
The film, available on Netflix, is worth watching both for 1970s Dylan’s performances and current-day Dylan’s commentary.
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)
“Human life is a play, assigning us roles we can scarcely fill.”
Seneca (4 BC – AD 65), Moral Letters to Lucilius (80.7)
Show me that the good life doesn’t consist in its length, but in its use, and that it is possible – no, entirely to common – for a person who has had a long life to have lived too little.
Seneca (4 BC – AD 65), Moral Letters to Lucilius (49.10)