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)
The Execupundit has sage words from Samuel Johnson:
There is no kind of idleness by which we are so easily seduced as that which dignifies itself by the appearance of business.
I suspect this is not a problem for the prolific Mr Wade. Read him regularly, here.
Photo by Holger Link on Unsplash
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)
What fortune makes your own is not your own.
Seneca (4 BC – AD 65), Moral Letters to Lucilius (8.10)
One cannot attain a life free of anxiety if one is too concerned about prolonging it…
For fear of the final hour makes all our other hours uneasy.
Seneca (4 BC – AD 65), Moral Letters to Lucilius (1.4)
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:
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.
Steve Layman has a couple of pointers to the work of Joseph Campbell.
Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring of myth.
Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.
More about Campbell, here.
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)
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.