Words of Wisdom #62

“<<Let me point out>> said Yuan Xian <<that being devoid of goods means only to be poor. Being miserable means not being able to put into practice your own knowledge. I am poor, but not miserable>>. Zi-gang stepped back blushing. Yuan Xian added while laughing: <<Acting to please the world, being everyone’s friend, studying to become someone, teaching for selfish purposes, doing evil under the cover of goodness and equity, walking in sumptuous crews, these are the things that I will never accept to do>>”.

-Zhuangzi

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Words of Wisdom #60

“My heart of silk
is filled with lights,
with lost bells,
with lilies and bees.
I will go very far,
farther than those hills,
farther than the seas,
close to the stars,
to beg Christ the Lord
to give back the soul I had
of old, when I was a child,
ripened with legends,
with a feathered cap
and a wooden sword”.

-Federico García Lorca

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Words of Wisdom #58 & #59

“It is difficult to fight against desire: what it wants, in fact, it buys it by paying with the soul”.

-Heraclitus

“Discipline is a limit and a condition of our liberty, in order to conform both to a precise ethics of life and the will of a leader”.

-Corneliu Z. Codreanu

Live always your life as if a certain person that you have in high esteem is watching you: in this way you’ll become virtuous and you’ll be able to tame the beast of degeneration!

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Words of Wisdom #57

“Who (then), my friend,
Can climb up to the sky?
Only the gods live there,
In company of Shamash, forever!
Men, for their part,
(Have) their days numbered:
Everything they do
Is (nothing more than) wind!”.

-Gilgamesh to Enkidu in the Epic of Gilgamesh

Everything we do is nothing more than wind, but when a strong wind hits us it remains imprinted in our minds and we remember it, because it has challenged and fascinated us at the same time. Then someone among us will try to improve himself, with the aim to be able to oppose to that wind, and ultimately to prevail on it. When this happens, an even stronger wind is born!

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Related posts: Sumerian Mists (Part 1 of 3)Sumerian Mists (Part 2 of 3)Sumerian Mists (Part 3 of 3)

Words of Wisdom #54, #55 & #56

“This man was convinced to know while he did not knew, and instead I, as I did not know, so neither I thought I knew. Anyway, I seemed to be wiser than this man, at least in this little thing, namely for the fact that I do not think that I know what I do not know”.

-Socrates

“The knowledge of not knowing is the supreme knowledge.
Not to know believing to know is the disease”.

-Tao Te Ching

“But man is still too much mortal to conquer the knowledge of the immortal things”.

-Seneca

We don’t really know the mystery of life, the mystery of death, the mystery of the universe, the mystery of eternity and the mystery of time. We can only aspire to get closer to the truth, and at best we will be able to discern something that is merely similar to it. Ultimately, we’ll have to accept of not knowing, and give up the presumption of owning a metaphysical knowledge that might give definitive answers to the fundamental questions. This awareness is the fundamental reason that will push us to seek our personal answers to these dilemmas. We are surrounded by a mass of conceited ignorants, sure to know the truth and to have the answers to every question. Ignorants unaware of being such. Beware of these individuals! The best among us are those who know that they don’t really know!

Words of Wisdom #52 & #53

“The body dies, the person disappears, nothing remains alive on the earth, except the memory of the virtue and actions of the deceased”.

-Erwin Rohde

“Being dead but not forgotten is longevity.”

-Tao Te Ching

One of the ways to conquer immortality is to live your life so that your descendants and/or your people will remember you as an example of honourable man or woman. In this way you will become a role model and surely someone will try to live following your footsteps and imitating your deeds. Your name will live on and you’ll have surmounted death!

Words of Wisdom #51

“Remember that you are an actor playing a part in a drama that is how the playwright wants it to be. A short part, if he wants it to be short, long if he wants it to be long. If he wants you to play the part of a beggar, perform this role with skill: or that of a lame, or of a magistrate, or of a private citizen. In fact this is your task: to perform well the role that has been assigned to you. The choice of this role, however, is up to someone else”.

-Epictetus

Maybe it will be useful to remember that the “playwright” referenced by Epictetus is nothing else than the Logos, the Universal Law, the divine essence that flows through all matter in the Universe, the reason, order, logic, necessity and harmony that govern the Cosmos (from Greek “kósmos”, “order”, in reference to an orderly and harmonic system). There is no randomness, everything is in its right place, as in heaven so on earth, as in the macrocosm so in the microcosm, though apparently it may seem the opposite is true. It is not the first time that I propose such a vision of destiny, according to which literally everything that happens during our individual lives was predisposed and “sewn” for us, without there being any real free will and any real possibility of forging our own destiny in the meaning that we usually give to this potentiality. However, even if we assume that this is the truth, i.e. predestination, we can not but acknowledge that we live inside a sort of illusion, of such a power that we can’t live even a day without acting and thinking as if we were the real masters of our destiny. In this perspective the best thing to do would be to see our very being (our external appearance and the way in which we tend to think and act) as the result of our previous lives, of our conduct in a previous existence. So we start with a base, a form that comes from the past but we can choose in which way we should live our lives and act accordingly, affecting in this way – for the better or for the worst – what will be our future existence.

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Other posts about Epictetus: About Stoicism, Words of Wisdom #32

Words of Wisdom #49

Kang-zi said to Yan Hui: <<Hui, come here. Your family is poor, your condition is humble. Why don’t you try to obtain a task of any sort?>>. <<No,>> said Yan Hui << I don’t want it. I have a small field out of the suburbs that produces the necessary for my soup and a bit of land in the city that produces me silk and hemp; To play the lute is enough to distract me; meditate on our Tao is enough for my delight. No, I will not try to obtain a task>>. <<Excellent is your idea>> said Kong-zi, who had changed expression. <<I heard this: “Who knows how to be content with little doesn’t care of profit; who only cares to find himself doesn’t grieves for any loss; who seeks his own inner perfection doesn’t afflicts himself for not having a social position”. For a long time I recited these words of wisdom. But only now I see them applied by Hui. The profit is mine>>”.

-Zhuangzi

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