“Nothing’s worth as accepting one’s own fate, hard as it may be!”.
“Your nature and your destiny are not of your property: they are the course traced for you by sky and earth”.
“The succession of life and death is decree of fate, as the alternation of night and day is decree of the sky. There are things that the human being can’t change: such is the condition of all beings”.
“Master Yang answered: <<There is a saying of the ancients, that I try to remember and repeat you: all that is as it is, and we don’t understand why, is destiny>>”.
“Sky and earth are a great furnace and nature is a great smith”.
“<<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 one’s own knowledge. I am poor, but not miserable>>. Zi-gang moved back blushing. Yuan Xian added laughing: <<Behaving 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 garments, these are the things that I will never accept to do>>”.
“The right to be embittered, sorrowful, we have it; there is only one right that we don’t have: that of lose courage and lay down our weapons”.
-Corneliu Z. Codreanu
“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
“It is difficult to fight against desire: what it wants, in fact, it buys it by paying with the soul”.
“Discipline is a limit and a condition of our freedom, 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 specific person that you hold in high regard was watching you: by doing so you’ll become virtuous and you’ll be able to tame the beast of degeneration!
“Who (then), my friend,
Can climb up to the sky?
Only the gods live there,
In company of Shamash, forever!
Men, on their part,
(Have) the 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 of being able to oppose to that wind, and finally prevail on it: when this happens, an even stronger wind is born!
Related posts: Sumerian Mists (Part 1 of 3), Sumerian Mists (Part 2 of 3), Sumerian Mists (Part 3 of 3)
“But this man was convinced of knowing while he did not knew, and instead I, as I did not knew, neither I thought of knowing. Anyway, I seemed to be wiser than this man, at least in this little thing, namely for the fact that what I don’t know, I don’t think of knowing it”.
“Knowing of not knowing is the supreme knowledge.
Not knowing believing of knowing is the disease”.
“Nevertheless man is still too much mortal to conquer the knowledge of immortal things”.
We don’t really know the mystery of the universe, of time and eternity, of life and death. 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 gives definitive answers to the fundamental questions. The best among us are those who know of not knowing!
“The body dies, the person disappears, nothing alive remains on earth, except the memory of the virtue and deeds of the deceased”.
“To die but not be forgotten is longevity.”
One of the ways to conquer immortality is to live your life in such a way that your descendants and your people will remember you as an example of heroic and honourable man. 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!
“Remember that you are an actor who plays a part in a drama that is like 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 interpret the part of a beggar, try to interpret this role with skill: or that of a lame, or of a magistrate, or of a private citizen. Indeed this is your task: to interpret well the role that has been assigned to you. But the choice of this role is up to someone else”.
Maybe it will be useful to remember that the “playwright” to which Epictetus refers is nothing else than the Logos, the divine essence that flows through all energy and matter of the Universe, the order, harmony, reason, logic and necessity 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 existences has been 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 predestination exists, we cannot but acknowledge that we live inside a sort of cosmic 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 individual 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 basis, a shape that comes to us from the past, but we can choose in which way we should live our lives and act accordingly, affecting in this way what will be our future existences.
Other posts about Epictetus: About Stoicism, Words of Wisdom #32