Words of Wisdom #64, #65 & #66

“Nothing’s worth as accepting one’s own fate, hard as it may be!”.

-Zhuangzi

“Your nature and your destiny are not of your property: they are the course traced for you by sky and earth”.

-Zhuangzi

“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”.

-Zhuangzi

“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>>”.

-Liezi

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Spengler: about Modern Man, Traditional Man and the Historical Destiny of Woman and Man

“Instead of a world a city, a single point, in which is gathered the whole life of vast regions, while the rest becomes sterile; instead of a formed people, tied to its land, a new nomad, a parasite, the inhabitant of the big cities, the pure practical man without tradition, taken up in a formless and fluctuant mass, the irreligious, intelligent, sterile man, deeply adverse to the peasant and the landed gentry, that of the peasant is the highest form – this represents a giant step towards the inorganic, towards the end”.

“The metropolis means the cosmopolitanism in place of the <<homeland>>, the cold practical sense in place of the respect for what has been handed down and is matured, the scientistic irreligiosity as dissolution of the previous religious fervour, the <<society>> in place of the State, the natural rights in place of those acquired”.

“The last man of the metropolises doesn’t want to live anymore: as a type, as a mass, not as an individual; in this collective being the fear of death fades. What fills with a deep and inexplicable anguish the true peasant, that is the idea of the extinction of the family and the loss of the name, ceases now to have a meaning. The continuation of one’s own blood in the visible world is no longer felt as a duty for this blood, the destiny of being the last of a lineage is no longer felt as a tragedy. Not that today the possibility to beget children has vanished; if the offspring is missing is above all because the intelligence, come to an extreme strengthening, no longer finds a reason for it. Transpose yourselves in the soul of the peasant that from primordial times lives in the same piece of land, namely that he bought it to unite himself to it with his blood. In such a land, he has roots as the grandson of his ancestors, and as the ancestor of the future grandsons. His home, his property: this here doesn’t mean a fleeting relation between the body and the goods for a brief period of time, but rather a lasting and inner relation between the eternal land and the eternal blood: only with this, only with the sedentarity in a spiritual sense the great seasons of the cycle of existence, generation, birth and death, obtain that metaphysical aura which symbolically fixes itself in the customs and in the religion of all the non-nomadic populations of the countryside”.

“The eternal policy of the woman is the conquest of the man, thanks to which she can become the mother of his children and thus be history, destiny and future. Instead the man, belonging essentially to the other history, wants to have a son as heir, as bearer of his blood and of his historical tradition”.

“However the eternal and secret policy of the woman, that brings us back at the beginnings of the animal kingdom, aspires to distract the man from his mission to bind him completely to the chain of generations, that is like saying to herself. Yet all that happens in the other history, in the male history, has the purpose of protecting and preserving this eternal history of generating and dying, call it what you want: fighting for the house and the hearth, for the woman and the son, for the ancestry, for the nation, for the future”.

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Related posts: Spengler: about Cosmic Anguish and the Religious Sentiment of the WorldSpengler: about Time, History and Destiny

Spengler: about Time, History and Destiny

“Of every organism we know that its rhythm, its figure and duration and every expression of its life are determined by the qualities of the species to which it belongs. Of a thousand-year old oak none will think that its development is starting right now. From a caterpillar, that can be seen growing before our eyes, none will expect that it will continue to grow like this for years. In this regard everyone has the certain sensation of a limit, identical to the sensation of the inner form. But towards the history of the superior humanity, for what concerns the course of the future dominates an unbridled optimism, heedless of any data of both historical and organic experience, therefore everyone believes to be able to individuate in the contingency of today the <<beginnings>> of a linear and marvellous <<further evolution>>, not because it is scientifically proven, but only because corresponds to what is desired”.

“There is a youth and a senility in cultures, peoples, languages, truths, gods, landscapes – as there are young and old oaks and pines, flowers, branches and leaves”.

“Who doesn’t understand that this end is inevitable, who doesn’t understand that one must want either this or nothing, that one must love this destiny or despair of the future, of life, who doesn’t feel the greatness that also resides in this activity of mighty minds, in this energy and discipline of metallic natures, in this fight carried out with the most cold and abstract means, who indulges in the provincial idealism, in nostalgia for the lifestyle of past times – this person must renounce to understand history, to live history, to create history”.

“It’s all about realizing this situation, this destiny, and understanding it, because despite the illusions that we can create it is not possible to avoid it. Who can’t acknowledge this, can’t be counted among the men of his generation”.

-Oswald Spengler

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Related post: Spengler: about Cosmic Anguish and the Religious Sentiment of the World

Seneca: about Life, Destiny, Adversity, Willpower and Virtue

“Gold is tried by fire, brave men by adversity”.

“It doesn’t matter what you have to endure, but how you endure it”.

“To know yourself is necessary to test yourself; only in this way a man can know what is his worth”.

“The safe road is followed by the weak and cowards; virtue seeks high and steep trails”.

“Is it any wonder if those who have faced an arduous climb don’t reach the top? If you are a man, however, admire he who attempts great feats, even if you see him falling”.

“The well-being can happen even to the common and modest people; to dominate adversity and tragedies is instead typical of great men. To always be happy and pass life without the bite of pain means to ignore half of life”.

“Therefore we accept with serenity all that for law of the universe we have to bear. We have committed ourselves to this, to tolerate our mortal condition and not be upset for what is not in our power to avoid”.

-Seneca

The best men are tested by destiny and consequently their life is studded by adversities, so that they can manifest their virtues before the eyes of ordinary people, so that they can become role models. They are born to serve as examples, to become archetypes and teach to endure and overcome the difficulties of life. From the best we demand more and destiny acts in the same way!

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Related post: About Stoicism

Words of Wisdom #51

“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”.

-Epictetus

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.

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

Marcus Aurelius: about Destiny, Time and the Cyclicality and Metamorphosis of the Universal Nature

“Love only what happens to you and that is woven in the great plot of life: there is nothing that suits you best”.

-Marcus Aurelius

“Whatever happens to you was predisposed for you since the time of times, and an impenetrable intertwinement of causes, starting from then, has bound your life to that particular event”.

-Marcus Aurelius

“Don’t live as if you had still thousands of years ahead of you: it chases you, fast, destiny. As long as you live, as long as you can, become virtuous”.

-Marcus Aurelius

***

“Many are the superfluous and annoying things that you can eliminate, because they exist only in the opinion that you create about them: so as to be able to give a wider space to your mind, to embrace with the thought the entire universe, to reflect on infinity and eternity, to verify how rapid is the transformation of every single thing, how short is the time that flows from birth to death and what infinite abyss is that which precedes birth and that which follows death”.

-Marcus Aurelius

“All the things you see will soon be transformed by the universal nature, that from their substance will give birth to other ones, which in turn will transform into still other ones and so on, and this in order for the universe to remain forever young”.

-Marcus Aurelius

Observe the course of the stars and participate of their movement, then think intensely about the continuous and mutual change of the elements: you will feel purified by the filth of earthly life”.

-Marcus Aurelius

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About Destiny: Words of Wisdom #12
About Time: Eternal Regret (Part 1 of 2), Eternal Regret (Part 2 of 2)
Quotes by Marcus Aurelius (and Epictetus) about Stoicism: About Stoicism

Words of Wisdom #44, #45 & #46

“The fortune, is Zeus who distributes it to men, to the good and the wicked, as he wants, to each one. To you he gave this fate, you must bear it”.

-Nausicaa to Odysseus in the Odyssey

“It is easy for the gods, that possess the vast sky, to do splendid or miserable a mortal man”.

-Odysseus to Telemachus in the Odyssey

“Not even you despise them, the gifts of the glorious gods, those that they offer us: we can’t choose them by ourselves”.

-Paris to Hector in the Iliad

In this consists Stoicism: in understanding what is beyond our control, accepting it as well as it’s destined to us, in any way it will affect our lives, and then act accordingly!

The Roman Genius

The Genius of the Roman Religion is a guardian spirit that guides, shapes and governs the life of an individual from his birth until death; the etimology of the Latin word “genius” means “guardian deity, spirit, incarnation, inborn nature, talent” and it shares with the Latin word “gens” (“tribe, people”) the root *gene- (“give birth, beget”).

Ancient depiction of a Genius:
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Analyzing these elements in the light of the European initiatory ritual of reincarnation within the ancestry we can note that the figure of the Genius takes shape directly from that ritual and belief, because it symbolizes the ancestor. The festivity dedicated to the Genius coincided with the birthday of the person under its tutelage, the latter being nothing but its reincarnation, and in Rome the thalamus, the bridal bed, was called “lectus genialis” (“bed of the genius”) because it’s thanks to the sexual intercourse that the Genius, i.e. the ancestor, is reborn, through the conception of a new member of the ancestry. The part of the body related with the Genius is the forehead, i.e. the head, since prehistory the part of the body symbolizing the mind, memory and spirit of the individual: the Genius is consecrated to the forehead to symbolize how the descendant has inherited the mind, memory and spirit of the ancestor reborn (rebirth and reincarnation are synonymous in this context) in him. Moreover the Genius was usually depicted in the form of a serpent, which refers to the various serpents or dragons that the heroes of the myths must fight during their initiations: the serpent or dragon symbolizes the umbilical cord that connects the descendant to his ancestors.

The Genius depicted as a serpent:
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The Genius is equivalent to the Daimon of the Greeks and the Guardian Angel of the Christians (…); the Latin word “daemon” and the Greek word “daimon” mean “spirit, divinity, divine power, guiding spirit, tutelary divinity, spirit of the dead, fortune”, and their common PIE root means “divider, supplier (of fortune and destiny): it is no coincidence that with the advent of Christianism the concept of “demon” has become synonymous of evil entity. Other equivalent figures are the Fylgja (literally “someone that accompanies”, sometimes designated as “aettarfylgja”, “fylgja of the ancestry”) and the Hamingja (that in Icelandic means mainly “fortune”) of the Nordics, both being a supernatural form of life connected with the fortune and destiny of a person: the word “fylgja” has the same root of the English word “follow” (from Ancient English “fylgian, fylgan”, with the meaning of “accompany” [referred to a disciple], “move in the same direction”) and the word “hamingja” is composed by “hamr” (“shape”) and “gangr” (“to walk”), with the meaning of “he who walks in the shape” (i.e. the physical shape of the body), in reference to the memory of what there was of noble and honourable in our ancestors, the noble and honourable part that lives on in the ancestry, handed down from body to body, through memory. In addition to the examples described above there are the Fravashi of the Persians and the Ka of the Egyptians. The Fravashi consists in the double of an individual and in his transcendent guardian, often identified with the spirit of an ancestor: the word “fravashi” is commonly reconstructed as *fravarti, from the root -var (“to choose”), with the meaning of “one who has been chosen”, indeed only the child that was chosen or selected to be reborn through the initiation would have obtained the Fravashi of one of his honourable ancestors, i.e. himself in a previous life. The Ka too is the double of an individual: it was often represented in Egyptian iconography as a second image of the king and it was passed down from father to son symbolizing the life force and spirit of an individual. Lastly we can remember that our shadow is the manifestation of the metaphysical reality of the “double”: hence the belief in the dead intended as shadows or intangible ghosts.

We should keep into consideration also the concepts of “fate”, in the sense of a purpose that predetermines the essential course of the individual existence, and “fame”, words that have the same PIE root *bha- (“to speak, tell”) in reference to the honourable fame and reputation attributed to someone, fame and reputation that spread by means of legends, tales and songs. The concepts of “fate” and “fame” are therefore strongly connected to the spiritual heritage obtained by a descendant after his rebirth as one of his ancestors, the one chosen after identifying with him by hearing the tales that concern him, tales handed down from his family and from the members of his tribe.

Note: in this context the personal objects with which the deceased was buried were of fundamental importance, because their primary function was that of awaken, in the descendant, the memories of his previous lives; the Norse mythology provides us with some excellent examples in this regard: the sword Aettartangi [“hilt of the ancestry” or “sword of the generations”], endowed with “heill” [the “fortune of the ancestry”], the armor Finnzleiff and the sword Dáinsleif [“inheritance of Dáinn”, a dwarf whose name means “dead”], whose suffix “-leif” means “inheritance”.

Also the word “fairy” (the Italian equivalent is “fata”) has the same PIE root *bha-, and it is evident the semantic connection between “fairy” and “fate”; the Parcae, the Roman equivalent of the Moirai of the Greeks and the Norns of the Nordics, were also called Fatae by the Romans, from Latin “fatum”(“destiny”), since the Parcae are the entities who preside over destiny: in Rome they were represented inside the Forum by three statues commonly called “Tria Fata” (“the three destinies”).

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Also the concept of “fortune” falls within the same category of entities, having originally the same meaning of “destiny”, and in this context we can remember the Roman goddess Fortuna and the Greek goddesses Ananke (“necessity”) and Tyche (“fortune”), personifications of the concepts of fortune, destiny and fate intended as a necessity. “Fortunate” is therefore he who possesses a metaphysical destiny in a higher sense, he who possesses a Spirit, Genius, Daimon, Fylgja, Hamingja, Fravashi or Ka. “Unfortunate” is instead he who doesn’t possess a destiny and is excluded from the eternal cycles of deaths and rebirths within the ancestry. Indeed the PIE root of the word “fortune” is *bher- (“to carry”), with the meaning of “what is carried on”: what we carry inside us, the honour of a noble ancestry that we embody, that we have inside and guides us, the ancestors that we have brought back to life in ourselves. Fortune, Destiny, Fate, Genius, Daimon, Fylgja, Hamingja, Fravashi, Ka and many other similar entities are all equivalent symbols, their meaning and primordial origin lies in the vision of life of our forebears!

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Words of Wisdom #27

“Knowing that against which nothing can be done and accept it as destiny: here is the supreme virtue”.

-Zhuangzi

Our freedom and will coincide with necessity and destiny, they are two sides of the same coin and one cannot exist without the other. Everything that happens during our existences, i.e. everything that has been established by our blood and spirit, is inevitable and right.

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Related post: Words of Wisdom #12