“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 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 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!
Giordano Bruno was an Italian philosopher, burned at the stake in 1600 after being declared guilty of heresy by the Roman Inquisition, in consequence to his criticism of Christianity and to the cosmological conclusions he had reached during his search for truth through philosophy. Bruno considered Christianity as a degenerative process that reached its culmination during the Counter-Reformation, however, what actually interests me is his cosmology, because it makes sense: I will describe it briefly.
According to Bruno the Universe is eternal (indeed, in order for something to have a beginning there must already be a space in which such a beginning can manifest itself) and infinitely extended (if instead it was spatially finite, in what would be contained? Keep in mind that all that is spatially finite must inevitably be contained in a larger space), whereby motionless and without a center. It is a unitary and vast living organism, animated and endowed with intellect, a homogeneous and indivisible whole governed by the interdependence of all its parts, which are in relation to the organism in its unity (i.e. an organism made up of organisms), unity that coincides with the concept of divinity: consequently the divine resides in the multiplicity that exists in the Universe, in every part of nature and, therefore, also in ourselves. For Bruno everything is matter, i.e. life, and the Universe consists in infinite matter that changes perennially, able to transform itself continuously in an incessant becoming, passing from one extreme to the other, from an opposite to the other. The universal matter is infinite energy provided with intellect, unity in which lies a multiplicity, multiplicity in which lies a unity!
“Perhaps you pronounce this sentence against me with greater fear than I receive it”.
Related posts: Words of Wisdom #51, Eternal Regret (Part 1 of 2), Eternal Regret (Part 2 of 2), The Harmony of Opposites
“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) 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 to 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)
“Gold is tried by fire, brave men by adversity”.
“Has not relevance what you have to endure, but how you are able to 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 the cowards; the virtue seeks high and steep trails”.
“Is it any wonder if those who have faced an arduous climb do not reach the summit? If you are a man, however, admire the one who attempts great feats, even if you see him falling”.
“The well-being can happen even to the common and modest people; to dominate the adversities and the misfortunes is instead precisely of the 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 to not be upset for what is not in our power to avoid”.
“The upright man differs from the divinity only for his mortal condition”.
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!
Related post: About Stoicism
“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”.
“To know of not knowing is the supreme knowledge.
Not to know believing to know is the disease”.
-Tao Te Ching
“Nevertheless man is still too much mortal to conquer the knowledge of the immortal things”.
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 motive that will push us to seek our subjective 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!
“Remember that you are an actor who interprets 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 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 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 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 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 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 better or for worse – what will be our future existence.
Other posts about Epictetus: About Stoicism, Words of Wisdom #32
“Why then all the Ancestries have fought, fight and will always fight for the defense of the Land? The Land is the base of the life of the Ancestry. As a tree, the Ancestry stands with the roots deep in the Land, from which receives life and vigour. As there is no tree that lives hanging in the air, so there is no Ancestry that can live without its own Land. Without possessing its own Land an Ancestry can’t live – unless it settles on the Land of another Ancestry or on the body of this one, sucking all its energy”.
-Corneliu Z. Codreanu
“The law of honour: go along only on the paths of honour. Fight, and never be a coward. Leave the path of infamy to others. Better to fall in an honourable fight than win by infamy”.
-Corneliu Z. Codreanu
“As a fish that swims in the water and doesn’t understand the nature of the sea, or a bird that flies in the air and doesn’t understand the sky, so man in his finite mind doesn’t understand the infinite. The only reality is for the bird to fly and of the fish to swim. So, in the same way, the only reality of man is to live: to live the life, to die the death. Living with awareness every moment, accepting not to understand the ultimate meaning, this is illumination”.
“Time, place and space are illusions, having no existence save in the mind of men, which must set limits and bounds in order to understand”.
-Robert E. Howard
Related post: Eternal Regret (Part 1 of 2)
“Who bends to destiny suffers, but fate protects him“.
-Giorgio De Santillana
Always embrace your destiny, literally everything that happens in your life is decided by it. You are your destiny and your destiny is what you are, it is your shadow, you can’t run away from it, but only, if you are wise, accept it. It takes shape from your honour, from what you have accomplished in your previous lives. So, in a way, you yourself have decided your actual destiny and it fits you perfectly. It is nor good nor bad and no one merits a better or worse destiny instead of the one he is living or has lived. However, life will always make us think and believe that we are in possess of our destiny, that we can shape and change it to our liking…our mind is trapped in a sort of illusion, that probably protects us from a sort of metaphysical despair, a despair that maybe we can perceive when we realize even for a moment the true nature of Destiny, the most powerful of all deities!