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

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

-Seneca

“Has relevance not what you have to endure, but how you are able to endure it”.

-Seneca

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

-Seneca

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

-Seneca

“Is it any wonder that do not reach the summit those who have faced an arduous climb? If you are a man, however, admire the one who attempts great feats, even if you see him falling”.

-Seneca

“Wellness can happen even to the common and modest people; dominate the adversities and the misfortunes is precisely of the great men. Always be happy and go through life without the bite of pain means to ignore half of life”.

-Seneca

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

-Seneca

“The right man differs from the divinity only for his mortal condition”.

-Seneca

The best men are tested by destiny and consequently their existence 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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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!

About Stoicism

Stoicism is one of the most interesting European philosphies, and has as prominent representatives Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. It is often poorly understood due to the fact that it has not, apparently, a specifically “technical” language concerning its doctrine. The consequence is that while the texts about Stoicism that we have today are quite easy to read and understand superficially even for the casual reader, a deep and authenic understanding of them is often ignored.

The essence of Stoicism consists in distinguish between what depends on us and what doesn’t depends on us:

Depend on us: -desire or aversion (to something), -impulse to action or to non-action, -judgment (positive or negative) of our desires and aversions, impulses to action or to non action. These things depends exclusively and totally on us, we have power over them, and they may correspond morally to good or evil wether they are compliant or non-compliant to Nature.

Doesn’t depend on us: things external to us, on which our will has no power or in need of fortune to be obtained: wealth, health, fame, work, family, poverty, disease, death, etc. All that doesn’t depends on us is neither a good nor an evil but something indifferent that must be accepted as it stands, in any way it will affect our lives: it should be seen as the work of Fate/Destiny. However, Stoicism doesn’t say that we should not worry or that we should give up about these things: we should only remember that they doesn’t depend on us and then act accordingly wathever happens in relation to them.

“Among the things that exist, some depend on us, the other doesn’t depend on us. Depend on us: value judgment, impusle to act, desire, aversion, and in one word, all that are properly our business. Doesn’t depend on us the body, our possessions, the opinions that others have of us, the public positions, and in one word all those that aren’t properly our business”.

-Epictetus

“Suppress therefore the aversion that you can feel for all the things that doesn’t depend on you and transfer it to the things that, among those who depend on us, are contrary to nature”.

-Epictetus

“Equability in the face of events that come from external causes, justice in the works generated by a cause that comes from you; impulse and action only in view of a common good: this is for man to act according to nature”.

-Marcus Aurelius

“I am a mixture of body and soul: for the body the sensible things are neither good nor bad, because matter has no power to grasp the difference; for the mind, instead, are indifferent the activities not falling within its sphere of action, while those that depend on it are all under its dominion. Even these, however, affect the mind only in relation to the present, because those relating to the future and to the past are, in that moment, indifferent for it”.

-Marcus Aurelius

According to Stoicism you have to dislike exclusively what depends on us but isn’t compliant to Nature (it is not virtuous, moral, honourable…). To distinguish the things that depends on us from those that doesn’t depends on us we have to look at every object or event for what it really is, removing the represenations of the mind, the instinctive judgments that these things/events projected upon us: “The stormy sea upsets my mind. It is the stormy sea that upsets me? No, it is my judgment on it. It is not something that depends on me, therefore it is neither a good nor an evil. The stormy sea is only the stormy sea”.

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Judgments in relation to things/events that doesn’t depend on us are hard if not impossible to remove immediatly but yes, we can remove them after asking ourselves if what we are judging depends on us or not and if our judgment in relation to that particular thing/event is nothing else than a representation of the mind: at this point we can see that particular thing/event for what it really is. Therein lies Stoicism, in seeing things/events for what they really are, without representations of the mind.

“Therefore train yourself to immediately add to every painful representation: <<you are only a representation, you are not at all what you represent>>. Then examines this representation and put it to test with the help of the rules at your disposal, in first place and above all of this rule: we have to count it among the things that depend on us or among those that doesn’t depend on us? And if it is part of the things that doesn’t depend on us, keep in mind that it does not concern you”.

-Epictetus

“What disturbs men are not things, but the judges that they formulate on things. For example, death has nothing terrible, otherwise it would have seemed like that also to Socrates. But it’s the judgment we formulate about death, namely that it is terrible, to be fearsome in death. Therefore, when we encounter difficulties or are troubled or sad, we should not impute liability to another, but to ourselves, that is to our judgments: it is indicative of who has not yet been educated to impute to others the liability of his evils; it is indicative of who is at the beginning of his own education to impute liability to himself; it is indicative of who has completed his own education to not impute liability nor to others nor to himself”.

-Epictetus

“Look at things as they are, in themselves, distinguishing matter, cause and purpose”.

-Marcus Aurelius

“Therefore don’t go beyond what you see and don’t add anything personal to the immediate impressions you receive from things or facts, and nothing bad will come thee”.

-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”.

-Marcus Aurelius

“Throws away the opinion, and you will be safe! Who prevents you to get rid of it?”.

-Marcus Aurelius

Whereby, what disturbs men are not the things/events but the judges that they formulate on these things/events. The proof of this is the fact that not all men would express the same opinion about things that doesn’t depend on us. Not all men would be disturbed by the stormy sea. Not all men would be disturbed by poverty. Not all men would be happy about their wealth. Not all men would be happy about their fame. Not all men would be disturbed by their disease. Not all men would be disturbed by the premature and/or accidental death of their son/daughter/wife. Not all men would be disturbed by the approach of their death (so the ancient European warrior had a stoic attitude towards death), etc.

It means that the things/events can’t be the real cause of our reactions, that must be found inside us: our reaction depends on the individual structure of our minds, although it may seem that it’s the thing/event itself to determine our positive or negative reaction towards it.

These examples and all the other countless things/events that doesn’t depend on us should be considered by the stoic man, as it was intended to be, neither a good nor an evil but indifferently, if these happen to him: what is not under our control should be seen as something that is not under our control.

On the other hand, concerning the things that depend on us, there is no man that would do something that depends on him but that is not compliant to Nature without having the same awareness of having done something bad/wrong, whether he likes it or not. If you think about it, it’s indeed impossible for that to happen.

A man must judge the situation he faces and act accordingly using his skills, he must survive doing all that is in his power (this depends on him), but this doesn’t mean that he should blame something that doesn’t depend on him or project personal opinions on a certain thing/event in relation to his situation: e.g. he shouldn’t judge the stormy sea differently only because HE is on a ship in the middle of it, the stormy sea doesn’t change in relation to that…it doesn’t become good or bad in relation to its role in a man’s vicissitudes. The stormy sea doesn’t depend on us and it remains always and exclusively only a stormy sea, both for the pilot and the observer who doesn’t risk anything.

If you keep in mind these stoic precepts you’ll find new meanings, depth and rigidity in the texts of the philosophers cited above. Stoicism as it was intended to be was much more challenging, demanding and even extreme than it is commonly perceived, remaining in any case among the most important and suited classical philosophies for the European man, possibly in an “attenuated” form in relation to a certain type of events!

When Trees don’t fear Death

Many European Traditionalists love to read books. We read to try to know and understand our past, our ancestors, our traditions, our history and in one sentence: who we are mentally, physically and spiritually. Not least, also to escape from this modern world that is so unnatural and just not made for us: it is made for the totally domesticated man.

Here I want to share with you a list of essential books that you should read to understand who you really are:

MYTHOLOGY and FAIRY TALES:

Apollodorus of Athens – Bibliotheca.

Homer – Iliad, – Odyssey.

Apollonius Rhodius – Argonautica

Ovid – Metamorphoses.

Virgil – Aeneid.

Snorri Sturluson – Prose Edda.

The Poetic Edda.

The Kalevala.

The Egyptian Book of the Dead.

The Epic of Gilgamesh.

The Arthurian Myths.

The Mabinogion.

Marie Cachet – The Secret of the She-Bear.

Varg Vikernes – Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia, – Reflections on European Mythology and Polytheism.

James. G. Frazer – The Golden Bough.

Vladimir Propp – The Historical Roots of Fairy Tales.

Robert Graves – The Greek Myths.

Karoly Kerenyi – The Heroes and Gods of the Greeks.

Mircea Eliade – Patterns in Comparative Religion, – A History of Religious Ideas.

Julius Evola – The Mystery of the Grail, – The Hermetic Tradition, – Eros and the Mysteries of Love: The Metaphysics of Sex.

Richard B. Onians – The Origins of European Thought.

Giorgio De Santillana – Hamlet’s Mill.

Erwin Rohde – Psyche: The Cult of Souls and the Belief in Immortality among the Greeks.

Philippe Walter – Christian Mythology (Revelations of Pagan Origins).

All European Fairy Tales (Grimm, Andersen, Pitré…).

PHILOSOPHY:

Heraclitus – Fragments.

Plato – Dialogues.

Epictetus – The Enchiridion.

Marcus Aurelius – Meditations.

Seneca – Letters from a Stoic, – Dialogues.

Pierre Hadot – The Inner Citadel, – The Veil of Isis.

Marie Cachet – Le Besoin d’Impossible.

ABOUT THE MODERN WORLD:

Julius Evola – Revolt Against the Modern World, – Ride the Tiger, – Men Among the Ruins.

Réne Guénon – The Crisis of the Modern World, – East and West.

Corneliu Zelea Codreanu – For My Legionaries.

Oswald Spengler – The Decline of the West.

George Orwell – 1984.

FANTASY:

J.R.R. Tolkien – The Hobbit, – The Lord of the Rings, – The Silmarillion.

Robert E. Howard – Conan the Barbarian.

Hurry, before they are censored!

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