If whilst walking in the countryside you encounter a spider’s web that blocks your path, do you go around or do you break it? Does it matter if the spider is present or absent? What do you do? Do you stop and consider that both you and spider are equally precious, the universe has yielded you both in the same big bang. So what do you do, do you walk on by, finding a divergent route, or simply walk through it, breaking the tiny threads? Likewise, if you see an insect struggling for life, trapped on the surface of a
Moving on from the last topic, Cato continues on his defence of old age; he gladly proclaims: “We come now to the third objection to growing older – that the pleasures of the flesh fade away. But if this is true, I say it is indeed a glorious gift that age frees us from youth’s most destructive failings” Bearing in mind that this work is not exclusively for old people but also for the youth who may grow to old age. The main themes of this objection are addressed by each sub-heading. Where desire rules, there is no
The reactionary angels is a short essay by Emil Cioran. It is one of the many essays that make up ‘A Short History of Decay’. If you read Cioran’s work you’ll find the sentences to be, maybe a bit vague, but often all open to interpretation. For me this particular essay stood out simply because I had much to say about it for annotation. Injustice governs the universe! “Everything which is done and undone there bears the stamp of a filthy fragility, as if matter were the fruit of a scandal at the core of nothingness.” The first passage
The origins of cosmopolitanism can be traced all of the way back to the 4th Century BC, to the then much loved (as indeed he still is today) Diogenes of Sinope, who having been forced into exile from his home city of Sinope moved to Athens to live the simple lifestyle of an ascetic, sleeping in a cracked pot in the marketplace and begging for food. The exploits of Diogenes are manifold and legendarily famous, he turned philosophy into a performance-art, demonstrating his values through deeds not just words, becoming a hugely popular and much-loved figure in and around Athens.
We live in a polarized age, mainly thanks to the internet. It’s a double-edged sword and like all gifts of the gods, it can cut both ways. It can bring good things and also bad things, just like the original and first gift of the gods, namely fire. Fire can warm you, and be used to cook your food, burn your enemies and be nice to look at, but it can burn your crops too, destroy your household and consume all in its path, badly handled fire is a terrible thing, and so it is with the internet which is
It’s amazing, that one of the things that I treasure about getting older (for me at least,) is that I have an increased sense of gratitude for the life that I have. I really value the experience of living. Every moment is precious. “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …” Marcus Aurelius. It’s not that the clock is running down, although it certainly is for me, compared to someone born yesterday or even twenty or thirty years ago. It’s simply that I am grateful
I’ve got an app on my desktop that helpfully shows me little philosophical proverbs and quotes, every day. It’s been very good in the recent past but has crossed the line lately by outputting one-liners like this… “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being positive about what could go right,” Author – Unknown. As respectable stoic I disapprove of and would ask everyone to ignore ‘happy-clappy, you can do it,’ nonsense such as this because we have no need of philosophical pornography. Whilst well intentioned and undoubtedly sincere, trippy one-liners that are exuberantly positive contribute endlessly
“Virtue isn’t simply theoretical knowledge-it is also practical application-just like the arts of medicine and music.” White, Ben. Musonius Rufus on How to live. I really like the ancient Stoics, and I particularly like the work of Marcus Aurelius and Musonius Rufus, because it’s self-evident that these men more than many others lived their work, and used their philosophy throughout their daily lives as a tool for correct living and self-improvement. Gaius Musonius Rufus was born around about 20-30 AD and was famous in Rome by the time of Nero a renowned teacher of Stoicism and was strongly associated with
We’ve all suffered from bouts of obsessive-compulsive disorder, checking the door multiple times to make sure that it’s locked is incredibly common, worrying about things that you cannot control is even more common, whether it’s keeping your job, or keeping that roof above your head or having enough money to last the month, we’ve all experienced bouts of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). None of us, however, give any thought to the fact that anxiety and OCD is just part of what it is to be a human being. Animals that are prone to be prey are prone to worry.
Life isn’t fair, it’s never been fair and it’s not meant to be fair. So why do we expect to be treated fairly in life? This is one of the greatest lessons that a person can ever learn. That life isn’t fair. How can it possibly be fair when everyone’s circumstances differ so much from person to person, place to place? Think about it, you didn’t choose to be born, you didn’t pick your parents, you didn’t pick your life circumstances and you didn’t pick the people you went to school with and you don’t get to pick the people