Tuesday, March 17, 2015

From ‘Travels with Epicurus. Meditations from a Greek Island on the Pleasures of Old Age’ by Daniel Klein

It is not the young man who should be considered fortunate but the old man who has lived well, because the young man in his prime wanders much by chance, vacillating in his beliefs, while the old man has docked in the harbor, having safeguarded his true happiness.
-          Epicurus

Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance
-          Epicurus

The islanders say that on a man who has weathered challenging experiences, a finely seasoned face will emerge in old age. It is the face he has earned, and its raw beauty is in the fully lived life it expresses.

What Epicurus mainly had on his mind was the question of how to live the best possible life, especially considering that we only have one of them – Epicurus did not believe in an afterlife.

….Epicurus….aphorism…. “Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.”

Epicureans consider communal silence a hallmark of true friendship.

… [Epicurus] wrote, “Of all the things that wisdom provides to help one live one’s entire life in happiness, the greatest by far is the possession of friendship.”

…Epicurus believed that choosing with whom one eats dinner is far more significant than choosing what the menu should be. “Before you eat or drink anything, carefully consider with whom you eat or drink rather than what you eat or drink, because eating without a friend is the life of a lion or the wolf.”
By the joys of friendship, Epicurus meant a full range of human interactions ranging from intimate and often philosophical discussions with his dearest companions ….to impromptu exchanges with people, known and unknown, in the street. The education or social status of those with whom he conversed mattered not a whit; in fact the height of true friendship was to be accepted and loved for who one was, not what station in lie one had achieved. Loving and being loved affirmed one’s sense of self and conquered feelings of loneliness and alienation. It kept one sane.

Michel de Montaigne, the sixteenth-century French essayist….wrote, “And with Epicurus, I conceive that pleasures are to be avoided if greater pains be the consequence, and pains to be coveted that will terminate in greater pleasures.”

….Epicurus’s dying words to his friend Idomeneus: “On this blissful day, which is also the last of my life, I write this to you. My continual sufferings from strangury [bladder spasms] and dysentery are so great that nothing could increase them; but I set above them all the gladness of mind at the memory of our past conversations.”

In every real man a child is hidden who wants to play.
-          Friedrich Nietzsche

…the bedouin saying, “Beware of what you desire, for you shall always get it.” ….Oscar Wilde: “In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. The last is much the worst”

Memory is the mother of all wisdom
-          Aeschylus

Charles Dickens begins his masterwork David Copperfield, “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”

Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.
-          Jean-Paul Sartre

….Friedrich Nietzsche…wrote, “When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.”

Kierkegaard….wrote, “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.”

…Aristotle’s observation, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

The best remedy for anger is delay
-          Seneca

A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds to religion
-          Francis Bacon

Take more time, cover less ground

-          Thomas Merton

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