In this year's Thanksgiving list, thanks for inherited wisdom, some if it wrought from philosophical rigor and some culled from simple reflections on long lives. These are reflections not on the great philosophical problems but simply on living, and they are thoughts which grow ever dearer to your aging and still humble blogger.
On Life and Living
The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline, but is, rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.
There are those who have insisted that art is superfluous to life, and again those others who contend that life has no meaning without art. My view is that life is art, and that living is in fact the greatest and most difficult of arts.
Principio caelum ac terram camposque liquentis
lucentemque globum lunae Titaniaque astra
spiritus intus alit, totamque infusa per artus
mens agitat molem et magno se corpore miscet.
O rus, quando ego te aspiciam! quandoque licebit
nunc veterum libris, nunc somno et inertibus horis,
ducere sollicitae iucunda oblivia vitae!
Vita humana prope uti ferrum est. Si exerceas, conteritur; si non exerceas, tamen rubigo interficit. Itidem homines exercendo videmus conteri. Inertia atque torpedo plus detrimenti facit, quam exercito
-Marcus Portius Cato (The Elder)
Omnibus in rebus voluptatis maximis fastidium finitimum est.
Nescire autem quid ante qua natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. Quid enim est aetas hominis, nisi ea memoria rerum vetuerum cum superiorum aetate contexitur.
Do your duty–never mind whether you are shivering or warm sleeping on your feet or in your bed, hearing yourself slandered or praised, dying or doing something else. Yes, even dying is an act of life and should be done, like everything else, "to the best of your abilities."
One should make a return to those with whom one has studied philosophy; for their worth cannot be measured against money, and they can get no honor which will balance their services. . .
The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.
-J. R. R. Tolkien