It becomes of a wise person

To do nothing they may repent of

To do nothing against their inclination

To always act nobly

With constancy, gravity and honesty

To depend on nothing as certainty

Wonder at nothing

Be independent of everyone and

Abide by their own opinion.

So says Cicero

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

28 thoughts on “It becomes of a wise person

  1. john zande says:

    Wise man, although some items on that list are far easier to meet if one happens to be a Senator.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tish Farrell says:

    Good old Cicero. Many moons ago I spent much time over 2 years of ‘A levels’ translating his diatribe in his prosecution against Verres, the corrupt, governor of Sicily (extortion, embezzlement, fomenting unrest in the navy to cover fraud – has anything changed?). Some of what Cicero said must have stuck in my subconcious.


  3. Swarn Gill says:

    Wonder at nothing

    What do you think he means here? I generally think wonder is important.

    Be independent of everyone

    You hear this a lot today, but I just don’t think it makes a lot of sense for a social species. Unless you are a hermit, you are actually always depending on others, even if you don’t think so. Whether that is support of spouse, taxpaying citizens that build the infrastructure for your quality of life, the populace who votes for you as an elected official, etc.

    Liked by 3 people

    • “Be independent of everyone.” This idea is stated very often by conspiracy whack-jobs like 9/11 deniers. Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, a thing many believe to be true after investigating its validity, is true. Being independent of and skeptical of independent thinkers is something to strive for, too, especially if what they’re touting is, well, questionable at best.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Swarn Gill says:

        Agreed. I mean it all kind of goes to the “Appeal to Authority” and “Appeal to popularity”. The “be an independent thinker” is simply the opposite here in that people reject a popular belief solely because it’s popular and thus think they are more right because they have rejected consensus. This is equally fallacious. The fallacy of appeal to popularity is only to say that popular does not equal right, but neither is it any more true that “not popular” equals right. This is the typical mode of thinking of the conspiracy theorist. Sometimes what is popular is right, and what is not popular is right…it just has nothing to do with the popularity or unpopularity and all about actual evidence. For me independence has no direct correlation to wisdom. Now if the statement was that wisdom is not taking popular notions at face value and can appreciate that level of independence and skepticism.

        Liked by 1 person

        • makagutu says:

          I think there is a correlation, albeit small, one who is independent for example would be hardly swayed by popular opinion. It is not to say popular opinion is always wrong but that they are slow to judge, I think.


    • makagutu says:

      Wonder, I agree is important. But the point Cicero is making is that to the wise man, no perturbation of the mind occurs. What would strike us with wonder to the wise man are things expected to occur in the course of life.

      There is a way in which you are right regarding dependence. There is a second sense, for example, not looking for glory, relying on virtue alone as sufficient for a happy life.


      • Swarn Gill says:

        Thanks for the context in regards to wonder. That makes some sense. In general as I age, the less things surprise me or throw me for a loop. I guess here wonder could also be more related to confusion which is another sense of the word. As in “I wonder what I should do next.”

        I guess I see that even knowing what virtue is, only makes sense in the context of a social species in which our decisions invariably impact others. I’m not saying I entirely disagree with the value of independence, but maybe I’d say wisdom is having some increasing self-reliance.


  4. Here’s another great quote from Cicero that few remember. “Hey! I said I wanted this burger cooked medium rare, not well-done. This tastes like shoe leather! Take this crap back!”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. basenjibrian says:

    To “Wonder at nothing” seems like terrible advice, though. Not wise at all. There are many things…in nature, in the arts, in our fellow man, that it is perfectly appropriate to wonder at.


  6. shelldigger says:

    I like this guy.

    I admit I must stive to do better in my nobleness. I know where my noble is, I just have difficulty getting to it…


  7. Eric Alagan says:

    In the absence of context the Tweety Bird tweeted thus:

    Really, my noble Cicero?

    Hitler did not repent; did nothing against his inclination; thought he acted nobly on behalf of his ideals; was constant, grave and remained honest (to his twisted beliefs); and it goes on…

    The point is, dear Cicero, just because you are dead does not mean that all you spewed is the only truth. It does not mean the living do not know better. This is my truth.

    But I tweet this: no matter what I chirp, I know there is always a greater Truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ron says:

    “To do nothing against their inclination”
    Bad advice for someone whose inclination is to preach the gospel to an unwilling audience — n’est-ce pas?

    Liked by 1 person

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