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

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On dying before our time

On this Cicero says what will later be echoed by that great Antonine, Aurelius, and later by Shakespeare when they write the world is just a stage and each must play their own part.

Cicero writes

Away, then, with those follies such as that it is miserable to die before our time. What time do you mean? That of nature? But she had only lent you life, as she might lend you money, without fixing any certain time for its repayment. Have you any grounds of complaint, then, that she recalls it at her pleasure?

On capitalism, democracy & the Catholic church

Slavoj zizek in his book first as tragedy then as farce, writes

Those who claim a natural link between capitalism and democracy are cheating with the facts in the same way the Catholic church cheats when it presents itself as the “natural” advocate of democracy and human rights against the threat of totalitarianism- as if it were not the case that the church accepted democracy only at the end of the nineteenth century, and even then with clenched teeth, as a desperate compromise, making it clear that it preferred monarchy, and that it was making a reluctant concession to new times.

Of men

Or their gods,

Strange! that you should not have suspected years ago–centuries, ages, eons, ago!–for you have existed, companionless, through all the eternities. Strange, indeed, that you should not have suspected that your universe and its contents were only dreams, visions, fiction! Strange because they are so frankly and hysterically insane–like all dreams: a God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave his angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice and invented hell–mouths mercy and invented hell–mouths Golden Rules, and forgiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man’s acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him!.

By Mark Twain

 

On loyalty

The type Mark Twain would recommend. He writes

You see my kind of loyalty was loyalty to one’s country, not to its institutions or its Office holders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease and death. To be loyal to rags, to shout for rags, to worship rags, to die for rags, that is a loyalty of unreason, it is pure animal; it belongs to monarchy, was invented by monarchy; let monarchy keep it.

I don’t even think I have this type of loyalty.