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
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.
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?
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.
1. What is the right time to act
2. who are the right people,
3. and what is the most important thing to do?
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.
The solitude of the mind is only a painful delusion; it has no real existence, for even the most independent of us are members of a spiritual family.
Romain Rolland in Clerambault