Becoming wiser


I think wise people are all the same, and I think anyone with that many experiences will converge to the same wisdom. An averaged-out boring template of a person. An indifference by knowing happiness will be followed by misery. A calmness by knowing misery will be followed by happiness. But the greatest wisdom is that little evil overcomes great good, and there always is little evil in the world. There is an atom of depression in every wise person.

I am too old to lie to myself, but young enough to reject others’ lies. Most of the potential is gone. I have acquired some wisdom, if only by the sheer number of my unsuccessful attempts. But can an old man push a boulder he couldn’t push in his youth?

Maybe this is the start of my acceptance; this is admittance. With an amount of honesty that only a wise person can have, I say that I cannot look in the mirror and say, even unconfidently, that there is much potential left.


A Pause

“Man is the measure of all things, of things that are, that they are, and of things that are not, that they are not.” -Protagoras

“The most beautiful arrangement is a pile of things poured out at random.” -Heraclitus

“Death, the most frightening of bad things, is nothing to us; since when we exist, death is not yet present, and when death is present, then we do not exist. Therefore, it is relevant neither to the living nor to the dead, since it does not affect the former, and the latter do not exist.” -Epicurus

“The removal of all feeling of pain is the limit of the magnitude of pleasures.” -Epicurus

” Unlimited time and limited time afford an equal amount of pleasure.” -Epicurus

“If you think that things naturally enslaved are free or that things not your own are your own, you will be thwarted, miserable, and upset, and you will blame both gods and men.” -Epictetus

“But if you think that only what is yours is yours, and that what is not your own is, just as it is, not your own, then no one will ever coerce you, no one will hinder you, you will blame no one, you will not accuse anyone, you will not do a single thing unwillingly, you will have no enemies, and no one will harm you, because you will not be harmed at all.” -Epictetus

“For the time being eliminate desire completely, since if you desire something that is not up to us, you are bound to be unfortunate.” -Epictetus

“Do not seek to have events happen as you want them to, but instead want them to happen as they do happen, and your life will go well.” -Epictetus

“Remember that you are an actor in a play … What is yours is to play the assigned part well. But to choose it belongs to someone else.” -Epictetus

“Let death and exile and everything that is terrible appear before your eyes every day, especially death; and you will never have anything contemptible in your thoughts or crave anything excessively.” -Epictetus

“Just as a target is not set up to be missed, in the same way nothing bad by nature happens in the world.” -Epictetus

“Signs of someone’s making progress: he censures no one; he praises no one; he blames no one; he never talks about himself as a person who amounts to something or knows something. When he is thwarted or prevented in something, he accuses himself… He goes around like an invalid, careful not to move any of his parts that are healing before they have become firm. He has kept off all desire from himself, and he has transformed all aversion onto what is against nature among the things that are up to us.” -Epictetus

Reeve, C. D. C. Introductory Readings in Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Pub., 2006.