Contemplate This: Bad Things are Going to Happen

Seneca, Moral Epistles 91.6-7

“Chance selects some new way to apply her strengths to us when we forget her.  A single day can break up and scatter something built over over the years through great labor and indulgence from the gods. Well, whoever said “day” has given a long delay to the troubles rushing our way–an hour, a minute of time is enough for overthrowing empires. There would be some comfort for our weakness and our efforts if all things would just pass away at the same speed as their development; but the truth is that improvements happen slowly, and destruction rushes on.

Nothing is stable in private or in public. Human fate turns just like that of cities. Fear presses on during the greatest calm and even though there’s nothing from without causing it, troubles appear where they were expected the least. Regimes that have endured civil war and external conflict crumble without anyone attacking them. How rare is the state that has maintained its good fortune!”

So, we have to think about everything and make our minds resolved for the things that can happen. Contemplate this: exile, torture of sickness, wars, shipwrecks.”

Eligit aliquid novi casus, per quod velut oblitis vires suas ingerat. Quidquid longa series multis laboribus, multa deum indulgentia struxit, id unus dies spargit ac dissipat. Longam moram dedit malis properantibus, qui diem dixit; hora momentumque temporis evertendis imperiis sufficit. Esset aliquod inbecillitatis nostrae solacium rerumque nostrarum, si tam tarde perirent cuncta quam fiunt; nunc incrementa lente exeunt, festinatur in damnum. Nihil privatim, nihil publice stabile est; tam hominum quam urbium fata volvuntur. Inter placidissima terror existit nihilque extra tumultuantibus causis mala, unde minime exspectabantur, erumpunt. Quae domesticis bellis steterant regna, quae externis, inpellente nullo ruunt. Quota quaeque felicitatem civitas pertulit? Cogitanda ergo sunt omnia et animus adversus ea quae possunt evenire, firmandus. Exilia, tormenta morbi, bella, naufragia meditare.

GIF from the moving AIRPLANE where the flight attendant says "everybody get in crash positions" and the passengers all rearrange themselves as if they had crashed unprepared.


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