Better When Things Break?

Seneca, De Beneficiis 7.3

“Look at those crystal objects, whose very  fragility increases their value!”

ideo istic crystallina, quorum accendit fragilitas pretium 

Pliny the Elder, Natural History 13.65

“It is tested by its whiteness and its color, its fragility and whether it catches fire as soon as it nears a coal, and then it should not take the imprint of a tooth but break apart into pieces instead.”

Probatur candore ac pinguedine, fragilitate, carbone ut statim ardeat, item ne dentem recipiat potiusque in micas frietur.

Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy 2.7

“I want to tell you something amazing and I am barely capable of putting the idea into words. I believe that bad luck is better for people than good. Luck always deceives when seeming to grin with the appearance of happiness–yet fortune is always faithful in showing itself to be unstable by ever changing.

Good luck deceives while bad luck instructs. The first ties up the minds of people who enjoy things that only seem good, while the other frees us with an understanding of the fragility of happiness.”

Mirum est quod dicere gestio, eoque sententiam verbis explicare vix queo. Etenim plus hominibus reor adversam quam prosperam prodesse fortunam. Illa enim semper specie felicitatis cum videtur blanda, mentitur; haec semper vera est, cum se instabilem mutatione demonstrat. Illa fallit, haec instruit, illa mendacium specie bonorum mentes fruentium ligat, haec cognitione fragilis felicitatis absolvit.

image of "fragile" sticker in english and chinese with broken stem glass on it

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