Beginning with the End in Mind for 2500 Years

Isocrates, To the Children of Jason 7

“These are the reasons why I first said that the first principle to offer is one of the most frequently repeated. For I am in the habit of telling those who attend our school that the first thing they must consider is what must be accomplished by the whole speech and its parts. When we have figured this out and we judge it completely, then I say that we must think about the forms that will advance and complete the goal we have established.

Now, I offer this advice about argumentation but this also applies as a rule into all other matters and your affairs too. For nothing is able to be done in an intentional fashion if you do not first take an accounting and take council with great forethought of how you need to arrange the rest of your lives, what life work you should choose, what kind of reputation you should pursue, and what achievements you will delight in—whether they are those which come willingly from your fellow citizens or those they give up unwillingly.”

τούτου δ᾿ ἕνεκα ταῦτα προεῖπον, ὅτι τὸ πρῶτον ἐπιφερόμενον ἓν τῶν τεθρυλημένων ἐστίν. εἴθισμαι γὰρ λέγειν πρὸς τοὺς περὶ τὴν φιλοσοφίαν τὴν ἡμετέραν διατρίβοντας ὅτι τοῦτο πρῶτον δεῖ σκέψασθαι, τί τῷ λόγῳ καὶ τοῖς τοῦ λόγου μέρεσι διαπρακτέον ἐστίν· ἐπειδὰν δὲ τοῦθ᾿ εὕρωμεν καὶ διακριβωσώμεθα, ζητητέον εἶναί φημι τὰς ἰδέας δι᾿ ὧν ταῦτ᾿ ἐξεργασθήσεται καὶ λήψεται τέλος ὅπερ ὑπεθέμεθα. καὶ ταῦτα φράζω μὲν ἐπὶ τῶν λόγων, ἔστι δὲ τοῦτο στοιχεῖον καὶ κατὰ τῶν ἄλλων ἁπάντων καὶ κατὰ τῶν ὑμετέρων πραγμάτων. οὐδὲν γὰρ οἷόν τ᾿ ἐστὶ πραχθῆναι νοῦν ἐχόντως, ἂν μὴ τοῦτο πρῶτον μετὰ πολλῆς προνοίας λογίσησθε καὶ βουλεύσησθε, πῶς χρὴ τὸν ἐπίλοιπον χρόνον ὑμῶν αὐτῶν προστῆναι καὶ τίνα βίον προελέσθαι καὶ ποίας δόξης ὀριγνηθῆναι καὶ ποτέρας τῶν τιμῶν ἀγαπῆσαι, τὰς παρ᾿ ἑκόντων γιγνομένας ἢ τὰς παρ᾿ ἀκόντων τῶν πολιτῶν·

Libanius, Autobiography F90 17

“The education of the young had been taken up by people little different from the young themselves.”

τῆς ἀρχῆς τῶν νέων ὑπ᾿ ἀνδρῶν οὐ πολύ τι νέων διαφερόντων ἡρπασμένης

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Students without Teaching: Against Illiterate Literacy

Plato, Phaedrus 274e-275a (go here for the full dialogue)

Socrates is telling a story of the invention of writing in Egypt

“When it came to the written letters, Theuth said, ‘This training, King, will make Egyptians wiser and will give them stronger memories: for it is a drug for memory and wisdom!’ But the king replied, “Most inventive Theuth, one man is able to create technology, but another judges how much harm and benefit it brings to those who use it. Just so now you, who are father of letters, declare the opposite of what they are capable because of your enthusiasm.

This craft will engender forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn it from the disuse of the memory since they will trust external writing struck by others, no longer recalling their own thoughts within them. You have discovered a drug for reminding, not one for memory; you will offer students the reputation of wisdom but not the true thing. For many who become students without instruction will seem to know a lot when they are mostly ignorant and difficult to be around, since they have become wise for appearance instead of wise in truth.’

Ph. Socrates, you can easily make up any story about Egypt that you want to…”

ἐπειδὴ δ’ ἐπὶ τοῖς γράμμασιν ἦν, Τοῦτο δέ, ὦ βασιλεῦ, τὸ μάθημα, ἔφη ὁ Θεύθ,

σοφωτέρους Αἰγυπτίους καὶ μνημονικωτέρους παρέξει, μνήμης τε γὰρ καὶ σοφίας φάρμακον εὑρέθη. ῾Ο δ’ εἶπεν, ῏Ω τεχνικώτατε Θεύθ, ἄλλος μὲν δυνατὸς τεκεῖν τὰ τέχνης, ἄλλος δὲ κρῖναι, τίν’ ἔχει μοῖραν βλάβης τε καὶ ὠφελείας τοῖς μέλλουσι χρῆσθαι. Καὶ νῦν σὺ πατὴρ ὢν γραμμάτων δι’ εὔνοιαν τοὐναντίον εἶπες ἢ δύναται. Τοῦτο γὰρ τῶν μαθόντων λήθην μὲν ἐν ψυχαῖς παρέξει, μνήμης ἀμελετησίᾳ, ἅτε διὰ πίστιν γραφῆς ἔξωθεν ὑπ’ ἀλλοτρίων τύπων, οὐκ ἔνδοθεν αὐτοὺς ὑφ’ αὑτῶν ἀναμιμνησκομένους. Οὐκοῦν οὐ μνήμης ἀλλ’ ὑπομνήσεως φάρμακον εὗρες, σοφίας δὲ τοῖς μαθηταῖς δόξαν οὐκ ἀλήθειαν πορίζεις. πολυήκοοι γάρ σοι γενόμενοι ἄνευ διδαχῆς πολυγνώμονες εἶναι δόξουσιν, ἀγνώμονες ὡς ἐπὶ πλῆθος ὄντες καὶ χαλεποὶ ξυνεῖναι, δοξόσοφοι γεγονότες ἀντὶ σοφῶν.

ὦ Σώκρατες, ῥᾳδίως σὺ Αἰγυπτίους καὶ ὁποδαποὺς ἂν ἐθέλῃς λόγους ποιεῖς.

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Cicero On Using “Leftover Time” for Writing Projects

Cicero, Laws 1.8-10

M. I do understand that I have been promising this work for a long time now, Atticus. It is something I would not refuse if any bit of open and free time were allotted to me. A work as momentous as this cannot be taken up when one’s efforts are occupied and his mind is elsewhere. It is really necessary to be free from worry and business.

A. What about the other things you have written more of than any of our people? What free time did you have set aside then?

M. These ‘leftover moments’ occur and I will not suffer wasting them—as when there are some days set aside for going to the country, I write something equal to what the number of days allow. But a history cannot be begun unless there is dedicated time and it can’t be completed in a short time. I habitually weigh down my thought when, once I have started, I am distracted by something else. And once a project is interrupted, I do not finish what was started easily.”

M. Intellego equidem a me istum laborem iam diu postulari, Attice; quem non recusarem, si mihi ullum tribueretur vacuum tempus et liberum; neque enim occupata opera neque inpedito animo res tanta suscipi potest; utrumque opus est, et cura vacare et negotio.

A. Quid ad cetera. quae scripsisti plura quam quisquam e nostris? quod tibi tandem tempus vacuum fuit concessum?

M. Subsiciva quaedam tempora incurrunt, quae ego perire non patior, ut, si qui dies ad rusticandum dati sint, ad eorum numerum adcommodentur quae scribimus. historia vero nec institui potest nisi praeparato otio nec exiguo tempore absolvi, et ego animi pendere soleo, cum semel quid orsus sum,1 si traducor alio, neque tam facile interrupta contexo quam absolvo instituta.

I encourage everyone to copy “Intellego equidem a me istum laborem iam diu postulari” and paste it liberally into emails explaining why you have yet to complete that review, abstract, etc. etc. Take a break for a day or a nap for an hour. Let Cicero speak for you!

 

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Image taken from this blog

After the Body, The Mind Fades Away

Seneca, Moral Epistle 26.1-3

“I was recently explaining to you that I am in sight of my old age—but now I fear that I have put old age behind me! There is some different word better fit to these years, or at least to this body, since old age seems to be a tired time, not a broken one. Count me among the weary and those just touching the end.

Despite all this, I still am grateful to myself, with you to witness it. For I do not sense harm to my mind from age even though I feel it in my body. Only my weaknesses—and their tools—have become senile. My mind is vigorous and it rejoices that it depends upon the body for little. It has disposed of the greater portion of its burden. It celebrates and argues with me about old age. It says that this is its flowering. Let’s believe it, let it enjoy its own good.

My mind commands that I enter into contemplation and I think about what debt I owe to wisdom for this tranquility and modesty of ways and what portion is due to my age. It asks that I think about what I am incapable of doing in contrast to what I do not wish to do, whether I am happy because I don’t want something or I don’t want something because I lack the ability to pursue it.

For, what complaint is there or what problem is it if something which was supposed to end has ended? “But,” you interject, “it is the worst inconvenience to wear out, to be diminished, or, if I can say it properly, to dissolve. For we are not suddenly struck down and dead, we are picked away at! Each individual day subtracts something from our strength!”

But, look, is there a better way to end than to drift off to your proper exit as nature itself releases you? There is nothing too bad in a sudden strike which takes life away immediately, but this way is easy, to be led off slowly.”

Modo dicebam tibi, in conspectu esse me senectutis; iam vereor, ne senectutem post me reliquerim. Aliud iam his annis, certe huic corpori, vocabulum convenit, quoniam quidem senectus lassae aetatis, non fractae, nomen est; inter decrepitos me numera et extrema tangentis.

Gratias tamen mihi apud te ago; non sentio in animo aetatis iniuriam, cum sentiam in corpore. Tantum vitia et vitiorum ministeria senuerunt; viget animus et gaudet non multum sibi esse cum corpore. Magnam partem oneris sui posuit. Exultat et mihi facit controversiam de senectute. Hunc ait esse florem suum. Credamus illi; bono suo utatur. Ire in cogitationem iubet et dispicere, quid ex hac tranquillitate ac modestia morum sapientiae debeam, quid aetati, et diligenter excutere, quae non possim facere, quae nolim †prodesse habiturus ad qui si nolim quidquid non posse me gaudeo.† Quae enim querella est, quod incommodum, si quidquid debebat desinere, defecit? “Incommodum summum est,” inquis, “minui et deperire et, ut proprie dicam, liquescere. Non enim subito inpulsi ac prostrati sumus; carpimur. Singuli dies aliquid subtrahunt viribus.”

Ecquis exitus est melior quam in finem suum natura solvente dilabi? Non quia aliquid mali est ictus et e vita repentinus excessus, sed quia lenis haec est via, subduci.

seneca strength

Insanity and the Rules of Grammar

Sextus Empiricus, Against the Professors 179

“Just as when there is a certain local currency which is accepted in a city, the person who uses this is able to complete whatever his business obligations are in that city without too much bother, but the one who refuses to use it but creates for himself some new strange currency and tries to use that as currency instead is a feel, so too in life the person who does not want to use customary modes of discourse, like the currency, and tries to coin some particular kind of his own, is nearly insane.

And so, if the grammarians agree to give us some skill which they call analogy by which they compel us to speak with one another in accordance with some “Hellenism” then we must show that this skill has no support and that those who want to speak correctly must speak in a non-technical way, using a simple style in life and following the rules which are used by the majority of people.”

ὥσπερ γὰρ ἐν πόλει νομίσματός τινος προχωροῦντος κατὰ τὸ ἐγχώριον ὁ μὲν τούτῳ στοιχῶν δύναται καὶ τὰς ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ πόλει διεξαγωγὰς ἀπαραποδίστως ποιεῖσθαι, ὁ δὲ τοῦτο μὲν μὴ παραδεχόμενος ἄλλο δέ τι καινὸν χαράσσων ἑαυτῷ καὶ τούτῳ νομιστεύεσθαι θέλων μάταιος καθέστηκεν, οὕτω κἀν τῷ βίῳ ὁ μὴ βουλόμενος τῇ συνήθως παραδεχθείσῃ, καθάπερ νομίσματι, ὁμιλίᾳ κατακολουθεῖν ἀλλ᾿ ἰδίαν αὑτῷ τέμνειν μανίας ἐγγὺς ἐστίν. διόπερ εἰ οἱ γραμματικοὶ ὑπισχνοῦνται τέχνην τινὰ τὴν καλουμένην ἀναλογίαν παραδώσειν, δι᾿ ἧς κατ᾿ ἐκεῖνον ἡμᾶς τὸν ἑλληνισμὸν ἀναγκάζουσι διαλέγεσθαι, ὑποδεικτέον ὅτι ἀσύστατός ἐστιν αὕτη ἡ τέχνη, δεῖ δὲ τοὺς ὀρθῶς βουλομένους διαλέγεσθαι τῇ ἀτέχνῳ καὶ ἀφελεῖ κατὰ τὸν βίον καὶ τῇ κατὰ τὴν κοινὴν τῶν πολλῶν συνήθειαν παρατηρήσει προσανέχειν.

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British Library Royal 16 G V f.

Chance, Wealth and the Wise Man: More Maxims

More of Epicurus’ Maxims from Diogenes Laertius’ Lives of the Eminent Philosophers

“Chance only briefly impedes the wise man—reason has selected for him what is most important, it guides him throughout his life and will guide him.”

XVI. Βραχέα σοφῷ τύχη παρεμπίπτει, τὰ δὲ μέγιστα καὶ κυριώτατα ὁ λογισμὸς διῴκηκε καὶ κατὰ τὸν συνεχῆ χρόνον τοῦ βίου διοικεῖ καὶ διοικήσει.

“The just man is the least agitated; the unjust full of the most trouble.”

XVII. ῾Ο δίκαιος ἀταρακτότατος, ὁ δ’ ἄδικος πλείστης ταραχῆς γέμων.

“Pleasure for the flesh will not increase once pain from want has been removed, but it can only be varied. The contemplation of these things [which bring pleasure] and their concomitants, however, produces the limit of pleasure for the mind, insofar as it is those very things that also bring the mind the greatest fears.”

XVIII. Οὐκ ἐπαύξεται ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ ἡ ἡδονὴ ἐπειδὰν ἅπαξ τὸ κατ’ ἔνδειαν ἀλγοῦν ἐξαιρεθῇ, ἀλλὰ μόνον ποικίλλεται. τῆς δὲ διανοίας τὸ πέρας τὸ κατὰ τὴν ἡδονὴν ἀπεγέννησεν ἥ τε τούτων αὐτῶν ἐκλόγισις καὶ τῶν ὁμογενῶν τούτοις ὅσα τοὺς μεγίστους φόβους παρεσκεύαζε τῇ διανοίᾳ.

“It is not possible that the man who has transgressed one of the laws we have in common—not harming or being harmed—to believe that he will get away with it, even if he already has ten thousand times to the present day. It will be unclear whether or not he will escape right up until he dies.”

XXXV. Οὐκ ἔστι τὸν λάθρᾳ τι ποιοῦντα ὧν συνέθεντο πρὸς ἀλλήλους εἰς τὸ μὴ βλάπτειν μηδὲ βλάπτεσθαι πιστεύειν ὅτι λήσει, κἂν μυριάκις ἐπὶ τοῦ παρόντος λανθάνῃ. μέχρι μὲν καταστροφῆς ἄδηλον εἰ καὶ λήσει.

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Diogenes Laertius 10.2

“Apollodorus the Epicurian writes in his first book of On the Life of Epicurus that the philosopher turned to the study of philosophy when he noted that his teachers could not explain to him the meaning of Chaos in Hesiod.”

᾿Απολλόδωρος δ’ ὁ ᾿Επικούρειος ἐν τῷ πρώτῳ περὶ τοῦ ᾿Επικούρου βίου φησὶν ἐλθεῖν αὐτὸν ἐπὶ φιλοσοφίαν καταγνόντα τῶν γραμματιστῶν ἐπειδὴ μὴ ἐδυνήθησαν ἑρμηνεῦσαι αὐτῷ τὰ περὶ τοῦ παρ’ ῾Ησιόδῳ χάους.

10.6

“I cannot conceive what the good is if I separate it from the pleasures of taste, from the pleasures of sex, from the pleasures of sound, or those of beautiful bodies.”

Οὐ γὰρ ἔγωγε ἔχω τί νοήσω τἀγαθόν, ἀφαιρῶν μὲν τὰς διὰ χυλῶν ἡδονάς, ἀφαιρῶν δὲ τὰς δι᾽ ἀφροδισίων καὶ τὰς δι᾽ ἀκροαμάτων καὶ τὰς διὰ μορφῆς.

Another Day Of Freedom

ἐλευθερία: “freedom” Chantraine: sens “libre”, par opposition à δοῦλος

αὐτονομία: “independence”

παρρησία: “freedom of speech”

Sophocles, fr. 873 [= Mich. Apostol 13.8]

“Whoever does business with a tyrant is
That man’s slave, even if he starts out free.”

ὅστις γὰρ ὡς τύραννον ἐμπορεύεται
κείνου ‘στι δοῦλος, κἂν ἐλεύθερος μόλῃ.

Iliad 6.450-455 (Hektor to Andromakhe)

“But no grief over the Trojans weighs as heavy on me,
Not even for Hekabê herself or lord Priam or
Any of my brothers who have died in their great, fine numbers
In the dust at the hands of wicked men,
As my grief for you, when one of the bronze-dressed Akhaians
Will lead you off and steal away your day of freedom.”

ἀλλ’ οὔ μοι Τρώων τόσσον μέλει ἄλγος ὀπίσσω,
οὔτ’ αὐτῆς ῾Εκάβης οὔτε Πριάμοιο ἄνακτος
οὔτε κασιγνήτων, οἵ κεν πολέες τε καὶ ἐσθλοὶ
ἐν κονίῃσι πέσοιεν ὑπ’ ἀνδράσι δυσμενέεσσιν,
ὅσσον σεῦ, ὅτε κέν τις ᾿Αχαιῶν χαλκοχιτώνων
δακρυόεσσαν ἄγηται ἐλεύθερον ἦμαρ ἀπούρας·

Publius Syrus, 724

“Where freedom has died, no one may dare to speak freely”
Ubi libertas cecidit, audet libere nemo loqui

vase

Gnomologica Vat.

“Wise Periander, when asked what freedom is, said “a good conscience”.

Περίανδρος ὁ σοφὸς ἐρωτηθεὶς τί ἂν εἴη ἐλευθερία εἶπεν· „ἀγαθὴ συνείδησις”.

Cicero, Phillipic 3.36

“We were born to honor and freedom: let us keep them or die with dignity.”

Ad decus et ad libertatem nati sumus: aut haec teneamus aut cum dignitate moriamur.

Plato, Rep. 564.a4

“Excessive freedom seems to lead to nothing other than excessive slavery both in private and in public.”

῾Η γὰρ ἄγαν ἐλευθερία ἔοικεν οὐκ εἰς ἄλλο τι ἢ εἰς ἄγαν δουλείαν μεταβάλλειν καὶ ἰδιώτῃ καὶ πόλει.

Cicero, Philippic 10.20

“So glorious is the reclamation of freedom that not even death should be avoided when freedom must be regained.”

Ita praeclara est recuperatio libertatis ut ne mors quidem sit in repetenda libertate fugienda

Naevius, fr. 5-6

“I have always considered freedom more powerful than money.”

potioremque habui libertatem multo quam pecuniam.

Sidonius, Letters 7.7

“We have been made slaves as the price of others’ security”

 facta est servitus nostra pretium securitatis alienae

Sallust, Second Letter to Caesar 12

“I consider freedom more precious than fame”

Libertatem gloria cariorem habeo

Demades On the Twelve Years 45

“Freedom is not well prepared for espionage”

Ἐλευθερία ὠτακουστὴν οὐκ εὐλαβεῖται.

[also proposed via twitter: “freedom does not respect eavesdropping”; more literal, less provocative!]

Cicero, Letters to Brutus 5.2

“I [said] everything for the sake of freedom: without peace, it is nothing. I used to believe that peace itself could be achieved through war and weapons.”

ego omnia ad libertatem, qua sine pax nulla est. pacem ipsam bello atque armis effici posse arbitrabar.

Livy, 24.25

“This is the nature of the crowd: it serves humbly or rules arrogantly. Freedom, which is between these two things, they cannot manage to take or keep moderately. And there is no lack of indulgent assistants of their rage, men who provoke eager and unbalanced minds to blood and murder.”

Ea natura multitudinis est: aut servit humiliter aut superbe dominatur; libertatem, quae media est, nec suscipere modice nec habere sciunt; et non ferme desunt irarum indulgentes ministri, qui avidos atque intemperantes suppliciorum animos ad sanguinem et caedes inritent;

Arsenius, 7.9c

“It is impossible to be free if you are a slave to the senses and ruled by them” Attributed to Pythagoras

 ᾿Ελεύθερον ἀδύνατον εἶναι τὸν πάθεσι δουλεύοντα καὶ ὑπὸ παθῶν κρατούμενον Πυθαγόρου.

Livy, 24.29

“They were not happy with freedom unless they might also rule and be masters”

nec iam libertate contentos esse nisi etiam regnent ac dominentur

Seneca, De Vita Beata 15.7

“We were born in a  monarchy: freedom is obeying god.”

In regno nati sumus; deo parere libertas est.

Seneca, EM 3.5

’Think upon death.’ He who orders you to do thus, orders you to think upon freedom.”

‘meditare mortem’: qui hoc dicit, meditari libertatem iubet.

Arsenius, 17.43 a

“Agamemnon had less concern for Thersites’ freedom of speech than a tortoise does for flies.”

Τῷ δὲ ᾿Αγαμέμνονι τῆς Θερσίτου παῤῥησίας ἧττον ἔμελεν ἢ χελώνη μυιῶν τὸ τῆς παροιμίας.

[The grammar is a little strange in this one, but I think the translation is right. Michael. Apostol provides a slightly different version: τῷ δὲ ᾿Αγαμέμνονι τῆς Θερσίτου παῤῥησίας ἔλαττον ἔμελλεν, ἢ χελώνῃ μυῶν. Here I prefer the dative χελώνῃ but not ἔλαττον ἔμελλεν]

Tacitus, Histories 1.16

“You will be ruling over a people who cannot endure total servitude, nor total freedom.”

sed imperaturus es hominibus qui, nec totam servitutem pati possunt nec totam libertatem.

Epicurus (Gnom. Vat. Epic, fr. 77)

“Freedom is the greatest fruit of self-sufficiency”

Τῆς αὐταρκείας καρπὸς μέγιστος ἐλευθερία.

Publilius Syrus, 61

“To accept a bribe is to offer freedom for sale”

Beneficium accipere libertatem est vendere.

Epictetus, Diss 1.12.10

“What, then, is freedom insanity? May it not be so, for freedom and insanity do not overlap!”

τί οὖν; ἀπόνοιά ἐστιν ἡ ἐλευθερία; μὴ γένοιτο. μανία γὰρ καὶ ἐλευθερία εἰς ταὐτὸν οὐκ ἔρχεται

Epictetus, Diss. 2.1.22

“What is the profit of these beliefs? The very thing which is the most noble and ennobling for those who are truly educated, tranquility, lack of fear, freedom. For we must not trust the masses who say that it is only possible for the free to be educated. No, we must heed the philosophers who say that only the educated can be free.”

Τίς οὖν τούτων τῶν δογμάτων καρπός; ὅνπερ δεῖ κάλλιστόν τ’ εἶναι καὶ πρεπωδέστατον τοῖς τῷ ὄντι παιδευομένοις, ἀταραξία ἀφοβία ἐλευθερία. οὐ γὰρ τοῖς πολλοῖς περὶ τούτων πιστευτέον, οἳ λέγουσιν μόνοις ἐξεῖναι παιδεύεσθαι τοῖς ἐλευθέροις, ἀλλὰ τοῖς φιλοσόφοις μᾶλλον, οἳ λέγουσι μόνους τοὺς παιδευθέντας ἐλευθέρους εἶναι.

freedom (n.)

Old English freodom “power of self-determination, state of free will; emancipation from slavery, deliverance;” see free (adj.) + -dom. Meaning “exemption from arbitrary or despotic control, civil liberty” is from late 14c. Meaning “possession of particular privileges” is from 1570s. Similar formation in Old Frisian fridom, Dutch vrijdom, Middle Low German vridom. Freedom-rider recorded 1961 in reference to civil rights activists in U.S. trying to integrate bus lines.

“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose” Kris Kristofferson “Me and My Bobby McGee”

Here’s an etymology from Beekes 2010:

Beekes on Freedom