“For timely silence is a wise thing, and better than any speech…For, again, nobody was ever sorry because he kept silent, but hundreds because they talked. Again, the word unspoken can easily be uttered later; but the spoken word cannot possibly be recalled.”
— Plutarch, Moralia – On the Education of Children
You should also think about this the next time you’re posting to Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere…
“…the man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready, and it may be a long time…”
— Henry David Thoreau, from Walden
Just one of the advantages of solo travel, from one of the greats.
“The Emperor Augustus once caught sight of some wealthy foreigners in Rome, who were carrying about young monkeys and puppies in their arms and caressing them with a great show of affection. We are told that he then asked whether the women in those countries did not bear children, thus rebuking in truly Imperial fashion those who squander upon animals that capacity for love and affection which in the natural order of things should be reserved for our fellow men.”
— Plutarch, from the Parallel Lives – Pericles
And now for my rant…
This is precisely what I think whenever I’m out and about and have to put up with someone’s infernal, yapping dog at a restaurant; or when I see photos of pets dressed up in the most ridiculous—not to say expensive-looking—costumes; or when I read about luxury pet spas complete with designer bedding and gourmet chefs. Amtrak can’t seem to run a railroad properly, what with abysmal on-time records and fatal train crashes, but they sure were happy to announce their new program allowing passengers to bring their pets along—wonderful for people like me with dog allergies.
Now, pets are perfectly fine. As those of you who’ve been reading me well know, I’m a cat person and had two cats: Victoria for 15 years and Max for 19 years. I have no pets at the moment for a variety of reasons, and sometimes I miss having them around.
But remember: they’re pets and just animals. Shouldn’t we be spending our real love, devotion and treasure upon our fellow men?
“Nothing shall I ever do for the sake of opinion, everything for the sake of my conscience.”
— Seneca, Liber VII Ad Gallionem De Vita Beata
“It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested. But when it is squandered in luxury and carelessness, when it is devoted to no good end, forced at last by the ultimate necessity we perceive that it has passed away before we were aware that it was passing. So it is—the life we receive is not short, but we make it so, nor do we have any lack of it, but are wasteful of it. Just as great and princely wealth is scattered in a moment when it comes into the hands of a bad owner, while wealth however limited, if it is entrusted to a good guardian, increases by use, so our life is amply long for him who orders it properly.
“Why do we complain of Nature? She has shown herself kindly; life, if you know how to use it, is long.”
— Seneca, Liber X: Ad Paulinum De Brevitate Vitae
One of our writing assignments for June 2015 at the Golden Pen Writers Guild was to write about…purple. So here’s what I came up with:
You’ve likely never heard of this sea snail, but it held a treasure worth more than gold in ancient times. The seacoasts of the ancient city of Tyre emitted a constant stench from millions of these crushed and rotting shells for centuries. One tiny gland from 12,000 of the animals produced a mere 1.4 grams of this treasure—Tyrian Purple dye.
“Tears will fail us sooner than the causes for weeping.”
— Seneca, Liber XI: Ad Polybium De Consolatione