I looked at my personal blog page today and was confronted by an awful realization: I have not posted here in one day short of two years!
I’m sorry. Mi dispiace. Je suis désolé. Es tut mir Leid. прости. ごめんなさい。
The excuses are many, long and varied; however, I will not air them here. Suffice to say that A) there’s not necessarily been anything stupendous to report (that I can remember, anyway…), B) I’ve been busy trying to do a lot of different things and had a lot of distractions, and C) my life has gone a little bit out of control, especially over the last three to four months. (Don’t worry, though—nothing serious or life-threatening here.)
If I can indeed get my act back together, I’ll begin posting again regularly. Or, at least irregularly. Perhaps I’ll even make regular blog posting part of the remedy for my dissipation and a mechanism for accountability.
Sorry for the wait, and thanks for you patience—if anyone’s still out there who’s actually following/reading!
“He compared laws to spiders’ webs, which stand firm when any light and yielding object falls upon them, while a larger thing breaks through them and makes off.”
— Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Chapter 2: Solon
I was struck by this quote describing the words of one of Ancient Greece’s Seven Sages, Solon the Law Giver (ca. 594 BC), particularly in relation to Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid and life in general.
I find it extremely aggravating, unfair and hypocritical that people like the Clintons — with their big money, political connections and gift for retaliation — literally break the law and get away with their illegal activities, when citizens like you and me — the “light and yielding” ones without the ability to wield our checkbooks and political clout like a bludgeon — have to tread on eggshells to negotiate a minefield of laws and their attendant penalties. How many of you seriously think you could commit even a fraction of the illegal and questionable acts Ms. Clinton has in her lifetime without being crushed under the “awful majesty of the law?”
The “larger things” — those with the power, influence and backroom deals in place — have rigged it so they don’t have to obey those same laws. All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others …
Not that the Clintons are the only ones: politicians, big business leaders, entertainers, media talking heads, you name it are just as bad. This — not being subject to the same laws and punishments as everyone else — may be the biggest cause of the destruction of civilization as we know it. In the United States of today, we no longer actually believe in or live by the rule of law. We’re descending to the level of Banana Republic and nobody seems to care.
Indeed, people seem eager to elect Banana Republic dictators, regardless of their guilt.
“Aristides the Just was always an independent in politics, and avoided political parties, on the ground that influence derived from friends encourages wrongdoing.”
—Aristides “the Just” (Athenian statesman, 530 BC – 468 BC), quoted from Plutarch’s Moralia, Sayings of Kings and Commanders, 186.1
Hello! Sorry about not posting anything in a while, but I’ve been both terribly busy and terribly lazy …
I was reading Plutarch over the weekend and came across this gem. Once again, a trenchant bit of ancient wisdom from 2,500 years ago, perfectly applicable to today. I know I’m not the only one completely fed-up with the undemocratic and downright evil stranglehold that partisan politics and political parties have placed on civilization. One only need look at this year’s presidential debacle to see the absolute truth of Aristides’ — and many others’ — wisdom.
I certainly wish there were any true leaders today who would behave in the same manner …
“Here are the questions to which I would have every reader give his close attention—what life and morals were like; through what men and by what policies, in peace and in war, empire was established and enlarged; then let him note how, with the gradual relaxation of discipline, morals first gave way, as it were, then sank lower and lower, and finally began the downward plunge which has brought us to the present time, when we can endure neither our vices nor their cure.”
— Livy, Ab Urbe Condita (The Histories), Preface to Book I
Livy gives his overall reason for why he embarked on writing his histories and what he expects the reader to learn. And, once again, doesn’t this sound familiar to us all—as if “ripped from today’s headlines?”
“What chiefly makes the study of history wholesome and profitable is this, that you behold the lessons of every kind of experience set forth as on a conspicuous monument; from these you may choose for yourself and for your own state what to imitate, from these mark for avoidance what is shameful in the conception and shameful in the result. For the rest, either love of the task I have set myself deceives me, or no state was ever greater, none more righteous or richer in good examples, none ever was where avarice and luxury came into the social order so late, or where humble means and thrift were so highly esteemed and so long held in honour. For true it is that the less men’s wealth was, the less was their greed. Of late, riches have brought in avarice, and excessive pleasures the longing to carry wantonness and licence to the point of ruin for oneself and of universal destruction.” [emphasis added]
— Livy, Ab Urbe Condita (The Histories), Preface to Book I
Here’s yet another instance where a voice from 2,000 years ago cautions us to both study and incorporate the lessons of history, and shows us what happened to a once great nation who forgot its virtues. Do the last two sentences sound at all like what’s going on today?
“The measure of life is its excellence, not its length in years.”
— Plutarch, Moral Essays, Consolatio ad Apollonium, 111.17.
I sat exhausted, staring in wonder at the juxtaposition between the beautiful planting of wisteria and the vile stinkweed worming its way, virus-like, up the granite walls; I couldn’t believe it’d been ruined by the lackadaisical gardener’s profound inertia.
Here are the given words: wisteria, stinkweed, exhausting, granite, juxtapose, virus, wonder, beautiful, worm, believe – Bonus (we actually had two this time): planting, inertia
©MMXVI Douglas P. Kendrick. All rights reserved.