Today’s Quote: Thucydides

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“For no one ever carries out a plan with the same confidence with which he conceives it; on the contrary we form our fond schemes with a feeling of security, but when it comes to their execution, we are possessed by fear and fall short of success.”

— Thucydides, I.cxx.5, “quoting” the Spartan Council before the commencement of the Peloponnesian War

Today’s Quote: Konmari

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“The energy of book titles and the words inside them are very powerful. In Japan, we say that ‘words make our reality.’ [言葉が現実をつくる] The words we see and with which we come into contact tend to bring about events of the same nature. In that sense, you will become the person that matches the books you have kept. What kind of books would you want in your bookcase to reflect the kind of person you aspire to be? If you choose which books to keep on that basis, you may find that the course of events in your life changes dramatically.”

— Marie Kondo (konmari), Spark Joy, page 130


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Today’s Quote: Seneca

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“I would have my mind of such a quality as this; it should be equipped with many arts, many precepts, and patterns of conduct taken from many epochs of history; but all should blend harmoniously into one. ‘How,’ you ask, ‘can this be accomplished?’ By constant effort, and by doing nothing without the approval of reason.”

— Seneca, Epistle LXXXIV

Today’s Quote: Seneca

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“This is what our mind should do: it should hide away all the materials by which it has been aided, and bring to light only what it has made of them. Even if there shall appear in you a likeness to him who, by reason of your admiration, has left a deep impress upon you, I would have you resemble him as a child resembles his father, and not as a picture resembles its original; for a picture is a lifeless thing.”

— Seneca, Epistle LXXXIV

Classical Revival

I’m almost ashamed to be writing this.

Although I’ve been familiar with the great names of our ancient western heritage—names like Homer, Virgil, Plato, Tacitus, Sophocles and many, many others—for pretty much my entire life, I didn’t begin earnestly reading and studying them until after I’d already passed my half-century mark. And me, the degreed historian too! I can recall playing King Agamemnon in a Junior High School class play, though I don’t remember much more than that. And everyone’s read The Iliad, right?

Oh boy—what I’ve been missing…

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Today’s Quote: Seneca

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“We also, I say, ought to copy [the] bees, and sift whatever we have gathered from a varied course of reading, for such things are better preserved if they are kept separate; then, by applying the supervising care with which our nature has endowed us—in other words, our natural gifts—we should so blend those several flavors into one delicious compound that, even though it betrays its origin, yet it nevertheless is clearly a different thing from that whence it came.”

— Seneca, Epistle LXXXIV