“Those who use euphemisms would deceive you.”
– Rex Addiscentis
Excerpt from Wikipedia – Confucius
Confucius (551 B.C. – 479 B.C.) was a Chinese social philosopher.
“If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things.”
- Paraphrased as a Chinese proverb stating “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.”
Excerpted From Wikipedia:
Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis (c. 55 – c. 140), anglicized as Juvenal, was a Roman satiric poet.
Literary and cultural influence
… Juvenal is the source of many well-known maxims, including:
- that the common people—rather than caring about their freedom—are only interested in “bread and circuses” (panem et circenses 10.81; i.e. food and entertainment),
- that—rather than for wealth, power, eloquence or children—men should pray for a “sound mind in a sound body” (mens sana in corpore sano 10.356)
- Honesty is praised and starves.
- No man will get my help in robbery, and therefore no governor will take me on his staff.
Richard Westall‘s Sword of Damocles, 1812
Sword of Damocles
The Damocles of the anecdote was an obsequious courtier in the court of Dionysius II of Syracuse, a 4th-century BC tyrant of Syracuse, Sicily.
According to the story, pandering to his king, Damocles exclaimed that, as a great man of power and authority surrounded by magnificence, Dionysius was truly extremely fortunate. Dionysius then offered to switch places with Damocles, so that Damocles could taste that very fortune firsthand. Damocles quickly and eagerly accepted the king’s proposal.
Damocles sat down in the king’s throne surrounded by every luxury, but Dionysius arranged that a huge sword should hang above the throne, held at the pommel only by a single hair of a horse’s tail. Damocles finally begged the king that he be allowed to depart because he no longer wanted to be so fortunate, realizing that with great fortune and power come also great peril and anxiety.
Dionysius had successfully conveyed a sense of the constant fear in which the great man lives. Cicero uses this story as the last in a series of contrasting examples for reaching the conclusion he had been moving towards in this fifth Disputation, in which the theme is that virtue is sufficient for living a happy life. Cicero asks:
“Does not Dionysius seem to have made it sufficiently clear that there can be nothing happy for the person over whom some fear always looms?”
- “Satisne videtur declarasse Dionysius nihil esse ei beatum, cui semper aliqui terror impendeat?” Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 5.62.
Eternal return (also known as “eternal recurrence“) is a concept that the universe has been recurring, and will continue to recur, in a self-similar form an infinite number of times across infinite time or space. The concept is found in Indian philosophy and in ancient Egypt and was subsequently taken up by the Pythagoreans and Stoics. It is a purely physical concept, involving no supernatural reincarnation, but the return of beings in the same bodies. Time is viewed as being not linear but cyclical.
With the decline of antiquity and the spread of Christianity, the concept fell into disuse in the Western world, with the exception of Friedrich Nietzsche, who connected the thought to many of his other concepts, including amor fati.
Amor fati is a Latin phrase loosely translating to “love of fate” or “love of one’s fate“. It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one’s life, including suffering and loss, as good. Moreover, it is characterized by an acceptance of the events or situations that occur in one’s life.
The phrase is used repeatedly in Friedrich Nietzsche’s writings: “I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful […] I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation…”
Quotation from “Why I Am So Clever” in Ecce Homo, section 10: “My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity…”