Thursday, December 14, 2006



Phil Flemming writes:
You have been celebrating the gospels of silence and solitude lately-- that's preaching to the converted around here. May I point to a third leg of the stool: simplicity.

Amongst the classical partisans of this ideal, Epictetus is probably the best. But let me give you a short passage from that wandering indigent Marcus Aurelius. I paraphrase and edit Meditations IV. 24:

Do but a few things if you wish to be happy. The better course is always to attend only to necessities and what reason demands, and let the rest go. Most of what we say and do is unnecessary, and if we can persuade ourselves to jettison these superfluous things, we will claim the rewards of true leisure and peace of mind. Always remember to ask yourself: are these words and deeds necessary? And our thoughts also should be examined in this fashion, for most of them are superfluous too.

That's a interesting view of what it is to live a simple life, don't you agree?

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