Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Live for the Moment

Aelian, Historical Miscellany 14.6 = Erich Mannebach, ed., Aristippi et Cyrenaicorum Fragmenta (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1961), p. 48 (fragment 208; tr. Nigel G. Wilson):
Aristippus was thought to have made a very sound observation when he advised mankind not to fret about the past or worry about the future. Such advice was a sign of confidence and the proof of a happy disposition. His instruction was to concentrate one's mind on the day, and indeed on that part of the day in which one is acting or thinking. Only the present, he said, belongs to us, not the past nor what is anticipated. The former has ceased to exist, and it is uncertain if the latter will exist.

πάνυ σφόδρα ἐρρωμένως ἐῴκει λέγειν ὁ Ἀρίστιππος παρεγγυῶν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις μήτε τοῖς παρελθοῦσιν ἐπικάμνειν μήτε τῶν ἐπιόντων προκάμνειν· εὐθυμίας γὰρ δεῖγμα τὸ τοιοῦτο καὶ ἵλεω διανοίας ἀπόδειξις. προσέταττε δὲ ἐφ᾿ ἡμέρᾳ τὴν γνώμην ἔχειν καὶ αὖ πάλιν τῆς ἡμέρας ἐπ᾿ ἐκείνῳ τῷ μέρει, καθ᾿ ὃ ἕκαστος ἢ πράττει τι ἢ ἐννοεῖ. μόνον γὰρ ἔφασκεν ἡμέτερον εἶναι τὸ παρόν, μήτε δὲ τὸ φθάνον6 μήτε τὸ προσδοκώμενον· τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἀπολωλέναι, τὸ δὲ ἄδηλον εἶναι εἴπερ ἔσται.
A.E. Housman, letter to Houston Martin (March 22, 1936):
In philosophy I am a Cyrenaic or egoistic hedonist, and regard the pleasure of the moment as the only possible motive of action.

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