Greek Philosophy in Robert Harris

The Stoics vs. Aristotle & Plato

pp. 199 – 200 of Conspirata (Lustrum in the UK; self has to make that distinction every time, it’s a bear)

Cicero delivers a speech to the Roman Senate, making fun of his colleague Cato:

For there was a man of genius called Zeno, and the disciples of his teaching are called stoics. Here are some of his precepts: the wise man is never moved by favour and never forgives anyone’s mistakes; only a fool feels pity; all misdeeds are equal, the casual killing of a cock no less a crime than strangling one’s father; the wise man never assumes anything, never regrets anything, is never wrong, never changes his mind.

Now I must admit when I was younger I also took some interest in philosophy. My masters, though, were Plato and Aristotle. They don’t hold violent or extreme views. They say that favour can sometimes influence the wise man; that a good man can feel pity; that there are different degrees of wrongdoing and different punishments; that the wise man often makes assumptions when he doesn’t know the facts, and is sometimes angry, and sometimes forgives, and sometimes changes his mind; that all virtue is saved from excess by a so-called mean. If you had studied these masters, Cato, you might not be a better man or braver — that would be impossible — but you might be a little more kind.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Earth Day 2017 in Annaghmakerrig

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Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Artists Studio # 1

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Yesterday During Self’s Walk

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Inside Unit # 1: Moonrise

#amreadingpoetry: Liu Xia

Before you go into the grave
Don’t forget to write to me with your ashes
Don’t forget to leave your underworld address

quoted by Liao Yiwu in his introduction to Liu Xia’s collection Empty Chairs, the bilingual edition (Graywolf Press)

The Fine Calibration of Favors: RUBICON, p. 140

There was a rich guy named Crassus and he just wanted to be Caesar, okay?

He was sort of a skinflint.

Reading Tom Holland’s Rubicon, self is reminded that only stupid people never grant any favors. People who refuse categorically to grant any favors are not only stupid, they’re thinking strictly short-term. The granting of favors pays off big time in the future. It’s called leverage.

Back to the reading for the day:

p. 140:

Crassus knew a Greek philosopher, Alexander, who occasionally came over to stay (Holland says the hospitality Crassus extended was “grudging”). Alexander “would be lent a cloak for journeys then required to give it back.” (No mention by Holland of how many times Alexander borrowed a cloak; after the first time, it would seem only natural for Alexander to provide himself with his own cloak: but no. Perhaps he was just as much of a skinflint as Crassus. And this guy was a philosopher).

Alexander was “Greek, and therefore did not have the vote. Had he been a citizen, then he would have been encouraged to borrow far more than a cloak. The more eminent his status, the more spectaculary he would have been encouraged to fall into debt.”

#Nice #pointsTomHolland

The Body Is a Boat

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Bernadette Burns: Artist from Skibbereen, West Cork


The body is a boat that carries the soul in the ocean of the world.  If it is not strong, or it has a hole, then it cannot cross the ocean, so the first duty is to fix the boat.

— Baba Hari Dass

Dense 4: More Annaghmakerrig

So lucky to be here at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. Every day feels like a gift.

And happy that self can post so many pictures for this week’s Photo Challenge: DENSE.

The Artists’ Studios, Early Morning:

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Last night, self went over to the studio of one of the visual artists, Bernadette Burns. Her work is “in progress.” Love that you can actually see the energy of the brush stroke. Her medium is oil:

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Bernadette Burns, Work in Progress: Photographed Last Night in Studio # 1

Here’s a sketch that Bernadete did “for fun”:

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Bernadette Burns: Pencil Drawing

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: from ANNAGHMAKERRIG, Book # 7, Unit # 1, Tyrone Guthrie

Salt, Chapter 1, by Claire Keegan

I married Billy Fennell in a cold, lambing season . . . Nobody came to our wedding.

SCROTUS Handshake: Exactly As Described

Story # 8 in Phil Klay’s Redeployment (“Prayer in the Furnace” — another lousy title, but let’s not digress)

#ShinzoAbe #PrimeMinisterofJapan #ShakesHandsWithTrump

p. 142

“He’s gonna do this handshake,” the major said. “It’s called the dominance shake. He does it to everybody.”

Eklund was a Catholic convert and had a tendency to tell me more than he should, inside the confessional and out.

“The dominance shake,” I said, amused.

“That’s what he calls it. He’s going to take your hand in his, grip it real hard, and then twist his wrist so his hand is on top of yours. That’s the dominance position. And then, instead of shaking up and down, he’ll pull you in and slap you on the shoulder and feel your bicep with his free hand. It’s Fehr’s little way of peeing on your personal tree.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

It IS Easy Being Green 3: Some Recent Photos

  • “Sometimes it’s fun to take a step back from interpretive challenges and just celebrate a color: green!”

— Michelle W., The Daily Post

The window shot is from her bedroom in Unit # 1 of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

The woman in the portrait is Vanessa Bell (of Bloomsbury fame), painted by Duncan Grant. The painting hangs in the British National Portrait Gallery.

The snowdrops were in the backyard of her friend Dodo Stanley. Self visited her in Driffield, East Riding, in early March.

Sentence of the Day: Yes, All Right, Still Story # 5 of REDEPLOYMENT

Here’s the sentence:

“There is a direct link,” I said, “between the oppression of women and extremism.”

This conversation is taking place in Iraq. And it is funny. Not because self doesn’t believe the truth of it. She does. But it’s being said by an American civilian in Iraq (who goes by the name Chris Roper and self isn’t sure why but she keeps thinking she knows someone with that actual name). So it seems ironic. You know?

Stay tuned.

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