Manage episode 280684431 series 2821125
Democritus has said: “Do few things, if you would enjoy tranquility.” May it not be better to do the necessary things and what the reason of a creature intended by Nature to be social prescribes, and as that reason prescribes? For this brings not only the tranquility from doing right but also from doing few things. For if one removes most of what we say and do as unnecessary, he will have more leisure and less interruption. Wherefore on each occasion he should remind himself: “Is this not one of the necessary things?” And he should remove not actions merely that are unnecessary, but imaginations also, for in this way superfluous actions too will not follow in their train.
Thoreau – Walden, Where I Lived, and What I Lived For
Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail. In the midst of this chopping sea of civilized life, such are the clouds and storms and quicksands and thousand-and-one items to be allowed for, that a man has to live, if he would not founder and go to the bottom and not make his port at all, by dead reckoning, and he must be a great calculator indeed who succeeds. Simplify, simplify. Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary eat but one; instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce other things in proportion.
Such is the path of Torah: you will eat your bread with salt, you will drink your water in measure, you will sleep on the ground, and you will live a life of pain, but you will toil in Torah.
"It's better to learn how to do one magic trick very well than ten tricks poorly."
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Farquharson translation of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
Gummere translation of Letters from a Stoic Master (Seneca)
Long translation of The Discourses of Epictetus
Carter translation of The Enchiridion (Handbook) of Epictetus
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