Sounding modern

People like to talk about how you can look at parts of the distant past and be struck with a sense of modernity, as if the person you were reading could be around today. I’ve definitely seen it with burials; you occasionally get (what appear to be) little personal gestures of grief, the kind of thing you can imagine a bereaved loved one doing today.

I was thinking about this as a student and I talked about Epicurus yesterday. Consider, if you will, this excerpt from the Vatican Sayings (which are probably mostly attributable to Epicurus):

We have been born once and cannot be born a second time; for all eternity we shall no longer exist. But you, although you are not in control of tomorrow, are postponing your happiness. Life is wasted by delaying, and each one of us dies without enjoying leisure.

You’re not in control of tomorrow, don’t put off living your life, etc., etc. Sounds like someone could easily have said it in 2016.

Then we got on to his epistemology and talked about how all objects emit thin films of atoms which collide with your reason — which is located in your chest — to create your thoughts.

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Sounding modern

2 thoughts on “Sounding modern

  1. I suppose all humans have had the same ideas about existence up and down history. Whether they get the opportunity to dwell upon them for any length of time, let alone articulate them for posterity, is a different matter entirely.

    But enough of that, I want to hear more about how things make thoughts!

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