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Rising above human affairs

I wonder if there has ever been an age where we were as bad as now at rising above human affairs. We are in a race to the bottom where powerful interest groups battle for the status as "most victimized ever" and for the privileges assigned to that status - and while we battle we let the planet slowly die.

"What a despicable thing a human being is if he does not rise above human affairs! All the time that we are struggling with our passions, what is so wonderful about our achievement, even if we prevail? We are outdoing monsters: why should we be conceited because we are not as bad as the worst people? I cannot see why anyone who is more robust than the others in a hospital should be pleased with himself:  strength is quite different from good health. Have you broken free from moral vices? Your face does not have a feigned expression, your speech is not designed to please somebody else, nor are your feelings concealed, nor do you harbor greed, which denies itself what it has taken from others, nor luxury, which squanders money shamefully only to recoup it even more shamefully, nor ambition, which will bring you honors only by dishonorable means? You have not yet achieved anything: you have broken free from many things, but not yet from yourself. The virtue to which we aspire is marvelous not because freedom from evil is in itself wonderful, but because it releases the mind, prepares it for knowledge of the celestial, and makes it worthy to enter into partnership with god".

- Seneca, Natural questions Book I, praefatio 1-7

Roman mosaic from Lod (Lydda), Israel



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