Daily Touch of Inspirations

November 10th: Always the same

Ryan Holiday, The 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living

Think by way of example on the times of Vespasian, and you'll see all these things: marrying, raising children, falling ill, dying, wars, holiday feasts, commerce, farming, flattering, pretending, suspecting, scheming, praying that others die, grumbling over one's lot, falling in love, amassing fortunes lusting after office and power. Now that life of theirs is dead and gone... the times of Trajan, again the same... — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 4.32

Ernest Hemingway opens his book The Sun Also Rises with a Bible verse: "One generation passeth, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever. The sun also riseth, and the sun goeth down, and resteth to the place where he arose."

It was this passage, his editor would say, that "contained all the wisdom of the ancient world."

And what wisdom is that? One of the most striking things about history is just how long human beings have been doing what they do. Though certain attitudes and practices have come and gone, what's left are people — living, dying, loving, fighting, crying, laughing.

Breathless media reports or popular books often perpetuate the belief that we've reached the apex of humanity, or that this time, things really are different. The irony is that people have believed that for centuries.

Strong people resist this notion. They know that with a few exceptions, things are the same as they've always been and always will be. You're just like the people who came before you, and you're but a brief stopover until the people just like you who will come after. The earth abides forever, but we will come and go.

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom Perseverance and Art of Living

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