Thursday, 17 August 2017

Epictetus - 29 (From the Fragments)

From: The Golden Sayings of Epictetus (translated by Hastings Crossley) - from Project Gutenberg.


Fragments:

IV
Crows pick out the eyes of the dead, when the dead have no longer need of them; but flatterers mar the soul of the living, and her eyes they blind.

IX
Give me by all means the shorter and nobler life, instead of one that is longer but of less account!

XI
Of pleasures, those which occur most rarely give the most delight.

XII
Exceed due measure, and the most delightful things become the least delightful.

XV
No man is free who is not master of himself.

XVI
A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope.

XVII
Fortify thyself with contentment: that is an impregnable stronghold.

XVIII
No man who is a lover of money, of pleasure, of glory, is likewise a lover of Men; but only he that is a lover of whatsoever things are fair and good.

XIX
Think of God more often than thou breathest.

XX
Choose the life that is noblest, for custom can make it sweet to thee.

XXI
Let thy speech of God be renewed day by day, aye, rather than thy meat and drink.


Friday, 11 August 2017

I can never get enough fog

Sunny days are great but I do love foggy days. The world is less expansive, less vast. It is closer, more intimate. And perhaps more mysterious. (Without there being an intentional pun on 'mist'.)
One Saturday, a year or so ago, I awoke to find that outside there was a thick fog, so I dressed quickly and went out for a walk. I even took photographs of the fog - or rather of familar sights now rendered unfamiliar by being wrapped in a blanket of mist.

Here is one of my photographs:


Saturday, 5 August 2017

Alma Mater

In May 2017, my wife and I are going back (and by the time you read this will have been back) to our old university - Surrey - for a weekend visit when it celebrates its 50th anniversary. In one form or another, the University of Surrey has been in existence for 125 years but it is choosing to celebrate just 50 years as a fully fledged university. That is in stark contrast to another I will not name that recently celebrated 175 years in existence even though it had only been a university for 10 years!
I'm sure that we will enjoy the ocassion very much but I notice, not least from its website, how much things have changed. All UK universities have changed, although to varying degrees. I nearly didn't type 'degree' then because it sounded too much of a pun but I leave it in because the degrees on offer are now very varied in their depth and value. Many, I feel, are not worth the time, effort or debt - nor the heartache because no university education is devoid of this in some form or another. When we went to university, it was a formative experience that many no longer receive or even want! Many are at university to pick up a degree because they have been told that it is a ticket to a good job (which is becoming increasingly debatable).
This degree-ticket mentality is not helped by the modular approach to higher education that has now been widely adopted. Rack up the modules; get a degree. My undergraduate degree in Human Biology seemed very intricately woven. So much so that, given the subject matter, I feel that I am still unpicking it.

The following seems particularly relevant:

"...bits of knowledge laid end to end [do not] lead to wisdom."
Altered and attributed to Melvin Konner. I hope I have got his sentiment right - it is certainly mine.


As I write (and schedule) this, I notice that it is about this time of year that the exam results come out. Good luck.