Friday, June 3, 2011

Superficial Life

Palms—so narrow and closed in—have been
poured over people’s limbs. But countless
worthless things keep crashing in, blunting their
cares. During their lifetimes they see such a
little part of life and then they are off:
short-lived, flying up and away like smoke,
totally persuaded by whatever each of them
happened to bump into while being driven
one way, another way, all over the place. And they
claim in vain that they have found the whole.
Like this, there is no way that people can see or
hear or consciously grasp the things I have to teach.
But as for you: because you have come aside here, you will learn.
Mortal resourcefulness can manage no more [1]

These were preparatory words a great Greek master wrote for his disciple Pausanias. His name was Empedocles (490–430 BC) and he belonged to the Pythagorean tradition. His teaching, always expressed in poetry, embraced psychology, cosmology, biology, astronomy, medicine and chemistry, contributing to the inception of the modern science, and consequently, the modern world. But unlike contemporary thinkers and scientists, he understood humans are asleep, that a special attitude and perception are required to live lucidly...What Empedocles had to say about that will be the theme of the next post.

[1] Translation by Peter Kingsley, quoted in the book Reality.

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