The Counsel Of Helios To A Noble Youth

There is a fable told in the Roman emperor Julian’s oration To the Cynic Heracleios that is worth relating and discussing.  The fable is rather involved, but we will extract its relevant parts here.  The god Hermes once appeared before a youth who, though virtuous and good, was having some difficulties in life.  Hermes said to the young man:

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Ibn Zafar’s Principles Of Power And Success In Leadership

We have previously mentioned the political philosopher Ibn Zafar Al-Siqilli (“The Sicilian”), who lived from 1104 to about 1171.  Very little is known of his early life; his entry in Ibn Khallikan’s Biographical Dictionary reveals little more than a few sad anecdotes.  We do know that he was born under the Norman rule of Sicily, and received a good education in Mecca in Arabia.  A period of wandering followed, which ended around 1150 when he secured a teaching position in Aleppo, Syria.  When war broke out in Syria, Ibn Zafar moved back to Sicily; some years later he moved back to Syria, ultimately residing in Hama, where he died around 1172.

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Michael Crichton On The Masculine Virtues Of Sean Connery

In his 1988 memoir Travels, author Michael Crichton recalls the time he spent with actor Sean Connery during the shooting of the film The Great Train Robbery in Ireland in 1978.  Crichton, the famed author of Jurassic Park, Sphere, Congo, Disclosure, and a number of other popular novels, was also once a film director.  Connery was the star of The Great Train Robbery, and Crichton clearly was in awe of the volcanic Scotsman.  The anecdotes he relates of Connery’s masculine charisma make it clear that men today can learn a great deal from him.

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Why We Must Seek The Divine Within Us

Upon his accession to the throne of Augustus in A.D. 364, the emperor Valentinian gave a short address to his troops.  The speech is related in Ammianus Marcellinus’s history (XXVI.1).  The historian tells us that Valentinian appeared on an open expanse of ground and mounted a platform that had been arranged for this purpose; he was also wearing an imperial robe and a coronet.  The speech itself was short and to the point.

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Why We Should Not Rely On First Impressions

It is often said that a man should rely on his first impressions of things when trying to form a final judgment.  There is some merit to instinct; but it seems to me that reasoned deliberation will always provide more accurate results than the shifting sands of sense-perception.  We cannot know all things, or even many things, at a glance.

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The Wrath Of Least Persistence

Everyone has heard the tired phrase, “path of least resistance.”  It represents a principle that I have no objection to.  Of course there is no reason to make more work for oneself without good reason.  No one is arguing with this idea.  All things being equal, the shortest path to a goal is usually the best.  But it occurred to me today to take this phrase and modify it a bit to create another principle, one perhaps equally valid, yet one far less frequently discussed.  Let us consider this new phrase:  the wrath of least persistence.  What do I mean by this?

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The Boar And The Wolf Of Sant’ Antonio

I will turn again to Biondo Flavio’s geographical compendium of Italy called Italia Illustrata, which was published in 1453.  Flavio traveled all over the Italian peninsula and recorded historical information, anecdota, and local customs of the Italian countryside in the late medieval period.  During his tour of Tuscany, he found himself in the region near the city of Petriolo.  Here there was a remote monastery dedicated to Sant’ Angelo named the Eremo di Sant’ Antonio in Val d’Aspra.  Flavio describes the place as being at the top of an irregular road threading through forested hills.  It was also an austere place, not lavish at all in its construction (ut ad parum sumptuose et minus laute aedificatum te conferas monasterium).

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