Only The Brave Will Find Redemption

There are two things that a man must learn to accept in life:  the inherent ambiguities in choosing between alternatives, and the omnipresence of suffering.  Consider the story told about Socrates in Diogenes Laertius’s Lives of the Philosophers (II.33):  a young man asked the philosopher for his advice on whether he should get married.  The old man told him that there were good arguments both for and against the proposition, and that he would regret whatever decision he made.  “If you do not get married,” he said, “you may be lonely and your bloodline will die out; if you do get married, you may be henpecked, beset by financial strains, and dubious in-laws.  You may also have to tolerate bad children.”

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Some Wisdom From Chilon And Diogenes

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Here are some sayings and stories taken from Diogenes Laertius’s Lives of the Philosophers.  I’ve mentioned this book in a few previous articles here.  Practical life advice, amusing anecdotes, and mischievous criticisms of famous names never lose their freshness or fail to bring a smile.  Indeed, we often forget that one of the greatest lessons philosophy can teach us is a sense of humor about ourselves and most other worldly things.

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Many Go To The Market-Place, But Few Seek The Crown At Olympia

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Diogenes Laertius’s Lives of the Philosophers contains interesting stories and sayings of a great many ancient Greek sages, of whom most we would otherwise know almost nothing.  My own well-worn copy of the book presented me recently with the wit and wisdom of Lyco, who is said to have lived from 299 to 225 B.C.  The details about his life and legacy are found in V.4 of the Lives.

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