Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt:
[ The Fates lead him who will; him who won’t, they drag. ]

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman Stoic philosopher (1st C. BCE)

“The Fates”. Here’s a little background … since most Americans would have no idea about them. Our educational system is abysmally bankrupt. I’ll bet if I asked people under 20 who Seneca was, they wouldn’t have the faintest idea.

The Fates, were goddesses supposed to preside over the accidents and events, and to determine the date or period of human life. They were believed by the ancients to be three in number, because all things have a beginning, progress, and end. They were the daughters of Jupiter and Themis, and sisters to the Horae or Hours.

Their names, amongst the Greeks, were Atropos, Clotho, and Lachesis, and among the Latins, Nona, Decima and Morta. They are called Parcae, because, as Varro thinks, they distributed to mankind good and bad things at their birth; or, as the common and received opinion is, because they spare nobody. They were always of the same mind, so that though dissensions sometimes arose among the other gods, no difference was ever known to subsist among these three sisters, whose decrees were immutable. To them was entrusted the spinning and management of the thread of life; Clotho held the distaff, Lachesis turned the wheel, and Atropos cut the thread.

So, here’s my thought for today  -  how does Life “work”? Does “Life” have a trajectory, a trajectory that’s built in? If it does, is it the same for every human being, or is it different for each person? Is it built into the nature of Life? Is there some Force/God/Determinism that determines it? Is there a “Ground of Being”, a Conscious Being, who makes arbitrary decisions about the trajectory of our lives … or is it a “given” about the Mystery we call Life??

Seneca seems to indicate that there is a Path set out for human life … and the “Fates” are a metaphor for the concept that human beings must make a connection, or be taught it, with what Life is and learn how to negotiate it best to our advantage … or that if we do not make the effort to discover, to learn, this path, we shall be dragged along with probably not very happy outcome. The positive indication here is perhaps that we human beings are intended to have, not necessarily “control” over our lives, but at least a capacity for choosing to cooperate with and shaping our destiny, both individually and as the human race.

So, while you go about your day today, ponder these things. And if you want to know what I think … well, give me a buzz! But, the really important thing is … what do you think? And what do your thoughts have to do with how you live your Life? Atropos/Nona will eventually cut the thread. But:  who’s “holding the distaff”? And who’s “turning the wheel”?


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