Reflections on Aphorisms #110

Had some socialization today, which is nice. Didn’t get a whole lot done in terms of writing or reading, but I’m giving myself a pass. Might have to make up for it tomorrow. I need to get some more reading material beyond just what I’m doing for my courses.

Aphorism 150

He is really wise who is nettled at nothing. (Maxim 203)

François de La Rochefoucauld

Interpretation

One of the things that I’ve noticed is that we associate peevishness with foolishness.

Oh how I wish I could be free of neurosis.

People who get agitated over things are opening themselves up to psychic influence; every little thing influences their mood.

I’m reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go and one of the things that is interesting to me is that early on there’s a scene where the narrator is showing a flashback to her childhood, and one of her classmates (for lack of a better term) is explaining how he learned that art isn’t as important as it was made out to be and how his teacher told him that he doesn’t have to be artistic if he doesn’t want to be. It serves as a breakthrough; the character who was once prone to temper tantrums and violent rages becomes calm and collected.

One of the signs of wisdom is that people become efficient. Efficiency isn’t wisdom, but the wise have a way of turning everything toward a purpose.

If you become subordinate to passions you let yourself be led by emotion and your physical being rather than your mind and your spirit.

In this sense, one of the steps on the pathway to wisdom is a measured detachment, not because nothing matters but because everything is important enough to merit your best self.

If you become overly invested in something, especially for the wrong reasons, you wind up moving in the wrong direction.

Instead of becoming a positive force in the world, you can easily become a negative force or, worse, lead others into becoming negative forces as well by harming them.

And that’s one of the worst things you can do. It’s bad enough to waste your own life, but leading others to perdition, even without deliberate malice, is an act that promises to not only make the world worse but to make the world worse in massive ways.

One of the things that came up in a conversation I had today is the notion that there’s a ripple effect on all our actions, but that they also echo back to us. We can easily create problems around us that reflect back onto us, creating our own little slice of hell.

Resolution

Be deliberate in action.

Work to create positive ripples.

Never forget my own potential for evil, which grows if left unchecked.

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