“Learn what God has willed you to be
And find your place in the human world.”
Persius, Satires, III, pp. 71-73.
While thinking about what would be a good New Year’s resolution, I found these words penned by Roman philosopher and poet, Persius, who lived in 34 AD. At the time, I was thinking – what would be a good New Year’s resolution? These words totally changed my attitude of the yearly pursuit to formulate a resolution for the coming year. I could think of many – weight loss (ugh) or more exercise (really any exercise would be more truthful). Then, I realized what a waste of time and effort I would expend in choosing either one of these goals. Not that they are poor goals, it just occured to me that I needed to resolve something that would matter in the context of the world. This may sound lofty, but everything we do changes the world in some way. So, if I feel the urge to focus my resolve in a certain direction, then I want it to matter.
Persius summed it up for me – why not resolve to learn what God has willed me to be and find my place in the world? Finally, this is something that is worthy of my day-by-day, moment-by-moment pursuit. For me, it is the only thing that really matters. I want to focus my life to discover what purpose I have on this earth. It isn’t something that can be discovered quickly or without effort. But I resolve to head that way. I may not know exactly where I’m going, but I will know I’m headed the right direction.
Where are you headed?
Have a happy journey!
- What do you see?
Are you familiar with the allegory of Plato’s Cave? The story details what happens when a group of people are placed in a cave from birth. They are chained to a wall and are unable to look anywhere except straight ahead of them. Behind them is a massive fire that provides the only light source for the cave. Behind them, people can walk, but they can’t see the people, only the shadows they project on the wall in front of them. Therefore, they see the shadows as reality, not realizing that people exist who are making the shadows.
When I first read about this story, I immediately thought about my own life, and how many times I’ve been fooled about “reality” – about what is real in life and what is only our faulty perception. I know that many people are content to see the shadows, but if you are like me, and you are searching for Truth, make a New Year’s resolution with me. I resolve to always look further for the Truth and not settle for the shadows of cheap perception.
Have a Happy New Year!