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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Seneca on the divinity in change

I’ve come across people who say that there is a sort of inborn restlessness in the human spirit and an urge to change one’s abode; for man is endowed with a mind which is changeable and unsettled: nowhere at rest, it darts about and directs its thoughts to all places known and unknown, a wanderer which cannot endure repose and delights chiefly in novelty. This will not surprise you if you consider its original source. It was not made from heavy, earthly material, but came down from that heavenly spirit: but heavenly things are by nature always in motion, fleeing and driven on extremely fast. Look at the planets which light up the world: not one is at rest. The sun glides constantly, moving on from place to place, and although it revolves with the universe its motion is nevertheless opposite to that of the firmament itself: it races through all the signs of the zodiac and never stops; its motion is everlasting as it journeys from one point to another. All the planets forever move round and pass by: as the constraining law of nature has ordained they are borne from point of point. When through fixed periods of years they complete their courses they will start again upon their former circuits. How silly then to imagine that the human mind, which is formed of the same elements as divine beings, objects to movements and change of abode, while the divine nature finds delight and even self-preservation in continual and very rapid change.

"Consolation to Helvia" -Seneca

It's interesting how he comes to this from such a different view of the divine since he's associating it with the literal heavens. Who really cares though, if he can see the divine in continual transition, I can too. A bit more figuratively, of course. :)

1 comment:

pudica said...

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.