Vatican Saying 10

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Remember that you are mortal and that, although having but a limited span of life, you have entered into discussions about nature for all time, and see “all things that are and will be and were before.”


Attributed to Metrodorus (and for that reason excluded by some editions of Epicurus' teachings), this Saying elaborates on the paradox that, although Epicureans harbor no illusions of personal immortality, they have attained an illustrious goal nonetheless: although they recongize that they are mortal, and that their lifetime is therefore finite, they have "ascended" intellectually by their rational contemplation of nature, and have been able to see into the true meaning of the infinite and the eternal, having gained a clear understanding of the past, present, and future of the world.

With its modest eloquence, this Saying encapsulates much of the scope of De Rerum Natura.

(The embedded quote is from Homer’s Iliad, I.70.)

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