Vatican Saying 19

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Template:Vatican Saying 19


A harsh aphorism against ingratitude: the moment we forget the good times we have had, we instantly "become old".

While this may be true (and certainly holds together with Epicurean attitudes towards reflecting upon a life well spent with deep gratitude), it contradicts the laudatory notion of old age, as it was articulated in Vatican Saying 17. Whereas there old age was praised for the serenity it affords us, here it is disparaged as a negative state of vacuity and ingratitude.

The two are not, however, necessarily contradictory. Schopenhauer claimed that the expression most often seen on the faces of old people was disappointment; it is perhaps that kind of old people, who have apparently forgotten the good times they must certainly have experienced along their long lifetimes, that Epicurus posits as examples to avoid.

This is another laud to the beneficial effects of memory, a cardinal value to the Epicurean's happiness. Those who are phisophically cultivated and cherish the fond memories of good times past remain "young" in spirit; those others who strive after continued present pleasures are likely to be disappointed, and thus become "old". On a further, practical consideration: with the limitations old age naturally imposes, it seems a better course of action to recollect past experiences than to chase after new ones.

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