Vatican Saying 48

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A wonderfully optimistic advice: while on the road of life, we ought to make each day better than the previous one, to look at the future as a possible improvement on the past. This is an extraordinarily welcome thought to most, who usually think of life in terms of growth towards a putative prime, then an inevitable and dreary decline. Instead, Epicurus offers a remarkably sunny outlook on life as a whole, advising us to always look upwards, always towards the possibility of making the future better than the past.

On the other hand, Epicurus also touches on a realistic corollary of his optimism: when we reach the end of this road of life, we should enjoy perfectly calm contentment. This may be implicitly a discussion of old age. At some point, the pursuit of pleasure has to be somewhat toned down, as the body ages, and along with it all the sensory organs. One should not "rage into the dimming of the light", but accept the limits that nature imposes, and "enjoy smoothly" the final stretch of the road.

Like the valedictory Principal Doctrine 40, this Saying is a beautifully phrased exhortation towards the Epicurean ideal of lifelong happiness.

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