Vatican Saying 75

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Template:Vatican Saying 75


In this Saying, Epicurus takes exception to a commonplace proverb of his time. One should appreciate life as it flows along, one experience at a time, in the spirit of dum vivimus, vivamus, and not wait until the end of a long life in order to determine conclusively whether one's life has been good or not. The attitude that this proverb fosters, argues Epicurus, is actually ungrateful to all the good things one has already experienced; if one constantly "discounts" them, always withholding and postponing judgement until one's dying day, much happiness is lost along the way.

Editor's Note:

It is most likely that by phone (which literally means "voice") Epicurus must have rather meant "proverb", specifically the proverbial expression attributed to Solon's famous reply to king Croesus: when the Asian magnate allegedly (and rather rhetorically) asked Solon, the semi-legendary Athenian legislator, what man on earth could ever be thought to be happier than himself (Croesus), Solon reputedly advised Croesus to first wait and look upon the end of a long life before passing judgement. (In rather poetic fulfillment of this oracular reply, Croesus ultimately had a wretched and ignominious end.)

The phrase medena pro tou telous makarize ("call no one blessed until his end") has remained a common proverbial expression, all the way to present-day, modern Greek. One can only assume that it was equally familiar to, and resonated powerfully with ancient Greeks.

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