Image by 35069 from Pixabay
We are aware the world has changed so much in recent times. Some people hark back to 'the good old days', referring to life as it was just a few decades
ago. Life is even more different from how it was centuries
ago. However, some of the things said by philosophers who lived a couple of thousand years ago
are, surprisingly perhaps, still true today.
Philosophers of the distant past whose words are relevant now
The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu was born in 601BC, well over two thousand years ago. Could any wise words he spoke back then have any relevance to modern times? I think they do.
Lao Tzu said, 'Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.' I think most people are familiar with the quote, 'A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step,' or slight variations of this.
He also said, 'Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.' This quote is good advice in the modern world when many people are rushing non stop.
Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, teacher and politician, who was born in 551BC and died in 479BC said, 'Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.' I was surprised that someone alive so long ago was saying people back then made life complicated. These days most people feel life is complicated but some are making an effort to return to a simpler lifestyle.
Confucius also said, 'It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.' I find this quote encouraging when I am dissatisfied with my progress. Sometimes I feel I should be getting things done more quickly and then I reflect on these words. Rather than rush to get something finished (and inevitably make mistakes) I remind myself the important thing is to keep going.
People who decide on a creative pursuit as their way of earning a living or who set up a business doing something they are passionate about may have the following quote from Confucius as their motto,
'Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.'
Statue of Confucius Image by Erika Wittlieb from Pixabay
Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher (circa 535-475 BC) said, “There is nothing permanent except change.” This is certainly true of how the world is today and it seems Heraclitus felt life was changing quite quickly back when he was alive.
Socrates (circa 470 – 399 BC) was a Greek philosopher known as one of the founders of Western philosophy. Socrates said, 'Falling down is not a failure. Failure comes when you stay where you have fallen.' Although some people feel not achieving what you were aiming to do is a negative thing, much can be learned from it. It is possible to see positive aspects to 'falling down'. While some view 'falling down' as a failure, Socrates only thought it was if you didn't have another try.
When Socrates said, 'Beware the barrenness of a busy life,' he could just as well have been giving advice to people rushing around leading a hectic life in the 21st century. There is more to life than being busy, constantly working, buying, accumulating things, going places and 'achieving' things. One needs time to slow down, reflect, enjoy the simple things and be 'present' with people who matter to one. Read more
It is interesting that although there have been so many major changes since the time of the ancient philosophers, some of the things they said and wrote back then are still relevant today.