Adonis Diaries

Archive for July 30th, 2013

Marcus Aurelius (161-180): Roman Emperor and philosopher?

In his manuscript “The Reflections (thoughts)”, Marcus Aurelius wrote:

1. “The duration for a human life? A period. It’s substance? Regressing. The sensation? Obscure. The body composition in its whole? Ready to rot. The soul? A whirlwind. The fate? Difficult to predict. The reputation? Uncertain.

To sum it all, the elements of the body flow as a river. The elements of the spirit are but dreams and fume.

Life is a war and a strange sojourn. The fame we leave, if any, sinks into oblivion. What could make us suffer life?

One thing: Philosophy!”

In another section, Aurelius writes:

2. “What a thin fragment of infinite time is this part of every being? Quickly, the being disappears in the eternity.

What a thin fragment of the total substance. And what of the universal spirit?

On which tiny parcel of earth are you walking? Reflect on all these questions, and nothing is as great as acting like what nature wants and to submit to what this universal nature produces.”

3.”I can no longer read. It is always allowed for me to repulse violence out of my heart. I am permitted, always, to despise the pleasure and the pain.

I am always entitled to be superior to vain glory, not to lose temper against the idiots and the ungrateful.

It is my obligation to resume doing what is good…”

And yet, Aurelius was no different from most emperors in have the Christians been eaten by the beast in the arena to please the Romans.

In another section:

4. “The best way to despise songs, dances, games, wrestling… All you have to do is to divide these activities into their elements. You’ll discover that there are no charm to the elements. Only virtue is indivisible…”

5. “Who can catch the present moment can sees all that occurred during eternity and all that will happen to the infinity of time

6. “What, the light of a candle is as strong even before the candle is finished. Truth, Justice, and Temperance in you will go off when you just die.”

7. “What if you were fired after the third of a five-act piece? Three acts are good enough for the drama you have lived. The one who had the responsibility to finish the 5th act is the cause of the dissolution of the other actors”

8. “O Cosmos! Whatever satisfies you do suit me fine. Nothing is premature or late of what comes from you. O Nature, I bear the fruits of your seasons. All comes from you, in you is All, towards you all go”

9. “Your slaves are human persons. This is my certitude. This shall enter as law. Rugus (owner of over a thousand slaves), if you kill a slave, you shall be prosecuted as criminal. If you torture a slave, the law will punish you and oblige you to sell the slave. You are no longer to separate family members: you must sell the entire family. You are no longer entitled to dispatch your slaves to the arenas or to force them to prostitute…”

Note 1: The persecution of Christians (Christos) began in earnest during Trajan and continued under Hadrian, Antonin… Marcus Aurelius murdered the Christos in public arenas out of despise: Fanatics will ultimately be fanatics in exterminating who they consider as infidels and contrary to their religious beliefs. That what Popes of Rome did for 11 centuries, and the “Christians” did in the colonies, wiping out entire civilizations.

Frankly, it is not possible to grab power unless you manage to turn fanatics your followers around a few abstract notions.

Note 2: Pline the Young was appointed magistrate in north Turkey by Emperor Trajan. He wrote to the Emperor:

“I need your orders relevant to the ways of legally treating with the increased number of Christos in the countryside. They assemble on fixed days, before sun up. They sing hymns to Christos as a God, swear not to steel, commit adultery, pay off their debt…They share ordinary breakfast together… They refuse to honor our Gods and do not consider the Emperor as God…”

Note 3: Before Christianity, people honored and prayed before idols, but they were sane enough not to adore these stones and wooden idols: The idols represented the power of nature and the process of nature and they prayed to survive within the forces of nature.

It is the Christians who began to adore the pictures, stones and wooden representations of the Virgin, Jesus, and the Saints…

Arab Humor. Before Islam. Part 2

Before Islam, four idiot characters stood out:

1. Ijl ibn Lujaym, the idiot of the Christian tribe of Bakr ibn Wael, which lived in Yamama in Iraq.

2. Bakil of the tribe Iyyad ibn Nizar ibn Ma3ad that lived in Mecca and on the borders of Najran in Yemen.

3. Habannaka of the tribe of Banu Kays ibn Tha3laba.

4. Maria bint Mu3anj, nicknamed Dugha (butterfly) of the same tribe of Ijl.

1. The son killed his mother instead of the man who was “honoring” her: “Otherwise, “I’d be killing a man everyday of my life”

2. Salama ibn Jandal was nonplused with the request of the tribe of Banu Tamim for “chanting a poem” to their glory. salama replied: “Do something that gives me ground to praise you…”

3. Bakil bought a sheep for 11 dirham. Unable to talk properly, he showed his 10 fingers and got out his tongue.

4. The girl proposing to a young man “Marry me. I’ll be associated to your worries and material difficulties”. The man replied “I have none of these worries”, and the girl said: “You’ll have plenty of them once you marry me…”

5. Ijl wanted to call his spirited horse the “One -eyed”, and went ahead and gouged an eye to his horse.

6. A man was overjoyed with a horse that came first in the race “I own the bridle”

7. Habanna Kaysi offered 2 camels for anyone bringing back a lost camel of his “There is so much joy finding a lost property”

8. A man swore to sell a 1,000-dirham camel for a single dirham if found. The camel was found and a cat was sold for 1,000 dirham as one lot with the camel.

9. “What have you anticipated for winter?”  The Bedouin replied “A long shiver”

10. Hajib ibn Zurata was dispatched by the prophet Muhammad to the Persian King Anu Sharwan.

He presented himself as “One of the Arabs”.  As he faced the king, he upgraded his status to “The Lord of the Arabs”. Why? He has met a king who addressed him and talked to him.

11. An old woman met the prophet as she was visiting his wife Aicha. She asked that Muhammad includes her in heaven. Muhammad replied: “Old women have no access to paradise” The woman was crying as he re-entered the house and he continued “In heaven, God transforms women to young virgins”

12. The third caliph Omar ibn Khattab was told “This person is ignorant of what is bad”. Omar replied “He risks to be the victim more than anyone else”

13. Zayd ibn Darim was in delegation to the king of Himyar (Yemen) who was on a mountain hunting trip. The kind ordered Zayd to sit down “thib”. The man jumped off the cliff. Thib in Zayd Arabic slang meant “jump”. The king concluded “Anyone entering Dhofar must learn our Himyari language”

Note: Extracted from the French book “The book of Arab Humor” by Jean-Jacques Schmidt




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