The Way Things Are Quotes

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The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura by Titus Lucretius Carus
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The Way Things Are Quotes (showing 1-30 of 50)
“All religions are equally sublime to the ignorant, useful to the politician, and ridiculous to the philosopher.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things: de Rerum Natura
“Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum. (To such heights of evil are men driven by religion.)”
Titus Lucretius Carus, The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura
“Air, I should explain, becomes wind when it is agitated.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things
“It's easier to avoid the snares of love than to escape once you are in that net whose cords and knots are strong; but even so, enmeshed, entangled, you can still get out unless, poor fool, you stand in your own way.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura
tags: love
“For fools admire and love those things they see hidden in verses turned all upside down, and take for truth what sweetly strokes the ears and comes with sound of phrases fine imbued.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura
“Watch a man in times of adversity to discover what kind of man he is; for then at last words of truth are drawn from the depths of his heart, and the mask is torn off.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, Of the Nature of Things
“There can be no centre
in infinity.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of the Universe
“...nothing is more blissful than to occupy the heights effectively fortified by the teaching of the wise, tranquil sanctuaries from which you can look down upon others and see them wandering everywhere in their random search for the way of life, competing for intellectual eminence, disputing about rank, and striving night and day with prodigious effort to scale the summit of wealth and to secure power. O minds of mortals, blighted by your blindness! Amid what deep darkness and daunting dangers life’s little day is passed! To think that you should fail to see that nature importantly demands only that the body may be rid of pain, and that the mind, divorced from anxiety and fear, may enjoy a feeling of contentment!”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of things
“Another fallacy comes creeping in whose errors you should be meticulous in trying to avoid. Don't think our eyes, our bright and shining eyes, were made for us to look ahead with. Don't suppose our thigh bones fitted our shin bones and our shins our ankles so that we might take steps. Don't think that arms dangled from shoulders and branched out in hands with fingers at their ends, both right and left, for us to do whatever need required for our survival. All such argument, all such interpretation is perverse, fallacious, puts the cart before the horse. No bodily thing was born for us to use. Nature had no such aim, but what was born creates the use. There could be no such thing as sight before the eyes were formed. No speech before the tongue was made, but tongues began long before speech were uttered. and the ears were fashioned long before a sound was heard. And all the organs I feel sure, were there before their use developed. They could not evolve for the sake of use be so designed. But battling hand to hand and slashing limbs, fouling the foe in blood, these antedate the flight of shining javelins. Nature taught men out to dodge a wound before they learned the fit of shield to arm. Rest certainly is older in the history of man than coverlets or mattresses, and thirst was quenched before the days of cups or goblets. Need has created use as man contrives device for his comfort. but all these cunning inventions are far different from all those things much older, which supply their function from their form. The limbs, the sense, came first, their usage afterwards. Never think they could have been created for the sake of being used.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura
“Trees don't live in the sky, and clouds don't swim
In the salt seas, and fish don't leap in wheatfields,
Blood isn't found in wood, nor sap in rocks.
By fixed arrangement, all that live and grows
Submits to limit and restrictions.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things
“The supply of matter in the universe was never more tightly packed than it is now, or more widely spread out. For nothing is ever added to it or subtracted from it. It follows that the movement of atoms today is no different from what it was in bygone ages and always will be. So the things that have regularly come into being will continue to come into being in the same manner; they will be and grow and flourish so far as each is allowed by the laws of nature.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things
“There is nothing that exists so great or marvelous that over time mankind does not admire it less and less.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things
“Nothing can dwindle to nothing, as Nature restores one thing from the stuff of another, nor does she allow a birth, without a corresponding death.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura
“hunc igitur terrorem animi tenebrasque necessest
non radii solis neque lucida tela diei
discutiant, sed naturae species ratioque.
(1.146ff.)

Therefore it is necessary that neither the rays of the sun nor the shining spears of Day should shatter this terror and darkness of the mind, but the aspect and reason of nature...”
Titus Lucretius Carus, De rerum natura
“What once sprung from the earth sinks back into the earth.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, de Rerum Natura (the Nature of Things): A Poetic Translation
“Furthermore, as the body suffers the horrors of disease and the pangs of pain, so we see the mind stabbed with anguish, grief and fear. What more natural than that it should likewise have a share in death?”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things
“Defining philosophy as “an activity, attempting by means of discussion and reasoning, to make life happy,” he believed that happiness is gained through the achievement of moral self-sufficiency (autarkeia) and freedom from disturbance (ataraxia). The main obstacles to the goal of tranquillity of mind are our unnecessary fears and desires, and the only way to eliminate these is to study natural science. The most serious disturbances of all are fear of death, including fear of punishment after death, and fear of the gods. Scientific inquiry removes fear of death by showing that the mind and spirit are material and mortal, so that they cannot live on after we die: as Epicurus neatly and logically puts it: “Death…is nothing to us: when we exist, death is not present; and when death is present, we do not exist. Consequently it does not concern either the living or the dead, since for the living it is non-existent and the dead no longer exist” (Letter to Menoeceus 125). As for fear of the gods, that disappears when scientific investigation proves that the world was formed by a fortuitous concourse of atoms, that the gods live outside the world and have no inclination or power to intervene in its affairs, and that irregular phenomena such as lightning, thunder, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes have natural causes and are not manifestations of divine anger. Every Epicurean would have agreed with Katisha in the Mikado when she sings: But to him who’s scientific There’s nothing that’s terrific In the falling of a flight of thunderbolts! So the study of natural science is the necessary means whereby the ethical end is attained. And that is its only justification: Epicurus is not interested in scientific knowledge for its own sake, as is clear from his statement that “if we were not disturbed by our suspicions concerning celestial phenomena, and by our fear that death concerns us, and also by our failure to understand the limits of pains and desires, we should have no need of natural science” (Principal Doctrines 11). Lucretius’ attitude is precisely the same as his master’s: all the scientific information in his poem is presented with the aim of removing the disturbances, especially fear of death and fear of the gods, that prevent the attainment of tranquillity of mind. It is very important for the reader of On the Nature of Things to bear this in mind all the time, particularly since the content of the work is predominantly scientific and no systematic exposition of Epicurean ethics is provided.25 Epicurus despised philosophers who do not make it their business to improve people’s moral condition: “Vain is the word of a philosopher by whom no human suffering is cured. For just as medicine is of no use if it fails to banish the diseases of the body, so philosophy is of no use if it fails to banish the suffering of the mind” (Usener fr. 221). It is evident that he would have condemned the majority of modern philosophers and scientists.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things
“You see that stones are worn away by time,
Rocks rot, and twoers topple, even the shrines
And images of the gods grow very tired,
Develop crack or wrinkles, their holy wills
Unable to extend their fated term,
To litigate against the Laws of Nature.
And don't we see the monuments of men
Collapse, as if to ask us, "Are not we
As frail as those whom we commemorate?"?
Boulders come plunging down from the mountain heights,
Poor weaklings with no power to resist
The thrust that says to them, Your time has come!
But they would be rooted in steadfastness
Had they endured from time beyond all time,
As far back as infinity. Look about you!
Whatever it is that holds in its embrace
All earth, if it projects, as some men say,
All things out of itself, and takes them back
When they have perished, must itself consist
Of mortal elements. The parts must add
Up to the sum. Whatever gives away
Must lose in the procedure, and gain again
Whenever it takes back.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things
“O misere menti degli uomini, o uomini ciechi!
In quale tenebrosa esistenza e fra quanto grandi pericoli si trascorre questa breve vita!”
Titus Lucretius Carus, De rerum natura
“If the world is the product of nothing but natural forces and natural law, divine intervention is impossible.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things
“The first beginnings of things cannot be distinguished by the eye.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, de Rerum Natura (the Nature of Things): A Poetic Translation
“Matter's basic elements are solid,
Completely so, and that they fly through time
Invincible, indestructible for ever.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things
“To fear death, then, is foolish, since death is the final and complete annihilation of personal identity, the ultimate release from anxiety and pain.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things
“The atoms in it must be used over and over again; thus the death of one thing becomes necessary for the birth of another.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things
“Burning fevers flee no swifter from your body if you toss under figured counterpanes and coverlets of crimson than if you must lie in rude homespun.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of things
“This fright, this night of the mind must be dispelled, not by the rays of the sun, nor day’s bright spears, 60 but by the face of nature and her laws.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things
“Epicureanism was a philosophy that brought peace and quiet rather than inspiration and exhilaration; based on a theory of the exclusive validity of sense perception and on an ethical doctrine that pleasure was the criterion of the good, it lent itself not only to a dull and flat dialectic but also to gross misinterpretation. Although,”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things
“It must not be supposed that atoms of every sort can be linked in every variety of combination. If that were so, you would see monsters coming into being everywhere. Hybrid growths of man and beast would arise. Lofty branches would spread here and there from a living body. Limbs of land-beast and sea-beast would often be conjoined. Chimeras breathing flame from hideous jaws would be reared by nature throughout the all-generating earth.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura
“Humanity, at any rate, does have free will, and in a most ingenious way Epicurus derived free will from the doctrine of the swerve of the atom, saying in effect that the power to make a deliberate choice of action was inherent in the atom itself, which demonstrated that power by unaccountably swerving from its “normal” path.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things
“For as in the dead of night children are prey
to hosts of terrors, so we sometimes by day
are fearful of things that should no more concern us
than bogeys that frighten children in the dark.
This fright, this night of the mind must be dispelled
not by the rays of the sun, nor day's bright spears,
but by the face of nature and her laws.”
Titus Lucretius Carus, The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura

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