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Do What is Right Even Through Hard Times: From the Teachings of Musonius Rufus (vegetarian), Part 2 of 2

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Let us continue with “Fragments” from the book “Musonius Rufus – The Roman Socrates,” which urges us to maintain moral and ethical values despite difficult situations.

“Of the things that exist, God has put some in our control, others not in our control. In our control he has put the noblest and most excellent part by reason of which He is Himself happy, the power of using our impressions. For when this is correctly used, it means serenity, cheerfulness, constancy; it also means justice and law and self-control and virtue as a whole. But all other things He has not put in our control. Therefore, we ought to become of like mind with God and, dividing things in like manner, we ought in every way to lay claim to the things that are in our control, but what is not in our control we ought to entrust to the universe and gladly yield to it whether it asks for our children, our country, our body, or anything whatsoever.”

“Who of us does not marvel at the action of Lycurgus the Lacedaemonian? For when he had been blinded in one eye by one of his fellow-citizens and had received the young man at the hands of the people to punish as he saw fit, he did not choose to do this, but trained him instead and made a good man of him, and afterward escorted him to the public theatre. And when the Lacedaemonians regarded him with amazement, he said: ‘This man I received from you an insolent and violent creature; I return him to you a reasonable man and a good citizen.’”

“But most of all the work of nature is this: to make desire and impulse to act fit closely with perception of that which is seemly and useful.”

“Of such a character the nature of the universe was and is and will be, and it is not possible for things that come into existence to come into existence differently from the way they now do. And in this process of change and transformation, not only human beings and other creatures of Earth have had a part, but also the Divine beings, and even the four elements are changed and transformed upwards and downwards; that is, Earth becomes water and water air, and air is again transformed into ether; and there is the same process of transformation downwards. If a man resolves to focus his thoughts on these things and persuades himself willingly to accept the inevitable, he will lead a life well measured and in harmony with the universe.”
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