Somnium Scipionis & Hubris

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It is nearly impossible to miss or ignore the numinous lesson(s) concerning hubris that is many times expressed in this masterpiece and how such lessons echoes harmoniously with the ‘Numinous Way’ of David Myatt. In this article, my opinion or comments are unnecessary for everything written by Cicero is made Crystal clear for the heart. Here are the quotes that impacted me the most about our folly, our addictions, our illusory dreams of grandeur and how, in the grand scheme of things, such desires are mundane, yet perceived as absolutely righteous…

On Doxa and the creations of men:

“I perceive that even now you gaze upon the habitation and abode of mortals. But, if it appear as small to thee, as indeed it is, thus seen, strive ever after these heavenly things and lightly esteem those of earth. For what glory or renown really worthy of being sought after canst thou derive from the mouths of men.” (Somnium Scipionis, P.17)

On how posterity is a short-lived construct compared to the eternal:

“Wherefore, if thou despairest of a speedy return to this quarter, wherein all things arc prepared for great and excellent men, pray of what value is that human glory which can scarcely endure the smallest part of one cycle? And so, if you would look on high and fix your gaze on this state and your eternal home, thou shalt pay no heed to vulgar talk, neither allow thy actions to be influenced by the hope of human rewards. True virtue for its own sake should lead thee to real glory. Leave to others the care of ascertaining what they may say of you: they will assuredly speak of you beyond all doubt. Human fame is wholly restricted within these narrow limits which though seest, and never at any time has anyone gained immortal renown, for that is impossible through the annihilation of men and the oblivion of posterity.” (Somnium Scipionis, P.20)

On the Numinous and Altruistic duty of Mankind:

Why do I tarry upon Earth? Why do I not hasten to come hither to you?”

“It may not be,” he replied, “for, unless that Deity who is the Lord of this Universe which thou beholdest, shall liberate thee from the prison of your body, hither approaching, it is not possible to come. For men are born under this Law to be faithful guardians of that Globe which thou seest in the midst of this Universe and which is called the Earth: and a Soul has been given to them from those sempiternal fires which you call Stars and Constellations; these being spherical and globular bodies, animated with divine Souls, pursue their circling orbits with marvelous celerity. Wherefore, O Publius, both by thee and all pious persons, the Soul should be retained in the keeping of the body: not without His command, by whom that Soul is given to you, must it depart from mortal life, lest you should appear to be untrue to that duty to Mankind which has been assigned to you by the Deity. But do thou cultivate justice and piety, O Scipio, following in the steps of thy Grandsire and of myself, who begat thee. these qualities, although excellent among parents and relations, become still more noble when practised towards one’s Country.” ((Somnium Scipionis, P.12)

 

On the grandeur of the Earth & The Cosmos and how both Men and Posterity are nothing but small Effluviums, victims of Time:

“How then is it possible that from these known and cultivated countries either thy name or that of any of us can cross those Caucasian Mountains, which thou seest, or pass beyond the Ganges? Who, in the remaining parts of the East, in the uttermost regions of the wandering Sun, either in Northern or Southern Climes, will hear thy name? So then, with these parts taken away, dost thou indeed perceive within what narrow limits your glory seeks to spread itself; and how long even will those who sing your praises continue to do so?

Yea, indeed, if generations hence posterity shall seek to perpetuate the fame of anyone of us handed down from father to son, yet notwithstanding, on account of fire and flood, which will inevitably happen at certain fixed periods of time, we are unable to attain lasting renown, much less eternal glory. Moreover, of what importance are the things which shall be said concerning thee by those to be born hereafter, when no one who existed before will then be alive?” (Somnium Scipionis, P.19)

 

On the Very ‘Heraclitean’ principle of movement and the very ‘Spinozist’ principle of the ‘Monad’ and how such principles relate to the soul. Also, the necessity to exercise the soul properly which is through selfless participation to a given community and its welfare.

“Now, that which is always in motion is eternal, whereas that which only communicates motion, and which itself is put in motion by some other cause, must necessarily cease when the motive impulse is withdrawn. Accordingly that alone which moves spontaneously because it is ever all itself, never indeed ceases to move, and is moreover the source of motion in all things. Now a primary cause is not derived from any other cause; for forth from that do all things proceed, and from no other. at which springs from something else cannot be the primary cause, and if this indeed never had a commencement, neither will it ever have an end. For the primal cause once destroyed could neither be generated afresh from any other thing, nor itself produce anything else: for all things must necessarily proceed from the primal cause.This eternal principle of all Motion arises out of that which is moved by itself and of itself, and cannot therefore be born or perish; or else of necessity the whole heavens must collapse, and all Nature come to a standstill, unable any longer to derive the impulse by which it was set in motion at the first.

Since, accordingly, it is manifest that that is eternal which moves of itself, who will deny this eternal principle to be a natural attribute of Souls. For everything which is moved by an external impulse is inanimate: but that, on the other hand, which energizes from within is truly animated, and this is the peculiar operation of the Soul. If then the Soul is the one thing above all, which is self motive, it certainly is not born, but eternal. Do thou then exercise this Soul of thine in the noblest pursuits: solicitude and care for the welfare of one’s country are the best: for, animated and controlled by these sentiments, the Soul passes more swiflty to this sphere—its true home.”  (Somnium Scipionis, P.22)

-Beldam, 128 yf

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