Thanksgiving

  • As Cassius pointed out on the announcements, Thanksgiving is this week in the US. I feel this is the most Epicurean of holidays with its emphasis on expressing gratitude. In celebration, I share two Vatican Sayings that emphasize this point. Have a safe and joyful holiday to our US friends and for those not in the US, don't forget to take a moment to remember and to take pleasure in the good things you've experienced.


    VS 17. It is not the young man who is most happy, but the old man who has lived beautifully; for despite being at his very peak the young man stumbles around as if he were of many minds, whereas the old man has settled into old age as if in a harbor, secure in his gratitude for the good things he was once unsure of. οὐ νέος μακαριστὸς ἀλλὰ γέρων βεβιωκὼς καλῶς· ὁ γὰρ νέος ἀκμῇ πολὺς ὑπὸ τῆς τύχης ἑτεροφρονῶν πλάζεται· ὁ δὲ γέρων καθάπερ ἐν λιμένι τῷ γήρᾳ καθώρμικεν, τὰ πρότερον δυσελπιστούμενα τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἀσφαλεῖ κατακλείσας χάριτι.


    VS 19. He who forgets the good things he had yesterday becomes an old man today. τοῦ γεγονότος ἀμνήμων ἀγαθοῦ γέρων τήμερον γεγένηται.

  • Plutarch, Against Colotes, 17, p. 1117A: But what epithet do they deserve – with your “roars” of ecstasy and “cries of thanksgiving” and tumultuous “bursts of applause” and “reverential demonstrations,” and the whole apparatus of adoration that you people resort to in supplicating and hymning the man who summons you to sustained and frequent pleasures?


    U183 Plutarch, That Epicurus actually makes a pleasant life impossible, 15, p. 1097C: One cannot ignore the man’s absurd inconsistency: he treads under foot and belittles the actions of Themistocles and Miltiades and yet writes this to his friends about himself: “The way in which you have provided for me in the matter of sending the grain was godlike and magnificent, and you have given tokens of your regard form me that reach to high heaven.” So if someone had taken that corn ration of his bread-stuff from our philosopher’s letter, the expressions of gratitude would have conveyed the impression that it was written in thanksgiving for the freedom or deliverance of the whole Greek nation or of the Athenian state.