Shamelessly stolen from Gerard Vanderleun:
“Long before our own time, the customs of our ancestors molded admirable men, and in turn these eminent men upheld the ways and institutions of their forebears. Our age, however, inherited the Republic like some beautiful painting of bygone days, its colors already fading through great age; and not only has our time neglected to freshen the colors of the picture, but we have failed to preserve its form and outlines.
“For what remains to us, nowadays, of the ancient ways on which the commonwealth, we are told, was founded? We see them so lost in oblivion that they are not merely neglected, but quite forgot. And what am I to say of the men? For our customs have perished for want of men to stand by them, and we are now called to an account, so that we stand impeached like men accused of capital crimes, compelled to plead our own cause. Through our vices, rather than from happenstance, we retain the word “republic” long after we have lost the reality. ”
– Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Re Publica
From Victor Davis Hanson, my favorite classicist:
The Roman philosopher and statesman Cicero insisted that gratitude was “the parent of all the other virtues.”
…gratitude is proof of humility and offers perspective. It is an appreciation for others, often now dead, who have helped to make us what we are. Without it, we are narcissists and self-absorbed amnesiacs.
Unfortunately, our modern “me” generation has forgotten gratitude and replaced it with the art of victimization. Contemporary Americans prefer blaming others — parents, ancestors, their country, the world in general — for their own unhappiness while patting themselves on the back for anything that goes well.
So, perhaps Cicero was wrong–humility is the parent of all the other virtues. But seeing a little gratitude would be nice.
Read the whole thing, of course.
Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.
–Marcus Tullius Cicero
Cicero indicts Catiline before the Senate–H. Schmidt
The enemy is within the gates; it is with our own luxury, our own folly, our own criminality that we have to contend.
–Marcus Tullius Cicero
“Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero