Breakfast with Boethius (Book 2)

Welcome back! It’s day two of reading Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy while we enjoy a morning coffee. Here’s what stuck with me from Book 2

Yet every sudden change in circumstances seems to overcome a soul almost like a flood.

I suppose you’ve seen something new and strange. You believe that fortune has changed towards you: you are wrong. These have always been her ways and nature. She’s retained her character in her very fickleness towards you. She was just the same when she fawned on you and tricked you with the promises of a counterfeit happiness. You’ve learned of the fickleness of that blind spirit.

It’s not enough, after all, to see what is placed before our eyes; wisdom takes thought for how things will turn out in the end.

We turn our wheel on it’s flying course; we delight in changing the low to the high and the high to the low. Rise up, if you wish, but on this condition: don’t consider yourself injured when you descend, as the rules of my game demand.

The pain of sorrow lies too deep when someone is miserable. As soon as the words stop sounding in the ears, the grief deep in a man’s heart weighs him down.

For of all the adversities of fortune the saddest is this: to have once been happy.

Man’s condition produces anxiety; it never proves wholly satisfactory; it never lasts forever.

You see, there is no situation that is miserable unless you think it so.

So it isn’t the office that brings honor to virtue, but virtue that brings honor to the office.

Can you command someone who’s soul is free? Can you take a man whose mind is whole and firmly fixed with reason and steal away the piece that belongs to him?

How many famous men of your own era have been lost to memory because of forgetfulness and the absence of written records! And what good would these records do, when time has obscured both the men and their chroniclers? Truly you think you produce immortality for yourself, when you take that for your future. But if you should ponder the infinite stretches of eternity, what reason would you have for delighting in the longevity of your name?


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