Quote of the Day

“A cucumber is bitter.” Throw it away. “There are briars in the road.” Turn aside from them. This is enough. Do not add, “And why were such things made in the world?” –Marcus Aurelius

4 thoughts on “Quote of the Day

  1. So, Gordon, why do you think some cucumbers are bitter and there are sometimes briars in the road (whatever that means)? I think Aurelius’s point is that we shouldn’t whine and complain about life’s problems and obstacles but just deal with them. On the other hand, I suppose these days we could produce genetically modified cucumbers that never taste bitter.


  2. I read that a bit differently, Alan.

    The statement specifically discourages any action beyond simple avoidance of discomfort. It’s hard to know if the emperor thought that to question circumstances was synonymous with lamenting fortune, although that would be a very Roman sort of sentiment.

    When you’ve got an empire to run, it simply won’t do to have dissatisfaction brewing, especially over the state’s failure to adequately address the cucumber and brier situation. You start off with a few bad cucumbers and pretty soon the Praetorian Guard is activating it’s succession plans.

    I think we can deal with obstacles AND seek a better understanding of the universe. The two are not exclusive.


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