(The picture just above is of a doorway pillar on the early first Duomo in Verona, Italy, not too many miles from the Sirmio establishment of Catullus’ family on Lake Garda.)
To speak of the actuality of “nothing”, as in the phrase “a universe from nothing”, is, alas, a Category Mistake. (I should mention that the link example here of a “University” is a UK Oxbridge type of school, where many scattered colleges comprise the university. They are not centralized.)
A related thought is that those who set out “must do”s and “must don’t”s (beyond a few very obvious ones), or who dictate about this or that unobvious detail which you must conform to, are — after examining their different source materials — everywhere spinning something complicated out of what amounts to almost complete human ignorance.
“We must wholeheartedly believe in free will. If free will is a reality, we shall have made the correct choice. If it is not, we shall still have not made an incorrect choice, because we shall not have made any choice at all, not having a free will to do so.”
E. N. Lorenz (MIT). The Essence of Chaos (Univ. of Washington Press, 1993), p 160. In AAAS Science 23 May 2008: Vol 320, no 5879, p 1025.
Please don’t think that the quote from Lorenz excuses what we call psychopaths.
It does not !
Responsibility stands alongside freedom. To make a choice means that you have chosen to address its results as well, as far as you can foresee them. When you revise a choice, this is just as true.
During the Fall 2016 meeting of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States, on October 21st in New Brunswick, NJ, I delivered a quarter-hour paper (followed by Q&A) on the relationship between the Latin poem known as Catullus 63 and ancient posh (and pleb) Roman political life in the time of Cicero and pre-Rubicon Julius Caesar. As with the CAMWS meeting mentioned just below, the entire program went very well. Old friends were there, and new ones were made.
During April 2-5, 2014, I delivered a short paper on the Latin poet Catullus at the 110th annual convention of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South USA (CAMWS) at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. I salute every one of the participants I met and heard at the convention. The entire program went very well.
A thought :
On the Internet, if it’s “free” — you aren’t the customer : you are the product.
To contact me, I offer the e-mail address : firstname.lastname@example.org . (I receive large amounts of Internet spam, and any serious inquiries from you that are made as blog replies will be, alas, automatically deleted. All “blog” replies will be ignored.) Even so, I invite interested visitors to return to the site from time to time if you like.…………………..
Ὧ I have two translations of epigrams from Archaic and Hellenistic Greek by “Phocylides” that have appeared in the Winter 2012 issue on p 51 of the Classical Outlook (published by the American Classical League). Phocylides was born about 550 BC in the Archaic period, but Phocylides can’t have written at least one of these epigrams since it uses the phrase καὶ τόδε (“and this is by …”) that dates it from later than his lifetime. The καὶ τόδε piece is in the elegiac couplet meter, and the other epigram is two dactylic hexameters, but I attempt elegiac couplets in both translations. The actual Phocylides likely had several imitators. The καὶ τόδε couplet is witty and states in so many words that it is by Phocylides, so it is too bad that it must be a forgery. Exactly the same language occurs in other preachy imitations of Phocylides, but the translated example is ironic and pokes fun at the rest while teasing a particular individual. There is no way to tell if the hexameter epigram is genuine. (Here is a great book, by the way: The Yogi Book: I Really Didn’t Say Everything I Said.)
Ὧ I also have a nontechnical hard-copy essay on pp 40-47 of the August/September 2012 issue of a British literary publication, The London Magazine. It is on the history of the only surviving manuscript of Catullus, a Latin poet who was acquainted with Julius Caesar and wrote before any of the several occasions when Caesar was appointed as Dictator. In the United Kingdom and wherever The London Magazine is sold, you should have ‘looked in your news agent’ starting August 2, 2012. Outside the Euro-Zone, it will cost you a very well-spent £ 13.95. They do take credit cards..