Thinking Citizen Blog — The Orion of Cicero — from Gratitude to Justice to Friendship
Thinking Citizen Blog — Saturday is the Justice Freedom, Law, and Values Day
Today’s Topic: The Orion of Cicero — from Gratitude to Justice to Friendship
Merry Christmas! A very special day for me. My favorite day of the year for as long as I can remember. A funny feeling though now that I found out via DNA testing that I am Jewish by blood. And having stopped being a practicing Catholic since age 17 — that is, over half a century ago.
In any event, for this very special day, a very special post. An edit of last week’s post in a spirit of kaizen — of constant improvement. The spirit of the quest for truth must be one of constant editing, of constant revision, of constant honing. I write many posts, the golden needles, the rough diamonds can be lost in the hay. Today, I want to shine a light on Cicero. How to prioritize his sayings? How to decide what is most worth remembering? Which of the countless quotes are most worth teaching to students at the youngest ages? why? Remember the Orion Rule: 1.) No more than seven items, 2.) identify the top three, 3.) decide which is paramount.
Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE CENTRAL THREE — Gratitude (Alnilam), Justice, Friendship
1. “Gratitude is not only the first of the virtues but the parent of all the others.”
2. “Justice is suum, quique”. To each his own. Follow up question: is what you deserve a function of your membership in a group or of your choices? Does anyone ever deserve the fruit of the labor of another? Were Adam and Eve right that it wasn’t fair that God could eat the fruit of that tree but they couldn’t? Was Cain justified in killing Abel because God smiled on Abel more than Cain?
3. “Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief”. Follow up: make new friends every and watch your joy soar and your grief shrink — exponentially!
THE TOP TWO — the welfare of the people, the price of war (let’s call a spade a spade)
4. “Salux populi suprema lex”. The Supreme Law is the welfare of the people. Follow up: the long term welfare of the people is what matters most. The key to the long term welfare of the people is education. The key is education is mastery of the basics of how to live which takes us back to Rule #1. Yes, life is a circular thing. The tao symbol is worth remembering. Education is about taking kids from “I can’t” and “I don’t like” to “Wow! I can!” and “Wow! This is so cool!” in the seven joys of life (music, art, sports, math, science, history, literature. It is also about thinking citizenship — the ability to make a strong case for all three sides in the next election mastering principles, facts, and solutions for each of the seven issues so important they should influence your decision — foreign policy economic policy, climate change, social justice, education, health care, and political process reform. Have you taken the thinking citizenship test yet?
5. “Enim silent leges inter arma”. The law falls silent in times of war. Avoid war at almost all costs. But you sell newspapers by peddling fear and an attitude of war. The fate of truth tellers and truth seekers is no surprise — death, whether by poison (Socrates) or decapitation (Cicero).
THE BOTTOM TWO — ignorance of the past, the six mega mistakes
6. Learning from the past: “To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?”
7. “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.” To me you must ask is having one of the seven items worth remembering have six components kind of cheating? Well, sort of. On the other, a.) reality is fractal, b.) all six are just avatars of ingratitude which takes us back to rule #1, which is really all you need to remember.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER — “There but for the grace of God, go I”
Gratitude is waking up in the morning and shouting “Yes! Another chance to become a better me and thereby make the world a better place.” A better me is one who seeks to turn every foe into a friend by first taking full responsibility for one’s own choices and then giving the other the slack they are due given all that conspires to hide the fact that we are all siblings. A religious formation of this truth would be “There but for the Grace of God, go I.”
Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!
For the last four years of posts organized by theme:
Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to justice, freedom, the law or basic values. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to justice, freedom, the law, or basic values. Or just some random justice-related fact that blew you away.
This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart.