As someone who finds it very easy to get distracted in meaningless controversies, I need to constantly remind myself how Epicurus stressed that the clock is ticking on our mortality. Here are some of the best Epicurean reminders (outside Lucretius, who gave many more) that time is limited. Maybe I should write them on my hand, so the next time I am tempted to be drawn into something not worthwhile, I’ll think twice:
- Vatican Saying 10. Remember that you are mortal and have a limited time to live and have devoted yourself to discussions on Nature for all time and eternity and have seen “things that are now and are to come and have been.”
- Vatican Saying 14. We are born once and cannot be born twice, but for all time must be no more. But you, who are not master of tomorrow, postpone your happiness. Life is wasted in procrastination and each one of us dies without allowing himself leisure.
- Vatican Saying 30. Some men throughout their lives spend their time gathering together the means of life, for they do not see that the draught swallowed by all of us at birth is a draught of death.
Maybe these I just listed will help me remember focus on the task of ridding myself of those diversions that lead me astray:
- Vatican Saying 46. Let us utterly drive from us our bad habits as if they were evil men who have long done us great harm.
So that I can better remember and better implement what might be the greatest Epicurean “commandment”:
- Vatican Saying 41. We must laugh and philosophize at the same time and do our household duties and employ our other faculties, and never cease proclaiming the sayings of the true philosophy.