Little more than a series of jottings

Little more than a series of jottings

Like all animals we act with reference to the future. But unlike other animals, we are self-conscious; we are aware that ordinary life is an unintelligible sequence of actions. Thus, we alone are also equipped to look to an ordering principle which will give intelligibility in mere sequence. For Aristotle, that principle is virtue.
Honor to those who in the life they lead define and guard a Thermopylae. Never betraying what is right, consistent and just in all they do but showing pity also, and compassion; generous when they’re rich, and when they’re poor, still generous in small ways, still helping as much as they can; always speaking the truth, yet without hating those who lie. And even more honor is due to them when they foresee (as many do foresee) that Ephialtis will turn up in the end, that the Medes will break through after all.

Honor to those who in the life they lead
define and guard a Thermopylae.

Never betraying what is right,
consistent and just in all they do
but showing pity also, and compassion;
generous when they’re rich, and when they’re poor,
still generous in small ways,
still helping as much as they can;
always speaking the truth,
yet without hating those who lie.

And even more honor is due to them
when they foresee (as many do foresee)
that Ephialtis will turn up in the end,
that the Medes will break through after all.

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