You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Epistles’ tag.

From daily reading, my translation:

None of us has investigated what truth is, but each has delivered fear to another; no one has dared to come near to that by which disturbance arises and to know the nature and the good of his own fear. And so something false and empty is trusted still because it is not refuted. [6] We should consider it worthwhile to look carefully: then it will be apparent how brief, how fluid, how safe are the things that we fear. The confusion of our souls is such as it seemed to Lucretius:

for just as children are alarmed and fear everything | in the obscure shadows, so we fear everything in the light.

What of it? Are not we who fear everything in the light more foolish than every child? [7] But it is wrong, Lucretius, we do not fear everything in the light: we make everything into shadows. We see nothing, neither what harms nor what helps; for our entire life we rush forward nor we do either stop or step more considerately on account of this. You see how mad a thing it is to rush on in the dark. But, by Hercules, we press on to be recalled from a greater distance, and although we do not know where we are being carried, still we continue quickly in the direction to which we are tending. [8] But if we wish, day can break. In one way, however, can this happen: if someone acquires this knowledge of the human and the divine, if he doesn’t sprinkle it on himself, but imbues and dyes himself with it, if he reviews the same things, although he knows them, and often reproduces them to himself, if he investigates what things are good, what things are bad, to what things this name has been wrongly attributed, if he investigates what is honorable and what is shameful, and providence.

Read every ‘we,’ ‘us’ and similar as ‘the mind in the altered state investigating control systems in light of possibilism and eternalism’. My following commentary is a running gloss on the above:

The mind still attached to possibilism cannot know the truth, still has fear. The possibilism mind recoils from approaching the source of control instability and recoils from learning about the fear of loss of control and the good of switching to eternalism. Because the mind recoils, it does not refute but still trusts possibilism, although it is false and empty (alternate translation for ’empty’: illusory; empty like a void). If the mind looks [vision] closely at the fearful control instability, it becomes how obvious how quick and safe it is. But in the amplified light of the altered state that the mind turns on its control system the possibilism mind is confused and afraid, worse than children alarmed at shadows. The mind still attached to possibilism avoids the light, makes everything into shadows, rushes on through life in the dark, without seeing the fixed path that it travels. Light can come by getting knowledge of the human [possibilism doomed to die changing] and the divine [eternal immortal unchanging eternalism]. The mind must not just sprinkle, but immerse itself in that knowledge [loose cog liquid metaphor]. The mind must remind itself again and again. The mind must learn the true meaning of morality and words like ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘honor’ and ‘shame’. Finally, it must learn providence [i.e. eternalism, pictured here as perfect fixed future foresight].

Original Latin:

Nemo nostrum quid veri esset excussit, sed metum alter alteri tradidit; nemo ausus est ad id quo perturbabatur accedere et naturam ac bonum timoris sui nosse. Itaque res falsa et inanis habet adhuc fidem quia non coarguitur. [6] Tanti putemus oculos intendere: iam apparebit quam brevia, quam incerta, quam tuta timeantur. Talis est animorum nostrorum confusio qualis Lucretio visa est:

nam veluti pueri trepidant atque omnia caecis
in tenebris metuunt, ita nos in luce timemus.

Quid ergo? non omni puero stultiores sumus qui in luce timemus? [7] Sed falsum est, Lucreti, non timemus in luce: omnia nobis fecimus tenebras. Nihil videmus, nec quid noceat nec quid expediat; tota vita incursitamus nec ob hoc resistimus aut circumspectius pedem ponimus. Vides autem quam sit furiosa res in tenebris impetus. At mehercules id agimus ut longius revocandi simus, et cum ignoremus quo feramur, velociter tamen illo quo intendimus perseveramus. [8] Sed lucescere, si velimus, potest. Uno autem modo potest, si quis hanc humanorum divinorumque notitiam acceperit, si illa se non perfuderit sed infecerit, si eadem, quamvis sciat, retractaverit et ad se saepe rettulerit, si quaesierit quae sint bona, quae mala, quibus hoc falso sit nomen adscriptum, si quaesierit de honestis et turpibus, de providentia.


Seneca, Epistle 71.27:

Non educo sapientem ex hominum numero nec dolores ab illo sicut ab aliqua rupe nullum sensum admittente summoveo. Memini ex duabus illum partibus esse compositum: altera est inrationalis, haec mordetur, uritur, dolet; altera rationalis, haec inconcussas opiniones habet, intrepida est et indomita. In hac positum est summum illud hominis bonum. Antequam impleatur, incerta mentis volutatio est; cum vero perfectum est, inmota illi stabilitas est.

My translation:

I don’t remove the wiseman from the number of men nor do I take away pains from him as if from some rock that lets in no sensation. I keep in mind that he is composed of two parts: the one is irrational – this is bitten, burned, feels pain; the other is rational – this possesses opinions unshaken, it is unafraid and unconquered. In this is placed that highest good of humans. Before it is filled, the mind has an unfixed rolling about; but when it is complete, it has an unmoved stability.


The mind that exclusively uses the irrational unstable egoic control system suffers pain in the altered state, it is shaken, it is afraid, it is conquered. The mind that uses the deterministic control system, the perfected, filled mind, is unshaken, unafraid, unconquered, it possesses an unmoved stability.

This passage is part of a larger argument that while the wiseman suffers harm, he is not disturbed.

The irrational part is the egoic system of control. The rational part is the deterministic/transcendent system of control. The mind first uses the egoic system of control exclusively. This is characterized by irrationality and instability, the unfixed rolling about of my translation (Seneca’s incerta … volutatio). Seneca describes the egoic system of control as if it were the body – the body feels pain. Seneca allows the wiseman to feel pain in the body, i.e. the egoic control system understood. He denies that the wiseman is disturbed by that pain in the mind, i.e. the deterministic control system.

When reading ancient philosophy, understand [body = egoic control system] and [mind = deterministic/transcendent control system].


Metaphorical Psychedelic Eternalism
July 2018
« Aug    


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow cyberdisciple on