Learn nature’s will from the ways in which we’re alike. An example: Your neighbor’s car gets hit in a parking lot, and you’re quick to say “Things like that happen.” When it’s your own car’s fender that gets crumpled, you should be as quick to say the same thing.
Ditto bigger things. Someone else’s spouse or parent or child dies, and we say it’s ordinary human mortality. When one’s own spouse or parent or child dies, one says “Oh, no! I can’t stand it!” But we should remember how we react to the news of someone else’s similar misfortune.
What the will of nature is may be learned from a consideration of the points in which we do not differ from one another. For example, when some other person’s slave-boy breaks his drinking-cup, you are instantly ready to say, “That’s one of the things which happen.” Rest assured, then, that when your own drinking-cup gets broken, you ought to behave in the same way that you do when the other man’s cup is broken. Apply now the same principle to the matters of greater importance. Some other person’s child or wife has died; no one but would say, “Such is the fate of man.” Yet when a man’s own child dies, immediately the cry is, “Alas! Woe is me!” But we ought to remember how we feel when we hear of the same misfortune befalling others.
It is in our power to discover the will of Nature from those matters on which we have no difference of opinion. For instance, when another man’s slave has broken the wine-cup we are very ready to say at once, ‘Such things must happen’. Know then that when your own cup is broken, you ought to behave in the same way as when your neighbour’s was broken. Apply the same principle to higher matters. Is another’s child or wife dead? Not one of us but would say, ‘Such is the lot of man’; but when one’s own dies, straightway one cries, ‘Alas! miserable am I’. But we ought to remember what our feelings are when we hear it of another.
We may learn the wish (will) of nature from the things in which we do not differ from one another; for instance, when your neighbor’s slave has broken his cup, or anything else, we are ready to say forthwith, that it is one of the things which happen. You must know, then, that when your cup also is broken, you ought to think as you did when your neighbor’s cup was broken. Transfer this reflection to greater things also. Is another man’s child or wife dead? There is no one who would not say, this is an event incident to man. But when a man’s own child or wife is dead, forthwith he calls out, Woe to me, how wretched I am. But we ought to remember how we feel when we hear that it has happened to others.
The will of Nature is to be learned from matters in which we ourselves are not concerned. For instance, when a boy breaks a cup, if it be another man’s, you are ready enough to say, Accidents will happen. Know then, that when your own is broken it behoves you to be as though it were another man’s. And apply this method even to greater things. When a neighbor’s wife or child dies, who is there that will not say, It is the lot of humanity. But when your own wife or child is dead, then it is straightway, Alas! wretched that I am! But you ought to remember how you felt when you heard of another in the same plight.
The will of Nature may be learned from things upon which we are all agreed. As, when our neighbor’s boy has broken a cup, or the like, we are ready at once to say, ” These are casualties that will happen;” be assured, then, that when your own cup is likewise broken, you ought to be affected just as when another’s cup was broken. Now apply this to greater things. Is the child or wife of another dead? There is no one who would not say, ” This is an accident of mortality.” But if any one’s own child happens to die, it is immediately, “Alas ! how wretched am I! ” It should be always remembered how we are affected on hearing the same thing concerning others.
The will of nature may be learned from those things in which we don’t distinguish from each other. For example, when our neighbor’s boy breaks a cup, or the like, we are presently ready to say, “These things will happen.” Be assured, then, that when your own cup likewise is broken, you ought to be affected just as when another’s cup was broken. Apply this in like manner to greater things. Is the child or wife of another dead? There is no one who would not say, “This is a human accident.” but if anyone’s own child happens to die, it is presently, “Alas I how wretched am I!” But it should be remembered how we are affected in hearing the same thing concerning others.
Τὸ βούλημα τῆς φύσεως καταμαθεῖν ἔστιν ἐξ ὧν οὐ διαφερόμεθα πρὸς ἀλλήλους. οἷον, ὅταν ἄλλου παιδάριον κατεάξῃ τὸ ποτήριον, πρόχειρον εὐθὺς λέγειν ὅτι «τῶν γινομένων ἐστίν». ἴσθι οὖν, ὅτι, ὅταν καὶ τὸ σὸν κατεαγῇ, τοιοῦτον εἶναί σε δεῖ, ὁποῖον ὅτε καὶ τὸ τοῦ ἄλλου κατεάγη. οὕτω μετατίθει καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ μείζονα. τέκνον ἄλλου τέθνηκεν ἢ γυνή; οὐδείς ἐστιν ὃς οὐκ ἂν εἴποι ὅτι «ἀνθρώπινον»: ἀλλ’ ὅταν τὸ αὐτοῦ τινος ἀποθάνῃ, εὐθὺς «οἴμοι, τάλας ἐγώ». ἐχρῆν δὲ μεμνῆσθαι, τί πάσχομεν περὶ ἄλλων αὐτὸ ἀκούσαντες.