On acceptance of reality – Pindar

In this article we present and analyze an excerpt from Pindar, the lyrical poet.


Pythionikos ΙΙΙ, Verses 81-84

In ancient Greek: «έν παρ’ εσλόν πήματα σύνδυο δαίονται βροτοίς αθάνατοι. Τά μέν ών ου δύνανται νήπιοι κόσμω φέρειν, αλλ’ αγαθοί, τά καλά τρέψαντες έξω»

In English: «for each good, two sufferings are alotted to the mortals by the immortals. This cannot be tolerated with decency by the unwise, but it can be tolerated by the good/virtuous/honest who direct the good outwards»

NovoScriptorium: Pindar claims that the sufferings in Man’s life will be more than the good things that will happen to him. Additionally, the bad times will be twice the amount of good times. Whether this analogy is exact or not, it is a fact that the exchange between good and bad events is continuous in a Man’s life. It is also a fact that the good events appear indeed less in number than the bad events. Hence, whether we like it or not, this constitutes a reality. Pindar declares that this reality is determined from above, from the Divine – ‘the immortals’. He calls ‘νηπίους’ (unwise) all those who do not accept this reality. While he calls ‘αγαθούς’ (good/virtuous/honest) all those who accept it, and, on top of that, their whole effort is always to do good, to ‘direct the good -from inside- outwards’. They direct the inner goodness towards their environment, towards other people, they do their best with whatever they have.

The motives for this attitude, the non-acceptance of reality, can be categorized as follows:

a) I do not accept reality because I’m just a (biological) fool, my mind and my logic are not enough to understand anything

b) I do not accept reality because I believe I have the power to change it; I believe I can  make myself  stand out from the general rule

c) I do not accept reality because I have not been trained to think logically nor does my life have a lasting reference to God

The first case is not worthwhile to comment on. But the second has many and interesting extensions. Motivation is selfishness, fear of pain and effort, sensuality, and all of the alike. The main motivation is the strong will, which opposes to the reality that Man experiences as a being for thousands of years. In other words, I willingly choose to move against the nature of things. We can extend it even further, without mistaking, that I choose willingly to move against the Divine Will – since from there comes the definition of this reality. This constitutes hubris, but also insanity, as the ancient Greek Philosophers often put it. And we have seen this both in our daily lives and when studying the recorded Human History, that this attitude only generates havoc, through adventure, excesses, injustices, grabs, murders, disasters. Instead of accepting our common Human destiny and put a constant effort to do just good for the benefit of ourselves and of the whole, most people insist on walking the path of evilness and insanity.

As for the third case, if a person has not been taught to think logically, he can hardly come up with similar choices and practices. Therefore, it is deeply a matter of proper education. Also, when a person is taught to be pious/godly, with all that this idea included for the ancient philosophers, he does not choose to commit evil, but he will always try for good. In our era, as we have repeatedly analyzed, not only piety is not cultivated from an early age, but not even Logic. Instead, people become addicted to all sorts of absurdities and unnatural (‘παρά φύσει’) activities, disregarding – if they do not fight Him furthermore- God and the Divine Things. The ending of all this ongoing illness each one of us can assume. According to Pindar and the other ancient Philosophers, we are awaiting havoc, disaster and a great deal of pain.

Isidoros Aggelos


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