Tag Archive | death

“Chiron” is done for now.

My big paintings are taking all my time from the works on paper right now. I will share those here so you don’t forget about me.

Chiron lectures on war and sustainability oil on canvas 40 x 30″

If you click on the image through to a bigger image size, you will make me happy, because this painting is too big to show well at the blog display size.

Chiron lectures on war and sustainability

I was thinking about Epicurus again, this part of his extant teachings. I did a painting based directly on this passage last year, but Chiron above is definitely about this somehow for me. That means nothing for what you the viewer will make of it, and that’s completely ok.

Death is no concern to us. All things good and bad are experienced through sensation, but sensation ceases at death. So death is nothing to us, and to know this makes a mortal life happy. Life is not improved by adding infinite time; removing the desire for immortality is what’s required. There is no reason why one who is convinced that there is nothing to fear at death should fear anything about it during life. And whoever says that he dreads death not because it’s painful to experience, but only because it’s painful to contemplate, is foolish. It is pointless to agonize over something that brings no trouble when it arrives. So death, the most dreaded of evils, is nothing to us, because when we exist, death is not present, and when death is present, we do not exist. It neither concerns the living nor the dead, since death does not exist for the living, and the dead no longer exist. 

Most people, however, either dread death as the greatest of suffering or long for it as a relief from suffering. One who is wise neither renounces life nor fears not living. Life does not offend him, nor does he suppose that not living is any kind of suffering. For just as he would not choose the greatest amount of food over what is most delicious, so too he does not seek the longest possible life, but rather the happiest. And he who advises the young man to live well and the old man to die well is also foolish – not only because it’s desirable to live, but because the art of living well and the art of dying well are the same. And he was still more wrong who said it would be better to have never been born, but that “Once born, be quick to pass through the gates of Hades!” {Theognis, 425 – 427} If he was being serious, why wasn’t he himself quick to end his life? Certainly the means were available if this was what he really wanted to do. But if he was not serious, then we have even less reason to believe him.

Future days are neither wholly ours, nor wholly not ours. We must neither depend on them as sure to come nor despair that we won’t live to see them.

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