Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things)

By Lucretius

When Christianity began taking over the European world, this and similar books were attacked and burned. Based on the philosophy of Epicurus, De Rerum Natura stayed on the Catholic list of prohibited books for over 500 years and yet still managed to survive through the centuries and become an important influence on the modern world. Devoid of faith and belief system, it provided a scientific vision of the world, one composed of atoms moving in spontaneous, random movement. Banned, buried, and forgotten for 1000 years, Poggio Bracciolini discoved this ancient, dust-encrusted manuscript and returning it to circulation influencing a major social and cultural consciousness shift. It provided a philosophic and scientific foundation for the Renaissance and inspired luminaries like da Vinci, Galileo, Francis Bacon, Shakespeare, Montaigne and many more.

Quotes from De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things)

“All religions are equally sublime to the ignorant, useful to the politician, and ridiculous to the philosopher.”

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“Any belief in a God who takes an interest in punishing or rewarding humans can’t rise above a virulent form of superstition.”

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Themes: Religion God Belief

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“Away with your tears, old reprobate! Have done with your grumbling! You are withering now after tasting all the joys of life. But, because you are always pining for what is not and unappreciative of the things at hand, your life has slipped away unfulfilled and unprized... To none is life given in freehold; to all only on lease.”

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“Cause the savage works of war to be lulled to rest vanquished by the never-healing wound of love”

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Themes: Sex War

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“Death is nothing to us and no concern of ours since our tenure of the mind is mortal... We have nothing to fear in death. One who no longer is cannot suffer... pain and sorrow will never touch you again.”

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Themes: Death and Dying

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“Epicurus himself—whose genius outshone the race of men and dimmed them all as the stars are dimmed by the rising of the fiery sun—died. And will you kick and protest against your sentence?”

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Themes: Complaint

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“Fiery fevers quit your body no quicker if you’re clothed in expensive, embroidered clothes than if you’re only wearing a common garment.”

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“Fools admire and love falsely claimed truths that only sweetly stroke the ears.”

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Themes: Truth Deception

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“It must not be supposed that innate vices can be completely eradicated by education; but, the lingering traces of inborn temperament that cannot be eliminated by philosophy are so slight that there is nothing to prevent men from leading a life worthy of the gods.”

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“It's easier to avoid the snares of love than to escape once you are in that net whose cords and knots are strong; but even so, enmeshed, entangled, you can still get out unless, poor fool, you stand in your own way.”

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Themes: Sex

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“Minds of living things and the light fabric of their spirits are neither birthless nor deathless.”

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Themes: Mind

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“No single thing abides, but all things flow
Fragment to fragment clings; the things thus grow”

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Themes: Impermanence

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“Nothing arises in the body in order that we may use it, but what arises brings forth its own use”

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Themes: Egolessness

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“Nothing exists but atoms and the void”

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Themes: Emptiness

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“now here, now there, the vital forces conquer and, in turn, are conquered; with the funeral dirge mingles the wail that babies raise when they reach the shores of light.”

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“Our lives we borrow and men, like runners, pass along the torch of life.”

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Themes: Continuity

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“Piety lies not in praying or prostrating to images, in going to temples, or in rituals, beliefs, and practices. It lies in looking upon all things with equanimity and peace.”

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“Propitious Queen of Love whose vital power, air, earth and sea supplies… by they prolific might, springs and beholds the regions of the light”

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“So long as the object of our craving is unattained, it seems more precious than anything. But once it is ours, we crave for something else.”

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Themes: Desire

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“Some nations increase, others diminish, and in a short space the generations of living creatures change and like runners pass on the torch of life.”

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Themes: Evolution History

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“The philosopher may arrive at more than one explanation for a given phenomenon—in some cases, even at explanations that are mutually exclusive or contradictory.”

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Themes: Paradox

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“This fear, this night of the mind must be dispelled, not by the rays of the sun, but by the face of nature and her laws.”

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“Violence and injury enclose in their net all that do such things, and generally return upon him who began.”

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“Watch a man in times of adversity to discover what kind of man he is; for then at last words of truth are drawn from the depths of his heart, and the mask is torn off.”

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“We are all sprung from the same seed, all have the same father by whom mother earth conceives and supplies for a pleasant life and the continuation of our race”

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“what is created gives rise to it’s own function… Sight does not exist before the birth of the eyes, nor speech before the creation of the tongue.”

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“When human life laid prostrate on the earth crushed down under the weight of religion, Epicurus found the living source of his soul and passed far beyond the flaming walls of convention finding the wonders of mind, the spirit of the immeasurable universe in turn putting under foot and trampling down on religion.”

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Quotes about De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) (4 quotes)

“Full of inspired brilliance, but also of great artistry.”

Cicero 106 – 43 BCE

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“The verses of sublime Lucretius are destined to perish only when a single day will consign the world to destruction.”

Ovid oʊvɪd 43 BCE – 18 CE
(Publius Ovidius Naso)
Great poet and major influence on the Renaissance, Humanism, and world literature

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“The greatest thought that mankind has ever hit upon? Lucretius' idea that all of life is the unending mutation of indestructible substances”

Santayana, George 1863 – 1952 CE
(Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás)
Powerfully influential, true-to-himself philosopher/poet

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“Thomas Jefferson owned 5 Latin versions of De Rerum Natura as well as English, French and Italian translations. He said it was his favorite book and its main ideas infiltrated The Declaration of Independence—most notably that government should serve 'the pursuit of Happiness.' ”

Shan Dao 山道 1933 CE –

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