“On the Futility of Anger” [The Rambling Prose of Paul Burgess–entry 7]
I. There are two ways to deal with the past: We can learn from painful, destructive errors that changes in mind and action need to become a priority if we want a brighter future; or we can decide that the dark past—despite being irretrievably gone—should become the dark present, which in its turn becomes the dark future.
II. Punishing someone might make the punisher think that “justice’ is being served, but revenge is not true justice, and attempting to heal one’s emotional wounds by making others suffer is as ineffective a remedy as stabbing someone else to heal one’s own stab wounds.
III. If a house burns, we should seek the cause of the accident and rebuild the house more securely rather than kick and curse its ashes. Kicking the ashes seems superficially to be futile, yet harmless, but—viewed rationally—such an act clearly harms its agents by throwing dust in their eyes, soiling their clothing, and maybe even burning their bodies.
To guarantee* a long and happy life,
Avoid the wrath of Jove’s* vindictive wife.
*While not exactly guaranteed, long lives were more likely to be enjoyed by those who did not provoke the wrath of Hera. *For whatever reason, Jove/Jupiter is best known by his Greek name “Zeus”.
[These epigrams might eventually add up to a survival guide for those trapped in the world of classical mythology].
P.S. While not the original source for most of these myths, Ovid’s Metamorphoses–my favorite work of poetry–is a fantastic read for those interested in the classics. I especially like Horace Gregory’s translation.