Hadrian 2…

Below, another small excerpt from Yourcenar’s  Memoirs of Hadrian. It speaks to the necessities of combining self-examination, observation of the world around us, seeking the thoughts and ideas of others through their writings, and the other arts. Sounds like a well rounded approach to understanding one’s self.

“Like everyone else I have at my disposal only three
means of evaluating human existence: the study of self,
which is the most difficult and most dangerous method, but
also the most fruitful; the observation of our fellowmen,
who usually arrange to hide their secrets from us, or to
make us believe they have secrets where none exist;
and books, with the particular errors of perspective to
which they inevitably give rise. I have read nearly every-
thing that our historians and poets have written, and even
our story-tellers, although the latter are considered frivolous;
and to such reading I owe perhaps more instruction
than I have gathered in the somewhat varied situations of
my own life. The written word has taught me to listen to
the human voice, much as the great unchanging statues
have taught me to appreciate bodily motions. On the other
hand, but more slowly, life has thrown light for me on the
meaning of books.”

 

Through the woods across the mountains and

Endless Sea, is the context of the path. The 

Way is followed by stepping over fallen trees,

Leaning into the ascent of mountains, not

Overcoming obstacles, as the work that needs

Doing, and being the path that leads to the Sea,

Whereon we encounter new mountains and

Rivers that may seem familiar though now the

Path is less frightful and cluttered, go carefully.

Becoming aware; and see that straight line 

Followed is in fact an upward

Spiraling. At last, looking up from the path,

No longer bewildered, at ease, true home is

Everywhere. Here. Now. Soon. Then. Was.

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