Cicero, the embodiment of “humanitas”

Some great quotes to live by…..

… so, I’m in a philosophical frame of mind these days and for the rest of 2016, my posts will highlight famous philosophical quotes and the philosophers who said them. This month (October), the focus will be on some of the greatest ancient Roman philosophers whose influence and thinking have transcended the passage of time.



Here are some famous quotes by Cicero. (note how well they apply to our social and political condition today):

“Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.”

For all you book lovers:

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

Some tongue-in-cheek humor aimed at all you book writers out there (like me):

“Times are bad.  Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.”

And always remember:

“Where there’s life, there’s hope.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC to 43 BC) – a Roman politician, lawyer, and orator who was born into a wealthy Roman equestrian family. He represented one of the few in a new generation of men in Rome – to be the first man in his family to become a senator, and gain the highest office of consul. Cicero was best known for preventing the Catiline Conspiracy, as well as his philosophical works and devotion to the Republic. Although he was invited to join the powerful political union formed by Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey, Cicero refused and instead became an opponent of Caesar. Years later, he met his death at the hands of a soldier named Herennius, who had been ordered by Mark Anthony to kill him during the proscriptions of the Second Triumvirate.

One of the greatest Roman orators and prose stylists of his time. Cicero was also a philosopher, politician, lawyer, political theorist and a constitutionalist. He was also famous for introducing neologisms such as: evidentia, humanitas, qualitas, quantitas, and essentia.


The “Human” in Humanity


As many Christians around the world celebrate Palm Sunday to remember the much heralded entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on the Sunday before Easter, thus begins the first day of the Holy Week. The throngs of people hailed him “King” as he humbly rode his donkey over the palm leaves that had been scattered in his path – a symbol of respect reserved for kings and dignitaries.  Yet Jesus, a humble man, would likely be the first to protest all the attention and adoration since he proclaimed to be a servant of God, his Father.  He was, after all, but a man – a human who lived and served humanity – under God.

Indeed, one of the first humanitarians of record.

So, for me, I view this holiest of weeks as a celebration of a humanitarian, albeit a Divine one. It’s not just about the man, but the message: renewal, forgiveness, compassion, redemption, and service.

Lest we forget:

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” Muhammad Ali

Be who you are. Say what you mean. Act on your beliefs.

“One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it.” 

− Clarissa Pinkola Estés

8-24-2013 12-31-34 AM

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