It is late.
I stare at Abraham Lincoln, pensive as he is, covering my computer screen, in a white background and looking, diagonally, into the void. Thinking, I think; something I don’t do very well. Then a moment of mental silence. A hard thing, really. In comes a thought; I am annoyed at first. I am not ready to give up silence. It is something Marcus Aurelius wrote in Meditations.
Τούτων ἀεὶ μεμνῆσθαι, τίς ἡ τῶν ὅλων φύσις
Of this things ever remind yourself, what is the nature of the whole.
Acuerdate de estas cosas, cuals es la naturaleza de lo todo.
That first word… how annoying. There are three things that it can be, actually. I don’t even know if M. Aurelius meant a man, a woman, or a neuter thing. What is the subject here? Is it me? No. M. Aurelius wrote Ad se ipsum for he himself. Ad se would have been enough; yet he chose to re-emphasize the emphasized to make it clear to all. ‘To the very himself.’ Then it is himself he is talking to. A thought of the mind buried in words and made, reflexive, to turn back upon its creator. The reflexive nature of the statement explains the Middle/Passive voice used to convey the verb. It is not Passive, just Middle. ‘Do it for yourself,’ says Emperor M. Aurelius. The genitive plural then made clear; ‘things’ must have been meant; a genitive that gives birth anew to the things in the past of which we must remind ourselves. Moments in time, opportunities lost, ideas evaporated in bits of ecstasy for their fortuitous inception. We gain and we lose.
Hence what we are to remind ourselves of, the very nature (φύσις) of the whole (τῶν ὅλων). The very subject of nature is superseded by its creator, the whole. nominative and genitive play together; with the genitive hidden in the midst of the subject. ἡ τῶν ὅλων φύσις, the articles intertwined at the beginning of the secondary premise, ‘whole’ and ‘nature’ bunched together to explain their thorough unity. I laugh. The phrase reads ‘the the whole nature’ when literally translated. It is only the Greek genitive that gives me the clue of who owns who. Who is subject to whom. What dominates what. There it is. M. Aurelius’ thought and the thing which must be remembered:
Things always look trivial at first, even meaningless. However, in the nature of the whole lies truth. One must only remember the fact.
What one is, what one will be, it is in his or her nature. Who one is dictates or, rather, gives birth to what one does. One does not need to change the actions of an individual to make the best happen, one need only change the nature. However, is nature changeable at all? Well, I believe it is. As natural as something is, we are not born with habits, we create them. In the same way, we are not born with a particular character, we nurture it. Nurture something else, and something else will make an appearance. All you need to do to know what to do, is to consider that all things, everything, is wholly dependent upon the nature that gave it birth. M. Aurelius and his Meditations always makes more sense when nothing else makes sense. Oh well, I never claimed I was good at thinking, after all; not in lucid moments anyway. I smile. Abraham Lincoln, thought-riddled and immobile as he is, would have approved; maybe.
It is late.