Less is More, Latin/Greek
“24. If thou wouldest be tranquil in heart, says the Sage, do not many things. Is not this a better maxim: do but what is needful, and what the reason of a living creature born for a civic life demands, and as it demands. For this brings the tranquillity which comes of doing few things no less than of doing them well. For nine tenths of our words and deeds being unnecessary, if a man retrench there, he will have more abundant leisure and fret the less. Wherefore forget not on every occasion to ask thyself, Is this one of the unnecessary things? But we must retrench not only actions but thoughts which are unnecessary, for then neither will distracting actions follow.”
Excerpt From: Marcus Aurelius. Meditations, Book IV.
“Διός;̓̔Ὀλίγα πρῆσσε, φησίν, εἰ μέλλεις εὐθυμήσειν.᾿ μήποτε ἄμεινον τἀναγκαῖα πράσσειν καὶ ὅσα ὁ τοῦ φύσει πολιτικοῦ ζῴου λόγος αἱρεῖ καὶ ὡς αἱρεῖ; τοῦτο γὰρ οὐ μόνον τὴν ἀπὸ τοῦ καλῶς πράσσειν εὐθυμίαν φέρει, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὴν ἀπὸ τοῦ ὀλίγα πράσσειν. τὰ πλεῖστα γὰρ ὧν λέγομεν καὶ πράσσομεν οὐκ ἀναγκαῖα ὄντα ἐάν τις περιέλῃ, εὐσχολώτερος καὶ ἀταρακτότερος ἔσται. ὅθεν δεῖ καὶ παῤ ἕκαστα ἑαυτὸν ὑπομιμνῄσκειν: μήτι τοῦτο τῶν οὐκ ἀναγκαίων; δεῖ δὲ μὴ μόνον πράξεις τὰς μὴ ἀναγκαίας περιαιρεῖν, ἀλλὰ καὶ φαντασίας: οὕτως γὰρ οὐδὲ πράξεις παρέλκουσαι ἐπακολουθήσουσιν.”
- “If you seek tranquility, do less.” Or (more accurately) do what’s essential — what the logos of a social being requires, and in the requisite way. Which brings a double satisfaction: to do less, better.
Because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, “Is this necessary?”
But we need to elevate unnecessary assumptions as well. To eliminate the unnecessary actions that follows.”