Are you travelling or merely drifting ?
On Travel as a Cure for Discontent
Do you suppose that you alone have had this experience?, Are you surprised, that after such long travel & so many changes of scene you have not been able to shake off the gloom & heaviness of your mind?
You need a change of soul rather than a change of climate; Though you may cross vast spaces of sea, & though lands & cities are left astern, your faults will follow you whithersoever you travel.
Socrates made the same remark to one who complained; he said:
The reason which set you wandering is ever at your heels, What pleasure is there in seeing new lands?, Or in surveying cities & spots of interest?, All your bustle is useless.
Do you ask why such flight does not help you?, It is because you flee along with yourself; You must lay aside the burdens of the mind; until you do this, no place will satisfy you.
You wander hither & yon, to rid yourself of the burden that rests upon yyou, just as in a ship the cargo when stationary makes no trouble, but when it shifts to this side or that, it causes the vessel to heel more quickly in the direction where it has settled.
Anything you do tells against yyou, & you hurt yourself by your very unrest; for you are shaking up a sick person.
That trouble once removed, all change of scene will become pleasant; though you may be driven to the uttermost ends of the earth, in whatever corner of a savage land you may find yourself, that place however forbidding, will be to you a hospitable abode.
If you saw this fact clearly, you would not be surprised at getting no benefit from the fresh scenes to which you roam each time through weariness of the old scenes; For the first would have pleased you in each case, had you believed it wholly yours.
I disagree with those who strike out into the midst of the billows & welcoming a stormy existence, wrestle daily in hardihood of soul with life’s problems.
The wise person will endure all that, but will not choose it; One will prefer to be at peace rather than at war; It helps little to have cast out your own faults if you must quarrel with those of others.
Some boast of their faults; Do you think that the person has any thought of mending their ways who counts over their vices as if they were virtues?
Therefore as far as possible, prove yourself guilty, hunt up charges against yourself; play the part first of accuser then of judge, last of intercessor; At times be harsh with yourself.
For One who does not know that one has sinned does not desire correction; you must discover yourself in the wrong before you can reform yourself.
Farewell, Seneca, StoicTaoist.