DIPLO CALENDAR 2016
Count your blessings
by Stefano Baldi & Ed Gelbstein
"Count Your Blessings" is an expression that Eduardo Gelbstein used very often. Ed left us on July 19, 2015. This calendar is dedicated to him and to all his wisdom and common sense which made him a very special man. Thank you Ed!
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With few exceptions, we know little about early human history (2,000,000 BC to about 11,000 BC). What we do know is that a small group of African hominids found a way to migrate and populate the earth. Around 40,000 years ago, cave paintings appeared in Asia and Europe (the animal paintings in Chauvet, France are believed to be 30,000 years old). Are these indications of their powers of observation and communication? – Probably.
We know that around 11,000 BC ago human settlements started to appear supported by the domestication of some animals, agriculture and a growing understanding of the natural world, e.g. the seasons. This model developed to the point where the information available became greater than what could be memorized and led to the invention of writing and numbers about 4,000 BC.
This enabled exchanging information, financial accounts, laws and recording history. We can assume that at that time people were thinking about more than just survival and procreation as various religions and cults emerged.
It was not until about 700 BC that thinking about reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language began to be formalised in what we now call “philosophy”, a word attributed to Pythagoras.
While such thinking could be found in many locations of the ancient world (China, India, etc.), this calendar presents some of the thinking of Greek and Roman philosophers that has passed through the generations and remains as insightful as ever.
We hope that our selection of quotes from the Classical World will help you in your personal and professional life.
Authors of the quotations included in the calendar
Epicurus - Ancient Greek philosopher as well as the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism. For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life.
Epictetus - Greek speaking Stoic philosopher. To Epictetus, all external events are determined by fate, and are thus beyond our control; we should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately.
Socrates - Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy. He is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon
Heraclitus - Greek philosopher famous for his insistence on ever-present change in the universe.
Seneca - Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was a tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero.
Aesop - Ancient Greek fabulist or story teller credited with a number of fables now collectively known as Aesop's Fables.
Pericles - Prominent and influential Greek statesman, orator and general of Athens during the Golden Age. He promoted the arts and literature.
Publilius Syrus - Latin writer of sententiae. He was a Syrian who was brought as a slave to Italy, but by his wit and talent he won the favour of his master, who freed and educated him.
Pliny the Elder - Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian.
Zeuxis - Greek painter who flourished during the 5th century BC.
Plato - Greek philosopher, as well as mathematician. He is considered an essential figure in the development of philosophy, especially the Western tradition.