On the Nature of Things

4 Apr

While reading and preparing for my Roman Civilization classes today, I came across a series of statements that, even devoid of the classroom context, seem to be meaningful. I enjoyed teaching Greek Civ and World Literature last semester, and enjoy teaching Classical Mythology now. But for some reason, Roman Civ is really making me re-conceptualize life and literature. Or maybe it’s just showing me, in crystallized form, what I’d been thinking for a while… which, of course, makes me just feel silly; thousands of years ago, people already had these thoughts, probably in a much more profound way, and expressed them better.

I’ll try posting a few lines here and there of things that just stuck with me, even long after the days of class have passed.

To begin:

“Yet it is not true that everything is packed solid and confined on every side by corporeal substance; for there is a void in things. Knowledge of this fact will stand you in good stead in many connections; it will prevent you from straying in uncertainty, from continually questioning about the universe… There is, then, intangible space, void, and vacuity. Otherwise, movement would be absolutely impossible” (12).

On the Nature of Things, Lucretius

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