“Nature like a good householder throws away nothing of which anything useful can be made.” Aristotle, On the Generation of Animals
It is delightful to think that nature already does what I am supposed to be doing: be a good householder. What a gift it is to me that my calling, my challenge is to imitate and participate in a marvelous order already being enacted all around me.
What might appear as profligacy in nature—perhaps the countless dandelion seeds, or the showers of acorns—is in reality a well-measured abundance. Even generosity. Humans might waste seeds. Nature does not.
Everything in nature has its place. But we humans sometimes shape for ourselves things that really don’t belong. Then, we need to throw some things away.
There are many real needs to be fulfilled: our own, and others’. There is no call for extravagance, and no place for waste. But well-ordered generosity can be the measure in our homes, in our lives. As it is in nature.
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), student of Plato, tutor of Alexander the Great, has been considered by many to be the greatest ancient philosopher.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:
“And a virtuous man wishes to live with himself; for he does so with pleasure, since the memories of his past acts are delightful and his hopes for the future are good, and therefore pleasant. His mind is well stored too with subjects of contemplation.” Aristotle,...read more
Phalinus, messenger from Persian King Artaxerxes, demands that the Persians (who had fought with Cyrus, now dead, against Artaxerxes) put down their arms. Xenophon responds: “Phalinus, at this moment, as you see for yourself, we have no other possessions save arms and...read more
Socrates insisted on the centrality of examining our lives. The purpose of such examination is clear: we will come closer to being the persons we can be if we accept the challenge of our human identity, of being rational. This is our privilege: to use our reason to...read more
Husband, father, and professor of Philosophy. Bacon from Acorns springs from one conviction: there is an ancient wisdom about how to live the good life in our homes, with our families; and it is worth our time to hearken to it. Let’s rediscover it together. Learn more.