Our Brother Apollonius

“‘The law,’ said Apollonius, ‘obliges us to die for liberty, and nature ordains that we should die for our parents, our friends, or our children. All men are bound by these duties. But a higher duty is laid upon the sage; he must die for his principles and the truth he holds dearer than life. It is not the law that lays this choice upon him, it is not nature; it is the strength and courage of his own soul. Though fire or sword threaten him, it will not overcome his resolution or force from him the slightest falsehood; but he will guard the secrets of others’ lives and all that has been entrusted to his honour as religiously as the secrets of initiation. And I know more than other men, for I know that of all that I know, I know some things for the good, some for the wise, some for myself, some for the Gods, but naught for tyrants.’”

“Again, I think that a wise man does nothing alone or by himself; no thought of his so secret but that he has himself as witness to it. And whether the famous saying ‘know thyself’ be from Apollo or from some sage who learnt to know himself and proclaimed it as a good for all, I think the wise man who knows himself and has his own spirit in constant comradeship, to fight at his right hand, will neither cringe at what the vulgar fear, nor dare to do what most men do without the slightest shame.”

“In the above we have the true philosopher’s contempt for death, and also the calm knowledge of the initiate, of the comforter and adviser of others to whom the secrets of their lives have been confessed, that no tortures can ever unseal his lips. Here, too, we have the full knowledge of what consciousness is, of the impossibility of hiding the smallest trace of evil in the inner world; and also the dazzling brilliancy of a higher ethic which makes the habitual conduct of the crowd appear surprising-the ‘that which they do——not with shame.’”

~from “Apollonius Of Tyana” by G.R.S. Mead

%d bloggers like this: