Friday, November 8, 2013

Wise words

Saw this painting at the Met the other day. It's from around 1540, painted by Guillaume Budé. This man looks so serious and he is. Know what he's writing, in Greek, in his book?

"While it seems to be good to get what one desires, the greatest good is not to desire what one does not need".

Now I can't stop thinking about what the 16th century man ( who looks like the missing link between Putin and Gerard Depardieu) tried not to desire. The lady next door? A new hat? More colorful clothes? The luxury of visible eye lashes and brows? A little bit of frivolity, in any form? His whole composure is that of someone who denies himself for higher reasons.

That quote seems so true and so annoying at the same time. So self-righteous and too good.

I wish he'd be wearing lots of vain items as he was writing this. As it is now, it just seems like he lived the way he learned and look where that got him. Posterity as the poster boy for nothing and nothing in moderation at that.

Then again, the issue of what one needs can be interpreted in many ways.