The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives

ignes fatui

Engraving of sun dogs and trees

Part of an engraving from 1820.

Making the daily circuit around the house, I listen to books on tape (because trying to read while walking on ground uneven from frost heaves is imprudent) and become annoyed at the lengthy chatter of background material provided. These are generalist books and start from first principles. After the third or fourth circuit, this loses meaning, as when one says a word repeatedly, and the sound becomes divorced from any sort of sense at all – it is no longer language, only noise. In these turns about the house, I find myself wondering if, for the second-century audience, the Encheiridion of Epictetus wasn’t the same sort of pabulum as The Secret, or if the development of corpora of ancient texts followed the same logic as Vine compilations – a haphazard collection of some things acknowledged universally as interesting, with some snippets very much of their moment, and other bits that perhaps were created by friends of the editor (or otherwise tickled the fancy only of the compiler). I cannot tell if this is clever or stupid, interesting or dull; it is the speculation of idleness, as there is not scope for concentration.


ego hoc feci mm–MMXXIV · cc 2000–2024 M.F.C.