In Living to our Fullest Potential we wrote about Dario Bernazza‘s list of the 30 major issues we must necessarily solve in the best possible way in order to diminish life sufferings and live a fruitful life. After no. 1 in his list (Defining a purpose in life) we will here consider no. 2 and no. 3, namely:
2. Keeping ourselves in good health
3. Serenity of soul
According to Bernazza (I am summarizing freely) health is more precious than wealth or power. It is a prerequisite for a fruitful and happy life. “It is the condition without which the edifice of happiness cannot be built or, if it is already in place, its falling apart cannot be avoided”. Better to be an unknown man who is in good health, than being a successful man who is sick. Good health is a way of delaying old age and fighting back death.
We should abstain ourselves from intemperance and dissolute living, because the pleasure of wellbeing is by far greater than that of revels of any kind that will later make us sick and will endanger our health. Bernazza condones a few exceptions – as, it is my thought, our civilization always did: from Roman Saturnalia to modern Carnivals.
So here we can quote, since Bernazza doesn’t, the Roman poet Horace who teaches to “mingle a little folly with your wisdom: a little nonsense now and then is pleasant.”
Misce stultitiam consiliis brevem:
Dulce est desipere in loco.
(Horace: 4 Odes, xii. 28.)
(Don’t know who translated Horace’s verses into English. Now and then makes good rhythm and is fine to me as a concept, but a better translation of in loco should be “at a proper time”.)
As a conclusion, a minimum advice from Bernazza on how to keep our good health: a walk at a good pace of 2-3 km every day in a park or green area.
Serenity of soul
Attaining serenity of soul is an effective weapon against life liabilities, namely all the sufferings that life inflicts upon us without mercy. But how can we attain it?
We first have to better understand life sufferings.
Physical sufferings can be diminished by taking care of our health, as we said before – argues Country Philosopher (this is how we like to call Dario Bernazza.)
As for psychical sufferings, some originate from the consequences of our bad choices, others from events we do not have control over, like the death of someone we love or people’s wicked actions.
As regards both types of suffering, to learn how to control nervous over excitability can be of great benefit, argues CP, and especially over excitability negative side, which is anger (the positive side of overexcitability being joy.) The less we get angry – and generally overemotional, in a negative sense -, the less we suffer. The more we get angry – and overemotional -, the more we suffer.
Well, is it possible to always avoid anger and nervous overexcitement?
Only the strictest stoics and the strictest oriental religious gurus deem it possible – argues CP. But that would mean to have the psyche of a corpse, which is not possible, unless we really are a corpse. What we can do is limiting our nervous overexcitement to such an extent that real negative overexcitement is not possible any more. “This means reaching a status of psychic calmness more or less unalterable, thence a substantial serenity of soul.”
It is an immense, invaluable benefit, it is clear – argues CP – because in this way we can highly diminish psychic sufferings which are the sufferings that mostly plague our life.
But how can we possibly attain this?
Exercise creates a habit
“Socrates – argues Bernazza – teaches us how: through exercise, since exercise creates a habit, any habit. And how long must this exercise last? Until the day we really get into the habit of not getting angry and overemotional any more. It is a long exercise and not an easy one and it cannot but last a few years.”
But, even if we fail and get now and then overemotional let us remember to never give up, this being highly important, since perseverance will certainly allow us to attain our positive result – there is no doubt about it, there is really no doubt (I told you CP keeps repeating this phrase.)
Note. As regards anger, Bernazza follows the tradition of the Greek and Roman philosophers who generally were in favour of self control and were hostile to anger. To Seneca and Galen uncontrolled anger was similar to madness. Anger to Seneca was useless, even in war. He praised the disciplined Roman armies who were capable of beating the Germans who were instead famous for their fury.
Following is a list of our writings on Dario Bernazza:
Ethical Confusion & Ancient Teachings
Assets and Liabilities in Life
Living to Our Fullest Potential
Health and Serenity of Soul
From Friendship to Asking Mamma when Looking for “Mr Right
And here a post on anger (a bit on the ‘wild soliloquy’ side, I’ll admit):
Force & Anger. Ghosts in the Mind