— With tireless feet they approached the ridge and straightway came to Parnassus and the lovely place where they were to dwell honored by many men. There Apollo brought them and showed them his most holy sanctuary and rich temple.
But their spirit was stirred in their dear breasts, and the master of the Cretans asked him, saying:
“Lord, since you have brought us here far from our dear ones and our fatherland, — for so it seemed good to your heart, — tell us now how we shall live. That we would know of you. This land is not to be desired either for vineyards or for pastures so that we can live well thereon and also minister to men.”
Then Apollo, the son of Zeus, smiled upon them and said:
“Foolish mortals and poor drudges are you, that you seek cares and hard toils and straits! Easily will I tell you a word and set it in your hearts. Though each one of you with knife in hand should slaughter sheep continually, yet would you always have abundant store, even all that the glorious tribes of men bring here for me. But guard you my temple and receive the tribes of men that gather to this place, and especially show mortal men my will, and do you keep righteousness in your heart. But if any shall be disobedient and pay no heed to my warning, or if there shall be any idle word or deed and outrage as is common among mortal men, then other men shall be your masters and with a strong hand shall make you subject for ever. All has been told you: do you keep it in your heart.” —
[Excerpt from the Homeric Hymn, to Pythian Apollo]
Know thyself — Maxim #8
Exercise prudence — Maxim #17
Find fault with no one — Maxim #25
Exercise nobility of character — Maxim #30
Speak well of everyone — Maxim #47
Down-look no one — Maxim #56
Know the judge — Maxim #66
Do away with enmities — Maxim #112
So, after reading all of that, what are your thoughts? I’ll share some of mine with you all.
If we take the words of the hymn as a guide for our own toils, we can see that the Lord Apollon has shown us to His temple, wherein lay the riches of our own hearts. And we may look at the riches, seeing ourselves as unworthy to receive them. Yet, does the Lord speak of our good fortune, but only if we remain true to His Directive, which is to hold our honor high, and to continually seek righteousness. He even tells us where to be especially careful of backsliding: idleness. Idleness of word and deed, to be more precise.
An idle word might be one spoken in haste, without the full knowledge of the subject in question. An idle deed might be to dismiss outright the relevance of another’s experience, even and until the point of public denouncement. However, if we are aware and mindful and compassionate, then we may never stray so far from Apollon’s warning.
Those of us who will keep His Directive shall have no masters, or mistresses. We shall not have our emotions swayed by the minds of others. Our hearts will remain free, and He will gain great sacrifices from us.
Moving on to the Maxims specified, we see the pattern layed neatly down, and again unmistakable: We are not to judge each other in the manner and ways of the Gods. We are to accomplish our own toils. We are to respect ourselves and each other.
So, just remember that when the talking, and the whispering, and the idle chattering starts. Keep the Directive, and dwell in Apollon’s favor. The fates of those who do not, are none of your concern.