The study of ecology suggests that members of a single species tend to be each other's worst enemies --- because they're competing for the same resources in the same ecological niche. But each of us faces a more serious threat, one even closer to home. In Book III, Chapter 5 of The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien writes, aptly:
'Dangerous!' cried Gandalf. 'And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord. And Aragorn is dangerous, and Legolas is dangerous. You are beset with Dangers, Gimli son of Gloin; for you are dangerous yourself, in your own fashion....'
We are each our own worst enemy. As the Stoic philosophers argued, external things are for the most part of no consequence in comparison to our individual choices: to live virtuously, or to fall prey to greed, selfishness, anger, and the other petty distractions of the world.
Wednesday, June 02, 1999 at 21:44:32 (EDT) = Datetag19990602