Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Talking the Tenets - Solon's Society

Although many ancient Greek worshipers look to the Maxims of Delphi as their guiding principles in life, the Tenets of Solon are perhaps a little less known, but ones I very much love and enjoy. In fact, I believe I will adopt them as my core principles. One of the reasons I enjoy them so much is because the list is only 10 long, and covers so much range that I think it's really all I need to live a moral Hellenic life. Within the Tenets are a couple I very much admire, but before I get to talking about them and the reasoning behind it that speaks a universal truth for the Ages, I'd like to list the actual Tenets of Solon. It should be kept in mind that not all sources write the Tenets exactly the same, but they present the same meanings.

1. Trust actions more than words.
2. Never tell a falsehood.
3. Do good works.
4. Don't be in a rush to befriend others, and always keep the friends you do have.
5. Learn to take orders before giving them.
6. Do not do what is agreeable, but what is right.
7. Govern your life by reason.
8. Make no friend with evil.
9. Honor the Gods.
10. Give respect to your parents.

It's also noteworthy to point out that Solon's face appears on the wall of the United States House of Representatives in Washington. He is a very historical lawmaker whose ancient, Greek Polytheistic city-state inspired our own nation. Two Tenets I really enjoy are 6 and 8, as I think they speak so much truth and morality across borders and time periods. In number 6, Solon tells us to do what's right instead of what's popular. Far too many people today do the opposite. They do what's agreeable for politics or their own personal ambitions, which can and does lead to horrible ends, not just for themselves, but for innocent people as well. Far too many people are concerned about what's good for an agenda, a worldview, a party, or an ideology instead of what's good and right itself. 

Number 6 can also tie in with number 8 many times, which says to be no companion of evil, vileness, or immorality. I see so many people turning toward the side of wrong because of how appealing and profitable it can be. Some people will do anything if they are paid enough, regardless of who or what they may harm, especially if they can tell themselves that their evil does some good, and is therefore justified or needed. When we, as a society, make a companion of wrongdoing, our society itself will always go wrong. It will allow the greatest injustices and crimes to flourish. Even if that evil does us some good for a time, it will eventually bring us into atrocity. A car that transports people, for example, is a good thing, but if it's heading for a cliff, it will kill everyone on board. 

In following Solon's Tenets, there's really no way one can go wrong in life. How can one go down a bad road if they always do good works, put their trust in good places, be humble and reasonable, and refuse to associate with what is wrong, but instead, always do what's right? There's no way anyone could go wrong following these 10 simple ethics. This is why I have come to believe they are an excellent set of morals for a Hellenist to adopt as central in their life.

In the Goodness of the Gods,


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