Returning to the Logos

I took a drive up along the coastline to Crane’s Beach in Ipswich MA just to take a walk by the ocean and clear my head.  I find sometimes that if I am feeling sluggish and out of sorts that the ocean wakes me up.  Being in an outdoor setting in general makes me feel more present.  Winter is one of the most beautiful times to walk on a beach as well as being the least crowded.  I only saw two other people and those only at a distance.  While walking I came across a sea snail shell.  It was an impressive specimen as was its previous owner no doubt….at least by snail standards.  I was deeply, oddly moved by finding this where I squatted down and watched the waves.  It was perfect because of its imperfections, expressing something unchanging while being an omen of impermanence.  It was complete and had its right place in its environment even though it was merely a relic.  As the cast off armor of some dead creature it reminded me of the Corinthian helmet I use as the image for this blog.  It evoked the same feeling somehow, like a message in a very ancient bottle.

The message was simply that nature is its own meaning.  It doesn’t require any external explanation or meaning or purpose.  When a thing is true to nature, both universally and to its own nature, it has meaning.  Nothing else is necessary.  When we try to impose our own meaning as if we are somehow separate from the natural world we just engage in vanity or, worse, folly.

We don’t need to look beyond nature because nature itself in all its forms takes shape out of the original source.  You can call that source whatever you like.  The Stoics used the terms Logos, nature, god, Zeus interchangeably to refer to this source.  We might want to add Tao or Void too if so inclined.  A more religiously inclined person may feel the need to identify the source of things with divinity (though Zeus worship seems rare these days) and that is fine.  For myself I am content to leave the terms interchangeable.  Trying too hard to define the Logos may just make it that much harder to grasp what is poorly conveyed by language.

Whatever the case, I needed the reminder of these basic truths.  As long as I strive to be in harmony with what is natural, with the Logos, then things are as they should be.  As long as my character, my honor and my reason remain my own then I am right with the world.  When my life is taken in sum total these things are all that will really matter.  It is when I forget this that I lose connection with the Logos and I end up needing a walk by the ocean just like this one.

As I walked back I passed someone taking a horse out for a ride along the beach.  We exchanged a wave across the sand.  I looked back at the figures of horse and rider at the edge of the sea.  How many thousands of horsemen have ridden to look out across the waves over how many thousands of years?  We all find our way back to the ocean eventually.

2 Responses to “Returning to the Logos”

  1. Cool blog. I’m adding your link to mine.

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