An Invitation

There are many ways to live

But surely one of the best must be

To search out the art of living

Contemplating truth and beauty


To retire to the society of the wise

To take time for philosophy

If you permit me, I would say

This alone is to live, and to live well


We often depend so much on the judgments of others

We decide what paths to take and to follow

By counting the number of footprints on them


But if you wish to be a good custodian of your own life

To sift better things from the worse

Then surrender yourself to contemplation

To the great minds of the past

Make them your close and daily friends

And you are bound to have a rich life


You can argue with Socrates

Walk with and engage Aristotle

Discuss old age with Cicero

Talk of peace of mind with Seneca

Doubt with Descartes

Make a leap of faith with Kierkegaard

Imagine world peace with Kant


If you turn to them, any of them

You won’t walk away empty handed

No one of these will take anything away from you

But they can all add to life’s worth


You can take from each what you wish

And if you do not draw the utmost from them

It is only your fault and not theirs


Truly, they can raise you to great height

From which no one can cast you down


They have valuable advice for you

On everything great or small

And they tell you the truth

Without insult or flattery


The philosophers wake us from our deep slumber

They teach us how to make sense of the world

They shed light on worthy and beautiful things

They open our minds and hearts to them

They prepare us to work things out for themselves

To think carefully, critically and clearly

They have also prepared a way of life for us

And you can model yourself after them


Great happiness is in store

For those who offer themselves

As clients to these thinkers


So tear yourself away from the multitude

Withdraw into the contemplative life

This is the only satisfying and flourishing life


Don’t wait until old age

When your life is nearly over

To give yourself to wisdom

Instead learn how to live now


You must slow down life

For life will not slow down for you


-Rotterdam, Netherlands

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Iranian Singles

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Serena Shim Award
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