Dying happily

The ancient Greeks warned that we must call no one happy until they are dead. Our present good fortune may change and our disposition with it. But a more important corollary follows: Call no one wise until they are dead. We can trust no judgment thoroughly or make it our own without the possibility of that other person having a change of mind or heart, and thereby dashing our trust and esteem. Such a realization would certainly underlie the psychology of many a solitary. The hermit is not automatically a recluse, and even the solitary may have dealings with others, even intimate dealings, but their insight may well be this one, though not conscious. Meanwhile, even the solitary must guard against delusion, the delusion of permanence in human affairs. The point is to maintain a philosophical attitude as the ever-changing river of life, opinions, emotions, and desires floats around and past us. We can hope that we are ready to cede all as never really having been ours to demand when our tun comes to die. And may we die happily.