#10 — Know your opportunity (Καιρον γνωθι)

This Maxim speaks of a different thing than the one which advises us to “Act quickly”. It also speaks to us of mindfulness that everything has its proper ‘moment’ (or kairos). With this Maxim timing is everything and that timing starts with knowing what the proper moment for a thing will be. This timing will often require advance preparation which sometimes is the very opposite of quick action. All of the Maxims are about proper and appropriate action and none more than this one.
Before we can act appropriately, we need to know when the right time to act is – to know whenour opportune moment is. If we act too quickly or delay too long we miss this moment and our actions will be less effective, if they are effective at all. That is where gnosis (knowledge) comes into play. In order for us to have this knowledge we must look at as many of the factors that are leading to the opportunity we are seeking. And it is the analysis of these factors that give us the information we will need to follow the advice the Gods are giving us with this Maxim.
We are often led by our society to confuse this with carpe dium (seize the moment) although that is likely a better translation of another Maxim which we will be looking at later on. If everything happens in its proper moment, we need to be sure to be on the lookout for those moments in order to be as prepared as possible for whatever happens and to know the opportunity for right action. This is the wisdom of this Maxim and it is a wisdom we too often ignore.

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