#17 — Exercise prudence (Φρονησιν ασκει)

Prudence is defined first as “The state, quality, or fact of being prudent.” But this is not enough to explain why the ancients would consider exercising it to be of such importance. For that we need to go to its secondary definition of “Careful management; economy.” http://www.thefreedictionary.com/prudence
This Maxim is all about exercising due diligence as we go about our lives. It is not saying that we should approach life fearfully, but rather that we should use our common sense to guide our actions in our daily existence. This is a lot easier said than done or it would not have to be pointed out with such sayings as ‘Common sense ISN’T common’.  Living our lives with cautious, well-thought-out actions tends to ensure that we do not make any gross errors while hasty actions can lead to unforeseen consequences.

An example of this would be a family moving from one city to another without having a job already lined up for the primary breadwinner. This type of step, although possibly the best step for other reasons, is likely to wind up with the family having to deal with economic privation as their savings will be rapidly exhausted in the move and subsequent household setup. One needs to factor in every aspect of life when making long-term and even some short-term decisions so that this type of misstep can be avoided. It is only when we do this that we are most in line with the plans the Gods have for our lives.

One thought on “#17 — Exercise prudence (Φρονησιν ασκει)

  1. According to the “English Lexicon of Standard Terminology for Hellenismos” published by YSEE (http://www.ysee.gr/download/TELOSTFH.pdf) the word “phronesis” actually means “common sense, sensibility”. So perhaps a bette retranslation might be “Be Sensible”. In any case the entry in mentioned lexicon may prove enlightening in case of this maxim, and in several others as well I think 🙂


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