The Metamorphoses is a Latin narrative poem written by Ovid toward the beginning of our era. In Book XV, we get to hear from Pythagoras who lived in the 6th century B.C. In verses 146-159, Pythagoras, who seems to possess some sort of divine powers in this epic, reveals the mysteries of the world as he sits on Atlas’ shoulders and looks down on humanity. He is astounded by our fear of death. He reassures us by explaining how our bodies can feel no pain after death even if our carcasses “disappear in the flames of the stake” or are “decomposed by time”. He then introduces his general theory of metamorphoses by saying that our souls escape death “after leaving their old habitation”.
In verses 252 through 269 Pythagoras uses scientific observations to support his theory. Erosion can dig out valleys, or make mountains descend into the sea. The climate changes as well. He talks about swamps that have become deserts and vice versa. Furthermore, the discoveries of various objects in places they don’t belong proves that there are geological changes as well. For example, he finds an anchor on the top of a mountain or he notices some sea shells resting far away from the water.
This monumental poem full of references to various religious, scientific, and philosophical beliefs, seems to have one general message that emerges in each of its sections: the world is always transforming and reshaping itself.
Whatever your beliefs are, I think we all have to accept this simple fact. Everything changes and there is nothing we can do about it. By realizing that a large part of life is out of your control, you will be able to adapt better to those inevitable adjustments. Also, living a simpler life can help you be less affected by change; owning less means that you’ll have less stuff that needs to be taken care of and protected from change or innovation.
So, try minimizing the amount of things you try to control and worrying if things will turn out the way you want because you there are a lot of things you simply don’t have control over, like the weather or the economy. Also, instead of gripping on to these fantasies or beau ideals that you see your future self in, try living more in the moment. Empty your mind and be more like water as Bruce Lee would say. Water adapts and reshapes itself to any space or container it is placed in.