On Birthdays

“A genius is a god under whose protection each person lives from the moment of his birth.” This is the opinion of Censorinus, a Roman rhetorician of the third century CE. Censorinus tells us that our birthday celebrations are not really about us. Instead, they are banquets of gratitude for our spiritual guardians, or the beings known by the Romans as geniuses. Everybody has one: they are the spirits who make sure we are born, that we survive, that we are protected, and that we flourish. Censorinus writes that our genius “has been appointed to be so constant a watcher over us that he never goes away from us even for a second, but is our constant companion from the moment we are taken from our mother’s womb to the last days of our life.” As the philosopher Peter Sloterdijk observes, this makes every birth in fact a double birth – one for us, and one for our guardian genius.

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About Huenemann

Curious about the ways humans use their minds and hearts to distract themselves from the meaninglessness of life.
This entry was posted in 3QD essays, Historical episodes, Meanings of life / death / social & moral stuff. Bookmark the permalink.

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