1. Nature as Foundation
In Homer, the perception of an uncreated and ordered cosmos is accompanied by a magical vision carried by ancient myths. The myths are not beliefs, but the manifestation of the divine in the world. The forests, the rocks, the wild beasts have a soul that Artemis (Diana for the Romans) protects. The whole of nature merges with the sacred, and men are not isolated from it. But nature is not intended to satisfy our whims.
In nature, in its immanence, here and now, we find on the other hand answers to our anguish: “As leaves are born, so are men. The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the forest is green again in spring. So too with men: one generation is born as another is erased” (Iliad, VI, 146). The wheel of the seasons and life, each transmitting something of itself to those who will follow, thus assuring a measure of eternity.
Certitude strengthened by awareness of leaving a memory in the mind of the future, which Helen says in the Iliad: “Zeus gave us a hard destiny so that we will be praised by the men to come” (VI, 375–376). Perhaps, but the glory of a noble name is erased like the rest.
What does not pass away is interior, within oneself, in the truth of one’s conscience: to have lived nobly, without baseness, to have remained in accord with the model one has set.