BUT I must excite you to philosophy. How shall I show you that contradiction among the generality of mankind, by which they differ concerning good and evil, profitable and unprofitable, when you know not what contradiction rneans? Show me, then, what I shall gain by discoursing with you. Excite an inclination in me, as a proper pasture excites an inclination to eating in a sheep: for if you offer him a stone, or a piece of bread, he will not be excited. Thus we too have certain natural inclinations to speaking, when the hearer appears to be somebody; when he gives us encouragement; but if he sits by, like a stone or a tuft of grass, how can he excite any desire in a man? Doth a vine say to an husbandman, "Take care of me"? No; but invites him to take care of it, by showing him that if he doth, it will reward him for his care. Who is there whom engaging sprightly children do not invite to play, and creep, and prattle with them? But who was ever taken with an inclination to divert himself, or bray, with an ass? For, be the creature ever so little, it is still a little ass.
EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book ii. §24. ¶1.
"That contradiction among the generality of mankind, by which they differ concerning good and evil."ReplyDelete
Hmmmph. If I had spent more attention while reading Discourses I might have saved some time and fuss for myself!
Thanks for the good quote, Michel.