EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book ii. §26. ¶1.
EVERY error in life implies a contradiction: for, since he who errs doth not mean to err, but to be in the right, it is evident that he acts contrary to his meaning. What doth a thief mean ? His own interest. If, then, thieving be against his interest, he acts contrary to his own meaning. Now every rational soul is naturally averse to self-contradiction: but so long as anyone is ignorant that it is a contradiction, nothing restrains him from acting contradictorily: but whenever he discovers it, he must as necessarily renounce and avoid it, as anyone must dissent from a falsehood whenever he perceives it to be a falsehood: but while this doth not appear, he assents to it as to a truth.
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This seems to build on the idea of intention. While we may have good intentions, we have failed to express them if we have not given careful thought to the way the actions that express them are executed. A joke may have started as a friendly jest, but expressed in a cruel or embarrassing jibe belies the original intention. Perhaps the true intention, that to hurt or bite, lies deeper, and we console ourselves (and perhaps attempt to do so with others) with a casual 'It was just a joke!'ReplyDelete