August 18

IF anyone opposes very evident truths, it is not easy to find a reason which may persuade him to alter his opinion. This arises neither from his own strength, nor from the weakness of his teacher: but when, after being driven upon an absurdity, he becomes petrified, how shall we deal with him any longer by reason?

Now there are two sorts of petrifaction: the one, a petrifaction of the understanding; the other, of the sense of shame, when a person hath obstinately set himself not to assent to evident truths, nor to quit the defence of contradictions. We all dread a bodily mortification; and would make use of every contrivance to avoid it: but none of us is troubled about a mortification of the soul. And yet, indeed, even with regard to the soul, when a person is so affected as not to apprehend or understand anything, we think him in a sad condition: but where the sense of shame and modesty is under an absolute mortification, we go so far as even to call this, strength of mind.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book i. §5. ¶¶1, 2.

1 comment:

  1. More than shame, I think it is laziness that blocks the assent of evident truths. It takes effort to form one's reason, not chance. Most people, however, would rather take a blue pill, if there were one, for living in accord with Nature...