The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives


αὕτη οὖν ἀρχὴ τοῦ φιλοσοφεῖν, αἴσθησις τοῦ ἰδίου ἡγεμονικοῦ πῶς ἔχει: μετὰ γὰρ τὸ γνῶναι ὅτι ἀσθενῶς οὐκ ἔτι θελήσει χρῆσθαι αὐτῷ πρὸς τὰ μεγάλα. νῦν δὲ μὴ δυνάμενοί τινες τὸν ψωμὸν καταπίνειν σύνταξιν ἀγοράσαντες ἐπιβάλλονται ἐσθίειν. διὰ τοῦτο ἐμοῦσιν ἢ ἀπεπτοῦσιν: εἶτα στρόφοι καὶ κατάρροιαι καὶ πυρετοί. ἔδει δ᾽ ἐφιστάνειν, εἰ δύνανται. ἀλλ᾽ ἐν μὲν θεωρίᾳ ῥᾴδιον ἐξελέγξαι τὸν οὐκ εἰδότα, ἐν δὲ τοῖς κατὰ τὸν βίον οὔτε παρέχει ἑαυτόν τις ἐλέγχῳ τόν τ᾽ ἐξελέγξαντα μισοῦμεν. ὁ δὲ Σωκράτης ἔλεγεν ἀνεξέταστον βίον μὴ ζῆν.

—Epictetus (Discourses, 1.26.15–18)1

  1. ‘The first step, then, towards philosophizing, is having a sense of how one’s executive faculty is doing: when a person knows it’s sickly, he won’t set it to big things. Now, some folks not strong enough to swallow a bite haunt the marketplace and throw themselves into consuming whole systems: So they puke it all up again, or can’t digest it – and then come the gripes and runs and fevers. Should’ve considered whether they could handle it. While it’s easy (in theory) to refute someone who doesn’t know, in real life, no one turns himself in for cross-examination (elenchos), and we hate those who interrogate us – but, as Socrates used to say, don’t live an unexamined life.’ []


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