The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives


Men who have an eye for trouble, men who know that tiny causes have given birth to very great disasters, are full of worry at every unusual event, and, when their troubles are at the zenith, they fear for the outcome and tremble at every harassing rumour. Even if their luck turns, they still cannot believe it. On the other hand, there are the simple-minded folk, who neither suspect the origin of future troubles nor bestir themselves to deal with the cause of their woes. They have an inclination for pleasures and they desire to revel in them for ever. What is more, they like to convert strangers to the same way of thinking. In order to live a peaceful existence, to follow their peaceful pursuits, they tell the rest of the world, with the air of soothsayers, that they will find swift relief from their grievous misfortunes. There is also a third class of people, with a finer temperament. If trouble should come upon them surreptitiously, it does not catch them unprepared. Certainly their ears are not dimmed with the crashes and noise around and outside them. Trouble does not scare them, cannot cow them into surrender. On the contrary, when all others have given up in despair, these persons stand imperturbable in the face of peril, relying for support not on material things, but on the soundness of reason and on their own superior judgement. I must admit, though, that so far I have not met with men of that sort in my lifetime.

—Michael Psellus, Chronographia, vi.97.


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