The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives


…one half of the road to temptation was already covered and it is only human in such situations that one should not stop half-way. For to tempt and to be tempted are closely allied; and in spite of all the finest moral maxims buried in the mind, when emotion interferes, when feeling makes its appearance, one is already much further involved than one realizes, and I have still not learnt how to prevent its appearance. Perhaps escape is the only solution, but there are situations, circumstances, when escape is impossible … such an act itself might give food for talk. And if you do not run away, nothing is more difficult, in my opinion, than to avoid something that fundamentally attracts you. Statements to the contrary would only be prudish and not inspired by a human heart. One cannot hold one’s heart in one’s hand, forcing it or releasing it, tightening or relaxing one’s grasp at will.

—Catherine the Great (Memoirs)


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