How is A Gossip Like A Scholar?

Plutarch, De Curiositate [On Being a Busybody] 519c-d


“It turns out that being talkative follows from learning much—this is why Pythagoras assigned a five-year silence to young men which he labeled a “Speech-Truce”—and by necessity slander accompanies excessive curiosity. For, whatever people hear with pleasure, they are pleased to repeat; and whatever they collect eagerly from others, they carry off to even more with joy. As a result, along with the other evils, this disease is also an obstacle to its desire. For everyone guards against the busybody and hides things from him; people don’t want to do anything while the busybody is looking or say anything while he listens; instead, they put off their plans and postpone looking at their affairs until this kind of a person has left.”


Τῇ μὲν οὖν πολυμαθείᾳ τὴν πολυλογίαν ἕπεσθαι συμβαίνει (διὸ καὶ Πυθαγόρας ἔταξε τοῖς νέοις πενταετῆ σιωπήν, ἐχεμυθίαν προσαγορεύσας), τῇ δὲ περιεργίᾳ τὴν κακολογίαν ἀνάγκη συνακολουθεῖν· ἃ γὰρ ἡδέως ἀκούουσιν ἡδέως λαλοῦσι, καὶ ἃ παρ’ ἄλλων σπουδῇ συλλέγουσι πρὸς ἑτέρους μετὰ χαρᾶς ἐκφέρουσιν. ὅθεν αὐτοῖς μετὰ τῶν ἄλλων κακῶν τὸ νόσημα καὶ πρὸς τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν ἐμποδών ἐστι. πάντες γὰρ αὐτοὺς φυλάττονται καὶ ἀποκρύπτονται, καὶ οὔτε πρᾶξαί τι πολυπράγμονος ὁρῶντος οὔτ’ εἰπεῖν ἀκούοντος ἡδέως ἔχουσιν, ἀλλὰ καὶ βουλὰς ἀνατίθενται καὶ σκέψεις πραγμάτων ὑπερβάλλονται, μέχρις ἂν ἐκποδὼν ὁ τοιοῦτος γένηται·


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