What Physicians Want: Fleet Footed is Gout!

Plutarch Moralia 501b

“Physicians by birth want two things—that person not be sick, and that someone who is sick should not be ignorant of being sick. This latter case is what happens in the afflictions of the mind. For when people are foolish, inappropriate, or unjust, they do not think they are doing wrong but some even imagine they are acting correctly. So, while no one ever calls a fever “healthy” or claims that consumption is “feeling fit” or that “gout” is being “fleet-footed”, or jaundice a “youthful blush”, many people call rage “manliness”, and lust “love” and envy “rivalry” and cowardice “circumspection”.

Even though people who are sick call doctors because they understand that they need them to address what is making them sick, those with mental ailments avoid philosophers since they believe that they are succeeding in the very acts in which they are going astray. Should we use this kind of logic, at least, we may say that poor vision is easier than madness and gout simpler than sickness in the brain. For a sick person feels it and calls for the doctor with cries….”

  1. Διὸ παῖδες ἰατρῶν βούλονται μὲν μὴ νοσεῖν τὸν ἄνθρωπον, νοσοῦντα δὲ μὴ ἀγνοεῖν ὅτι νοσεῖ· ὃ τοῖς ψυχικοῖς πάθεσι πᾶσι συμβέβηκεν. οὔτε γὰρ ἀφραίνοντες οὔτ᾿ ἀσελγαίνοντες οὔτ᾿ ἀδικοπραγοῦντες ἁμαρτάνειν δοκοῦσιν, ἀλλ᾿ ἔνιοι καὶ κατορθοῦν. πυρετὸν μὲν γὰρ οὐδεὶς ὑγίειαν ὠνόμασεν οὐδὲ φθίσιν εὐεξίαν οὐδὲ ποδάγραν ποδώκειαν οὐδ᾿ ὠχρίασιν ἐρύθημα, θυμὸν δὲ πολλοὶ καλοῦσιν ἀνδρείαν καὶ ἔρωτα φιλίαν καὶ φθόνον ἅμιλλαν καὶ δειλίαν ἀσφάλειαν. εἶθ᾿ οἱ μὲν καλοῦσι τοὺς ἰατρούς, αἰσθάνονται γὰρ ὧν δέονται πρὸς ἃ νοσοῦσιν· οἱ δὲ φεύγουσι τοὺς φιλοσόφους, οἴονται γὰρ ἐπιτυγχάνειν ἐν οἷς διαμαρτάνουσιν. ἐπεὶ τούτῳ γε τῷ λόγῳ χρώμενοι λέγομεν ὅτι κουφότερόν ἐστιν ὀφθαλμία μανίας καὶ ποδάγρα φρενίτιδος, ὁ μὲν γὰρ αἰσθάνεται καὶ καλεῖ τὸν ἰατρὸν κεκραγώς…
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