More Cyrenaic Wisdom

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Philosophers – Aristippus (70)

“When someone proposed a riddle to Aristippus and asked him to solve it, Aristippus responded, ‘You idle fool, you want this solved, even though it offers us plenty of trouble in its unsolved state?’

He said that it was better to be a beggar than to be uneducated, for a beggar is lacking money, but the uneducated person is lacking humanity.

One time, when upbraided, he ran away. When someone pursued him, asking why he fled, he responded, ‘Because you have the power of talking trash, and I have the power of not listening.’

When someone said that he always saw philosophers at the doorways of the rich, Aristippus replied, ‘So too you always find doctors at the doorways of the sick. But one would not on that account choose rather to be sick than to be a doctor.”


Αἴνιγμά τινος αὐτῷ προτείναντος καὶ εἰπόντος, “λῦσον,” “τί, ὦ μάταιε,” ἔφη, “λῦσαι θέλεις ὃ καὶ δεδεμένον ἡμῖν πράγματα παρέχει;” ἄμεινον ἔφη ἐπαιτεῖν ἢ ἀπαίδευτον εἶναι· οἱ μὲν γὰρ χρημάτων, οἱ δ’ ἀνθρωπισμοῦ δέονται. λοιδορούμενός ποτε ἀνεχώρει· τοῦ δ’ ἐπιδιώκοντος εἰπόντος, “τί φεύγεις;”, “ὅτι,” φησί, “τοῦ μὲν κακῶς λέγειν σὺ τὴν ἐξουσίαν ἔχεις, τοῦ δὲ μὴ ἀκούειν ἐγώ.” εἰπόντος τινὸς ὡς ἀεὶ τοὺς φιλοσόφους βλέποι παρὰ ταῖς τῶν πλουσίων θύραις, “καὶ γὰρ οἱ ἰατροί,” φησί, “παρὰ ταῖς τῶν νοσούντων· ἀλλ’ οὐ παρὰ τοῦτό τις ἂν ἕλοιτο νοσεῖν ἢ ἰατρεύειν.”

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