Cool Guys vs. Public Eyes

Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 5.36:

We should understand, then, that popular glory is not to be sought in and of itself, nor is disgrace to be feared. ‘I came to Athens,’ says Democritus, ‘and no one knew me there!’ A firm and serious man, who glories in being so far from glory! Do flute players and those who play on stringed instruments direct their playing by the judgment of the mob and not their own; should a wise man endowed with a much greater skill than music ask not what is most true, but what the rabble want? Or is there anything more foolish than to consider those, whom you condemn individually as mere laborers and barbarians, to be something when taken together as one? He will despise our ambitions and our fluency, and will repudiate the honors of the people voluntarily offered him; yet we know not how to despise them before we begin to feel regret.

Intellegendum est igitur nec gloriam popularem ipsam per sese expetendam nec ignobilitatem extimescendam. ‘Veni Athenas’ inquit Democritus ‘neque me quisquam ibi adgnovit.’ Constantem hominem et gravem, qui glorietur a gloria se afuisse! An tibicines ique, qui fidibus utuntur, suo, non multitudinis arbitrio cantus numerosque moderantur, vir sapiens multo arte maiore praeditus non quid verissimum sit, sed quid velit vulgus, exquiret? An quicquam stultius quam, quos singulos sicut operarios barbarosque contemnas, eos aliquid putare esse universos? Ille vero nostras ambitiones levitatesque contemnet honoresque populi etiam ultro delatos repudiabit; nos autem eos nescimus, ante quam paenitere coepit, contemnere.

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