Our Debts to Self and Time

Plutarch, On Borrowing 831d

“And so each person in debt doesn’t sell their own land or home, but one that belongs to their lender, whom they made master of their things under the law.”

καὶ τῶν χρεωστῶν οὐ πωλεῖ ἕκαστος τὸ ἑαυτοῦ χωρίον οὐδὲ τὴν ἰδίαν οἰκίαν, ἀλλὰ τὴν τοῦ δανείσαντος ὃν τῷ νόμῳ κύριον αὐτῶν πεποίηκε.

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 9 1165a

“So, what I was just saying, in general, debts should be paid back. But if a gift tips the balance with nobility or necessity, then we should be inclined towards giving.”

ὅπερ οὖν εἴρηται, καθόλου μὲν τὸ ὀφείλημα ἀποδοτέον, ἐὰν δ᾿ ὑπερτείνῃ ἡ δόσις τῷ καλῷ ἢ τῷ ἀναγκαίῳ, πρὸς ταῦτ᾿ ἀποκλιτέον

Aristotle, Problems 29.2

“Where there’s debt, there are no friends. For you don’t lend to a friend, you give.”

οὗ δὲ τὸ χρέος, οὐ φίλος· οὐ γὰρ δανείζει, ἐὰν ᾖ φίλος, ἀλλὰ δίδωσιν

Palladas, Greek Anthology, 11.62

“All mortals owe a debt to death
And no one knows if they will live in the morning
Learn this well, and take a joyous breath—
You have wine to help you forget,
and brief life still leaves time to enjoy sex—
Let Chance take care of all the rest.”

Πᾶσι θανεῖν μερόπεσσιν ὀφείλεται, οὐδέ τις ἐστὶν
αὔριον εἰ ζήσει θνητὸς ἐπιστάμενος.
τοῦτο σαφῶς, ἄνθρωπε, μαθὼν εὔφραινε σεαυτόν,
λήθην τοῦ θανάτου τὸν Βρόμιον κατέχων.
τέρπεο καὶ Παφίῃ, τὸν ἐφημέριον βίον ἕλκων·
τἄλλα δὲ πάντα Τύχῃ πράγματα δὸς διέπειν.

Jan Steen, “The Debtor” 1679

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