Feeding the Stomach, Feeding the Mind

Seneca, Moral Epistle 94.5-6

“In the same way, when some affair occludes  the mind and impedes it from seeing the order of duties, it does no good in advising, “live this way with your father and this way with your spouse.”  Examples like this are useless while error darkens the mind. When the mind is cleared, it will be obvious what should be done in each situation.

Otherwise, you are trying to teach someone what a healthy person should do, but you do not make them healthy! It is like you are showing a poor person how to act rich. How can this happen as long as poverty remains? You are trying to show a hungry person how to act then they are full. First, address the hunger in their stomach!”

Eodem modo ubi aliqua res occaecat animum et ad officiorum dispiciendum ordinem inpedit, nihil agit qui praecipit: sic vives cum patre, sic cum uxore. Nihil enim proficient praecepta, quamdiu menti error offusus est; si ille discutitur, apparebit, quid cuique debeatur officio. Alioqui doces illum, quid sano faciendum sit, non efficis sanum. Pauperi ut agat divitem monstras; hoc quomodo manente paupertate fieri potest? Ostendis esurienti quid tamquam satur faciat; fixam potius medullis famem detrahe.

color photography of a small marble statue of the the philosopher Diogenes. He is old and nude, bent slightly forward with a dog by his left side
A small Roman marble statue (54.1 cm with plinth) depicting Diogenes the Cynic, in the collection of the Met Museum

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