Corrupt Ages and the Character of Speech

Seneca, Moral Epistles 114.1-2

“You ask my why public speech of a corrupt kind dominates in certain periods of time and how the decline of people’s intelligence slides into certain vices so that sometimes speech swells with a kind of strength and at others it becomes broken up and refined like song. You ask as well why sometimes bold notions–even beyond belief–delight people and at other times statements are curt and coded so that more must be understood in them than can be heard? Or, why there have been generations that rely on the use of shameless metaphor.

You can hear the answer in common speech, one that is proverbial among the Greeks: “People’s lives are like the quality of their speech.” Just as the action of an individual is similar to their speech, so too does the culture of speech imitate public character, if civic order has weakened and surrendered to self-indulgence.”

Quare quibusdam temporibus provenerit corrupti generis oratio quaeris, et quomodo in quaedam vitia inclinatio ingeniorum facta sit, ut aliquando inflata explicatio vigeret, aliquando infracta et in morem cantici ducta? Quare alias sensus audaces et fidem egressi placuerint, alias abruptae sententiae et suspiciosae, in quibus plus intellegendum esset quam audiendum? Quare aliqua aetas fuerit, quae translationis iure uteretur inverecunde? Hoc quod audire vulgo soles, quod apud Graecos in proverbium cessit: talis hominibus fuit oratio qualis vita. Quemadmodum autem uniuscuiusque actio dicenti similis est, sic genus dicendi aliquando imitatur publicos mores, si disciplina civitatis laboravit et se in delicias dedit.

meme of Trump talking and gesticulating with the Latin words "talis hominibus fuit oratio qualis vita". This means People's lives are like their quality of speech

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