The Evidence from Madness: Aristotle on the Mind-Body Problem

Aristotle, Physiognomics 808b

“[in this case] the soul and the body would experience things together, but they would not have the same reactions as one another. But, now, it is entirely clear that one follows another. This is especially obvious from the following. For madness seems to be a matter of the mind; doctors, however, respond to it by cleansing the body with medicines and also by telling them to pursue certain habits in life which may relieve the mind of madness.

So, the form of the body is relieved by treatments to the body at the very same time that the soul is freed from madness. Since they are both relieved together, it is clear that their reactions are in synchrony. It is also clear from this that the forms special to the body are similar to the capabilities of the mind, with the result that all similarities in living things are clear signs of some kind of sameness.”

ἡ ψυχή τε καὶ τὸ σῶμα συμπαθῆ, οὐ μέντοι συνδιατελοῦντα ἀλλήλοις. νῦν δὲ καταφανὲς ὅτι ἑκάτερον ἑκατέρῳ ἕπεται. μάλιστα μέντοι ἐκ τοῦδε δῆλον γένοιτο. μανία γὰρ δοκεῖ εἶναι περὶ ψυχήν, καὶ οἱ ἰατροὶ φαρμάκοις καθαίροντες τὸ σῶμα καὶ διαίταις τισὶ πρὸς αὐτοῖς χρησάμενοι ἀπαλλάττουσι τὴν ψυχὴν τῆς μανίας. ταῖς δὴ τοῦ σώματος θεραπείαις καὶ ἅμα ἥ τε τοῦ σώματος μορφὴ λέλυται καὶ ἡ ψυχὴ μανίας ἀπήλλακται. ἐπειδὴ οὖν ἅμα ἀμφότερα λύονται, δῆλον ὅτι συνδιατελοῦσιν ἀλλήλοις. συμφανὲς δὲ καὶ ὅτι ταῖς δυνάμεσι τῆς ψυχῆς ὅμοιαι αἱ μορφαὶ τοῖς σώμασιν ἐπιγίνονται, ὥστ᾿ ἐστὶν ἅπαντα ὅμοια ἐν τοῖς ζῴοις τοῦ αὐτοῦ τινὸς δηλωτικά.

Epictetus, Fr. 26

“Epictetus used to say, ‘you’re a tiny soul lugging around a corpse’.”

Ψυχάριον εἶ βαστάζον νεκρόν, ὡς Ἐπίκτητος ἔλεγεν.

London, British Library, MS Additional 37049, f. 38v

How To Be a Real Toady: Cleisophos and Philip

Athenaeus, Deipnosophists 6.248f-249A

“Satyrus writes in his Life of Philip: “When Philip lost his eye, Cleisophos followed him with the same eyed bandaged. And later, when Philip’s leg was wounded, Cleisophos accompanied the king, limping. And if Philip should ever find any food bitter, Cleisophos would squeeze his face together as if he were eating too!” In the land of Arabia, they used to do this sort of thing not for sake of flattery but according to polite custom: if one of the king’s limbs were wounded, they would act as if they suffered the same malady, although they also thought it was ridiculous to be eager to be buried with him when he died, they did not hold the same belief for emulating his suffering when he was wounded.”


Σάτυρος δ’ ἐν τῷ Φιλίππου βίῳ (FHG III 161) ‘ὅτε, φησί, Φίλιππος τὸν ὀφθαλμὸν ἐξεκόπη συμπροῆλθεν αὐτῷ καὶ ὁ Κλείσοφος τελαμωνισθεὶς τὸν αὐτὸν ὀφθαλμόν. καὶ πάλιν ὅτε τὸ σκέλος ἐπηρώθη, σκάζων συνεξώδευε τῷ βασιλεῖ. καὶ εἴ ποτε δριμὺ προσφέροιτο τῶν ἐδεσμάτων ὁ Φίλιππος, αὐτὸς συνέστρεφε τὴν ὄψιν ὡς συνδαινύμενος’. ἐν δὲ τῇ ᾿Αράβων χώρᾳ οὐχ ὡς ἐν κολακείᾳ τοῦτ’ ἐποίουν, ἀλλὰ κατά τι νόμιμον, βασιλέως πηρωθέντος τι τῶν μελῶν συνυποκρίνεσθαι τὸ ὅμοιον πάθος, ἐπεὶ καὶ γέλοιον νομίζουσιν ἀποθανόντι μὲν αὐτῷ σπουδάζειν συγκατορύττεσθαι, πηρωθέντι δὲ μὴ χαρίζεσθαι τὴν ἴσην δόξαν τοῦ πάθους. Νικόλαος δ’ ὁ Δαμασκηνὸς


Folk Etymologies: Useless and Uneducated in Homer

Homer, Od. 8.176-177

“Thus, you have a conspicuous appearance, but no god
could make you different: your mind is useless.”

ὡς καὶ σοὶ εἶδος μὲν ἀριπρεπές, οὐδέ κεν ἄλλως
οὐδὲ θεὸς τεύξειε, νόον δ’ ἀποφώλιός ἐσσι

Schol. ad Od. 8.177.12-14

Apopholios properly means someone who is not worthy to be numbered among men as a complete person, one who is lacking the use of words or deeds for the proper occasions. They also call schools phôleoi. Therefore, someone who has not gone to school is called useless, i.e. unschooled”

καὶ ἔστι κυρίως ἀποφώλιος ὁ μὴ ἄξιος συναριθμεῖσθαι ἀνδρῶν ὁλότητι ἐν φωτὶ, ἤγουν ἐν καιρῷ ἔργων ἢ λόγων δεομένῳ. φωλεοὺς λέγουσι τὰ παιδευτήρια. ὁ γοῦν μὴ φοιτῶν εἰς τὰ παιδευτήρια λέγεται ἀποφώλιος. E.

Schol. ad. Od. 5.182

Apophôlia: uneducated things. For phôleoi are schools. Or, they are things which someone shouldn’t declare because they are ineloquent or lack understanding”

ἀποφώλια] ἀπαίδευτα. φωλεοὶ γὰρ τὰ παιδευτήρια. ἢ ἃ οὐκ ἄν τις ἀποφήναιτο ὡς ἄρρητα ἢ ἀσύνετα. P.V.


Apophôlios: empty, unesteemed, simple. Or, uneducated.”

†ἀποφώλιος· μάταιος. ἀδόκιμος, εὐτελής. ἢ ἀπαίδευτος (θ 177) p

Etymologicum Genuinum 

….“this comes from phôleon: for schools are called phôleoi because people linger and spend time in them. Therefore they call uneducated people apophôlioi.”

γέγονε δὲ παρὰ τὸν φωλεόν· φωλεοὶ γὰρ λέγονται τὰ παιδευτήρια παρὰ τὸ ἐν αὐτοῖς φωλεύειν καὶ διατρίβειν. τοὺς οὖν ἀδιδάκτους ἀποφωλίους ἐκάλουν.


φωλεύεω, “to lurk in a hole or a den”….“to lie hidden”


More Etymologies: Notes (from Perseus)

[177] ἀποφώλιος. The derivation of this word is most uncertain; it is commonly compounded of “ἀπὸ-ὄφελος” [from ophellos, “use”], while others refer it to a root “φα”, ‘to blow,’ or to “ἀπάφεσθαι”, ‘to cheat.’ Autenrieth proposes to refer the latter part of the word to the same root as “φύω” and “φώς”, so as to mean, ‘grown out of shape.’

Absentmindedness is…uh, What?

I lose my campus ID every 6 months or so; each morning, finding my keys is a wild adventure even though they are almost always in the same place…

Theophrastus, Characters: Absentmindedness

“To give it a definition, absent-mindedness, is a slowness of mind in speech and actions. An absent-minded person is the kind of person who:

Even after making a calculation with counters and coming to a sum asks the person sitting next to him, “What’s this”?

If he is called to court and meant to go, forgets and goes to the country;

If he is watching something at the theater, he is left alone when he falls a sleep;

When he eats too much he gets up at night for the bathroom and is bitten by the neighbor’s dog.

When he gets something and puts it away, is not able to find it when he looks for it;

When he learns that one of his friends has died and he should attend the funeral, he frowns and cries but says “it’s for the best”

When he gets money paid back to him he is sure to ask for proof of receipt.

He fights with his slave because he didn’t buy cucumbers even though it is winter.

He makes his children practice wrestling and running until they are exhausted.

When he is cooking bean soup in the country, he salts the pan twice, ruining the food.”

(1) ἔστι δὲ ἡ ἀναισθησία, ὡς ὅρῳ εἰπεῖν, βραδυτὴς ψυχῆς ἐν λόγοις καὶ πράξεσιν, ὁ δὲ ἀναίσθητος τοιοῦτός τις,

(2) οἷος λογισάμενος ταῖς ψήφοις καὶ κεφάλαιον ποιήσας ἐρωτᾶν τὸν παρακαθήμενον· “τί γίνεται;”

(3) καὶ δίκην φεύγων καὶ ταύτην εἰσιέναι μέλλων ἐπιλαθόμενος εἰς ἀγρὸν πορεύεσθαι.

(4) καὶ θεωρῶν ἐν τῷ θεάτρῳ μόνος καταλείπεσθαι καθεύδων.

(5) καὶ πολλὰ φαγὼν καὶ τῆς νυκτὸς ἐπὶ θάκου ἀνιστάμενος ὑπὸ κυνὸς τῆς τοῦ γείτονος δηχθῆναι.

(6) καὶ λαβών <τι> καὶ ἀποθεὶς αὐτός, τοῦτο ζητεῖν καὶ μὴ δύνασθαι εὑρεῖν.

(7) καὶ ἀπαγγέλλοντος αὐτῷ ὅτι τετελεύτηκέ τις αὐτοῦ τῶν φίλων, ἵνα παραγένηται, σκυθρωπάσας καὶ δακρύσας εἰπεῖν· “ἀγαθῇ τύχῃ.”

(8) δεινὸς δὲ καὶ ἀπολαμβάνων ἀργύριον ὀφειλόμενον μάρτυρας παραλαβεῖν.

(9) καὶ χειμῶνος ὄντος μάχεσθαι τῷ παιδὶ ὅτι σικύους οὐκ ἠγόρασεν.

(10) καὶ τὰ παιδία ἑαυτοῦ παλαίειν ἀναγκάζων καὶ τροχάζειν εἰς κόπον ἐμβάλλειν.

(11) καὶ ἐν ἀγρῷ αὐτὸς φακῆν ἕψων δὶς ἅλας εἰς τὴν χύτραν ἐμβαλὼν ἄβρωτον ποιῆσαι..

Forgetful Jones, a Muppet you have likely forgotten.


The Weakness of Bodies and the Strength to Be Better

Basil, Letter 195

“Please understand that our own situation is no more endurable than it usually is. It is enough to say this and point to the weakness of our bodies.

When it comes to the overwhelming sickness that dominates us, it is not easier to illustrate it with words or to be persuaded by fact whether or not I have suffered any kind of sickness greater than what you have known yourself.

Ah, it is God’s job to provide us with the ability to endure the hits to our body sent by the Lord to make us better.”

Τὰ δὲ ἡμέτερα μηδὲν ἀνεκτότερα γίνωσκε τῆς συνηθείας εἶναι. ἀρκεῖ δὲ τοσοῦτον εἰπεῖν, καὶ ἐνδείξασθαί σοι τοῦ σώματος ἡμῶν τὴν ἀσθένειαν. τὴν γὰρ νῦν κατέχουσαν ἡμᾶς εἰς τὸ ἀρρωστεῖν ὑπερβολήν, οὔτε λόγῳ ἐνδείξασθαι ῥᾷδιον, οὔτε ἔργῳ πεισθῆναι, εἴπερ ἐκείνων, ὧν αὐτὸς ᾔδεις, εὑρέθη τι πλεῖον παρ᾿ ἡμῖν1 εἰς ἀρρωστίαν. Θεοῦ δὲ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ἔργον δοῦναι ἡμῖν δύναμιν, πρὸς τὸ ἐν ὑπομονῇ φέρειν τὰς ἐπὶ συμφέροντι ἡμῖν ἐπαγομένας εἰς τὸ σῶμα πληγὰς παρὰ τοῦ εὐεργετοῦντος ἡμᾶς Κυρίου.

Law and Order

Plato, Euthyphro 4b-4e.


The man who was killed by your father, is he one of your relatives? . . . 


 . . . The man who was killed was a dependent of mine. He worked for us when we were farming in Naxos. Drunk and in a rage, he himself had killed one of our household slaves.

In response to that, my father bound his hands and feet, threw him in a ditch, then sent a man to an expert in rites and expiation to find out what needed to be done. In the time that passed, my father cared little about the bound man. He neglected him as a murderer. It didn’t matter if he died. 

And that’s the very thing that happened. Hunger, cold, and the fetters took the man’s life before the messenger returned from the expert in rites and expiation. 

My father and other relatives are now furious that I’m prosecuting my father for the murder of a murderer.  They say my father did not kill him, and  even if he had killed him, I should not attend to the murderer’s death because it is profane for a son to prosecute his father for murder. 

A few observations about the facts of the case, but from the perspective of law rather than philosophy: 

  • “Drunk and in a rage”: Athenian law punished voluntary and involuntary homicide differently. In Laws, Plato argues that if the act were committed in anger but without premeditation it should be regarded as involuntary (Laws IX.866d). Being both drunk and angry would underscore that the worker lacked the rationality necessary for a voluntary action.   
  • “He neglected him”: Euthyphro implies his father had a duty of care towards the restrained man, and his failure to fulfill that duty was the proximate cause of the man’s death. Like the drunk and angry worker then, the father too stands accused of an involuntary act. 
  • “Sent a man to learn from an expert in rites and expiation”: Here the father is differentiated from the angry drunk and likened to Euthyphro. The father sought the advice of an expert in rites: he’s eager to avoid the pollution associated with his slave’s death (as the head of the household the slave presumably is ultimately his).  Similarly, Euthyphro is prosecuting the case against his father in order to avoid the pollution associated with his own dependent’s death. (Note that Euthyphro describes the slave as “ours” but the worker as “a dependent of mine”.)

Individual responsibility for removing pollution associated with specific deaths (father for slave, Euthyphro for worker) is central to the account. 

  • “Other relatives”: Like Euthyphro and his father, the relatives are concerned about right action. But, theirs is the primitive perspective: they do not differentiate between voluntary and involuntary action; or if they do, they believe that involuntary action is no action at all.


ἔστιν δὲ δὴ τῶν οἰκείων τις τεθνεὼς ὑπὸ τοῦ σοῦ πατρός; 


ἐπεὶ ὅ γε ἀποθανὼν πελάτης τις ἦν ἐμός, καὶ ὡς ἐγεωργοῦμεν ἐν τῇ Νάξῳ, ἐθήτευεν ἐκεῖ παρʼ ἡμῖν. παροινήσας οὖν καὶ ὀργισθεὶς τῶν οἰκετῶν τινι τῶν ἡμετέρων ἀποσφάττει αὐτόν. ὁ οὖν πατὴρ συνδήσας τοὺς πόδας καὶ τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῦ, καταβαλὼν εἰς τάφρον τινά, πέμπει δεῦρο ἄνδρα πευσόμενον τοῦ ἐξηγητοῦ ὅτι χρείη ποιεῖν. ἐν δὲ τούτῳ τῷ χρόνῳ τοῦ δεδεμένου ὠλιγώρει τε καὶ ἠμέλει ὡς ἀνδροφόνου καὶ οὐδὲν ὂν πρᾶγμα εἰ καὶ ἀποθάνοι, ὅπερ οὖν καὶ ἔπαθεν· ὑπὸ γὰρ λιμοῦ καὶ ῥίγους καὶ τῶν δεσμῶν ἀποθνῄσκει πρὶν τὸν ἄγγελον παρὰ τοῦ ἐξηγητοῦ ἀφικέσθαι. ταῦτα δὴ οὖν καὶ ἀγανακτεῖ ὅ τε πατὴρ καὶ οἱ ἄλλοι οἰκεῖοι, ὅτι ἐγὼ ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἀνδροφόνου τῷ πατρὶ φόνου ἐπεξέρχομαι, οὔτε ἀποκτείναντι, ὥς φασιν ἐκεῖνοι, οὔτʼ εἰ ὅτι μάλιστα ἀπέκτεινεν, ἀνδροφόνου γε ὄντος τοῦ ἀποθανόντος, οὐ δεῖν φροντίζειν ὑπὲρ τοῦ τοιούτου—ἀνόσιον γὰρ εἶναι τὸ ὑὸν πατρὶ φόνου ἐπεξιέναι . 

The Supreme Court of the United States,
Pollution Central.

Larry Benn has a B.A. in English Literature from Harvard College, an M.Phil in English Literature from Oxford University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Making amends for a working life misspent in finance, he’s now a hobbyist in ancient languages and blogs at

Little Doggie in Heaven

Lucian, Assembly of the Gods, 5

 “And the most absurd thing of all, Gods, is that even the dog of Erigone–he has been raised up so that that little girl won’t be upset because she can’t have her sweet little doggie in heaven! Doesn’t this seem to be an insult, a drunken joke? Listen, there’s more.”

 καὶ ὃ πάντων γελοιότατον, ὦ θεοί, καὶ τὸν κύνα τῆς Ἠριγόνης, καὶ τοῦτον ἀνήγαγεν, ὡς μὴ ἀνιῷτο ἡ παῖς εἰ μὴ ἕξει ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ τὸ ξύνηθες ἐκεῖνο καὶ ὅπερ ἠγάπα κυνίδιον. ταῦτα οὐχ ὕβρις ὑμῖν δοκεῖ καὶ παροινία καὶ γέλως; ἀκούσατε δ᾿ οὖν καὶ ἄλλους.

Literary Papyri, 109.2

“A dog is interred beneath this marker—
Tauron who was not undone when faced with a killer.
For he encountered a boar in direct combat-
It could not be passed as it puffed out its jaw
And drove a furrow in his chest as it dripped with white foam.
But the dog struck two feet into its back
And grabbed the bristling beast in the middle of its chest
And drove it down into the ground—he made a gift
Of the beast to Hades and died himself, as is the custom for an Indian.
He saved the life of Zenon, the hunter he followed.
So he is buried here beneath this light dust.”

σκύλαξ ὁ τύμβωι τῶιδ᾿ ὕπ᾿ ἐκτερισμένος
Ταύρων, ἐπ᾿ αὐθένταισιν οὐκ ἀμήχανος·
κάπρωι γὰρ ὡς συνῆλθεν ἀντίαν ἔριν,
ὁ μέν τις ὡς ἄπλατος οἰδήσας γένυν
5στῆθος κατηλόκιζε λευκαίνων ἀφρῶι,
ὁ δ᾿ ἀμφὶ νώτωι δισσὸν ἐμβαλὼν ἴχνος
ἐδράξατο φρίσσοντος ἐκ στέρνων μέσων
καὶ γᾶι συνεσπείρασεν· Ἀίδαι δὲ δοὺς
τὸν αὐτόχειρ᾿ ἔθναισκεν, Ἰνδὸν ὡς νόμος.
σώιζων δὲ τὸν κυναγὸν ὧι παρείπετο
Ζήνων᾿ ἐλαφρᾶι τᾶιδ᾿ ὑπεστάλη κόνει.

Epigram 11

“Glaukos, overseer, I will place another saying in your thoughts:
Give the dogs dinner first near the courtyard’s gates.
This is better: for the dog hears first when a man
Approaches or if a wild beast dares near the fence.”

Γλαῦκε πέπων, ἐπιών τοι ἔπος τι ἐνὶ φρεσὶ θήσω•
πρῶτον μὲν κυσὶ δεῖπνον ἐπ’ αὐλείῃσι θύρῃσι
δοῦναι• ὣς γὰρ ἄμεινον• ὃ γὰρ καὶ πρῶτον ἀκούει
ἀνδρὸς ἐπερχομένου καὶ ἐς ἕρκεα θηρὸς ἰόντος.

Munich, Staatliche Antikensammlungen, A hound carrying her pup, 500-475 BCE

Forget Wealth, I Know About Foxes

Aelian, Animalia Epilogue

“However much my work, thought, and toil has added to learning and as much as the progressive consensus in those matters has sketched out and uncovered while men of repute and philosophers compete with each other in these fields, I have now articulated as much as I was able. I did not leave out anything which I knew because I was lazy, as if I looked down on or dishonored some wild beast without reason or speech.

No, here too that lust for knowledge which lives deep within me and is native there has set me afire. I am not ignorant of the fact that some of those who look keenly for money and are bewitched by honors, and power, and everything which gains a reputation may attack me if I spent my free time on these projects when I could have been primping myself and frequenting courtyards and courting wealth.

Instead, I have concerned myself with foxes and lizards and bugs and snakes and lions, with what a leopard does, how affectionate storks are to their young, how the nightingale singles sweetly, how wise an elephant is, the shapes of fishes, the migrations of cranes, the natures of serpents and the rest of the things which this carefully written composition contains and preserves.

It is not at all dear to me to be numbered among these wealthy men and to be compared to them. But if, instead, I would try and desire to join that crowd among whom wise poets and men clever at seeking out and examining the secrets of nature and the writers who approach the most extensive experience think it right to join, it is clear that I am a far better judge of the difference than these other people are. Or I would prefer to excel in a single school of knowledge than to gain the praised riches and possessions of your most wealthy people. Well, that’s enough about these things for now.”

Ὅσα μὲν οὖν σπουδή τε ἐμὴ καὶ φροντὶς καὶ πόνος καὶ ἐς τὸ πλέον μαθεῖν καὶ ἐν τοῖσδε ἡ γνώμη προχωροῦσα ἀνίχνευσέ τε καὶ ἀνεῦρε, δοκίμων τε ἀνδρῶν καὶ φιλοσόφων ἀγώνισμα θεμένων τὴν ἐπ᾿ αὐτοῖς ἐμπειρίαν, καὶ δὴ λέλεκταί μοι, ὡς οἷόν τε ἦν εἰπεῖν, μὴ παραλείποντι ἅπερ ἔγνων μηδὲ βλακεύοντι, ὡς ἀλόγου τε καὶ ἀφώνου ἀγέλης ὑπεριδόντι καὶ ἀτιμάσαντι, ἀλλὰ κἀνταῦθα ἔρως με σοφίας ὁ σύνοικός τε καὶ ὁ συμφυὴς ἐξέκαυσεν. οὐκ ἀγνοῶ δὲ ὅτι ἄρα καὶ τῶν ἐς χρήματα ὁρώντων ὀξὺ καὶ τεθηγμένων ἐς τιμάς τε καὶ δυνάμεις τινὲς καὶ πᾶν τὸ φιλόδοξον δι᾿ αἰτίας ἕξουσιν, εἰ τὴν ἐμαυτοῦ σχολὴν κατεθέμην ἐς ταῦτα, ἐξὸν καὶ ὠφρυῶσθαι καὶ ἐν ταῖς αὐλαῖς ἐξετάζεσθαι καὶ ἐπὶ μέγα προήκειν πλούτου. ἐγὼ δὲ ὑπέρ τε ἀλωπέκων καὶ σαυρῶν καὶ κανθάρων καὶ ὄφεων καὶ λεόντων καὶ τί δρᾷ πάρδαλις καὶ ὅπως πελαργὸς φιλόστοργον καὶ ὅτι ἀηδὼν εὔστομον καὶ πῶς φιλόσοφον ἐλέφας καὶ εἴδη ἰχθύων καὶ γεράνων ἀποδημίας καὶ δρακόντων φύσεις καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ ὅσα ἥδε ἡ συγγραφὴ πεπονημένως ἔχει καὶ φυλάττει, περιέρχομαι· ἀλλὰ οὔ μοι φίλον σὺν τοῖσδε τοῖς πλουσίοις ἀρίθμεῖσθαι καὶ πρὸς ἐκείνους ἐζετάζεσθαι, εἰ δὲ ὧν καὶ ποιηταὶ σοφοὶ καὶ ἄνδρες φύσεως ἀπόρρητα ἰδεῖν τε ἅμα καὶ κατασκέψασθαι δεινοὶ καὶ συγγραφεῖς τῆς πείρας ἐς τὸ μήκιστον προελθόντες ἑαυτοὺς ἠξίωσαν, τούτων τοι καὶ ἐμαυτὸν ἁμωσγέπως ἕνα πειρῶμαι ἀριθμεῖν καὶ ἐθέλω, δῆλον ὡς ἀμείνων ἐμαυτῷ σύμβουλός εἰμι τῆς ἐξ ἐκείνων κρίσεως. βουλοίμην γὰρ ἂν μάθημα ἓν γοῦν πεπαιδευμένον περιγενέσθαι μοι ἢ τὰ ᾀδόμενα τῶν πάνυ πλουσίων χρήματά τε ἅμα καὶ κτήματα. καὶ ὑπὲρ μὲν τούτων ἱκανὰ νῦν.

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 6838B, Folio 10v (from The Medieval Bestiary)

How To Recognize a Grouch

Theophrastus, Characters: Grouchiness 

“Grouchiness is harshness in social interactions. The grouch is the kind of person who:

When asked, “where is this person?” responds, “Don’t interrupt me.”

Or he does not answer when someone addresses him

Or if he is selling something does not tell people who want to buy it how much it costs but asks instead, “what will it get?”

To those who honor him and send him something on holidays, he says that there won’t be anything in return.

He won’t forgive when someone spills something on them or bumps into him or steps on his foot.

Or, once he has refused to give a loan to a friend asking for one, returns later bringing the funds and saying that he’s wasting this money too.

Or he curses the paving stone when he trips in the street

Or he refuses to wait for anyone very long.

Or he never is willing to sing or recite a speech or dance.

He tends not to pray, even to the gods.”

Publicity photo of American actress, Margaret Hamilton and American Muppet, Oscar the Grouch promoting the February 10, 1976 premiere of Episode #0847 of Sesame Street.

(1) ἡ δὲ αὐθάδειά ἐστιν ἀπήνεια ὁμιλίας ἐν λόγοις, ὁ δὲ αὐθάδης τοιοῦτός τις,

(2) οἷος ἐρωτηθείς· “ὁ δεῖνα ποῦ ἐστιν;” εἰπεῖν· “πράγματά μοι μὴ πάρεχε.”

(3) καὶ προσαγορευθεὶς μὴ ἀντιπροσειπεῖν.

(4) καὶ πωλῶν τι μὴ λέγειν τοῖς ὠνουμένοις πόσου ἂν ἀποδοῖτο, ἀλλ᾿ ἐρωτᾶν “τί εὑρίσκει;”

(5) καὶ τοῖς τιμῶσι καὶ πέμπουσιν εἰς τὰς ἑορτὰς εἰπεῖν, ὅτι οὐκ ἂν γένοιτο διδόμενα.
(6) καὶ οὐκ ἔχειν συγγνώμην οὔτε τῷ ῥυπώσαντι αὐτὸν ἀκουσίως οὔτε τῷ ὤσαντι οὔτε τῷ ἐμβάντι.

(7) καὶ φίλῳ δὲ ἔρανον κελεύσαντι εἰσενεγκεῖν εἰπών, ὅτι οὐκ ἂν δοίη, ὕστερον ἥκειν φέρων καὶ λέγειν, ὅτι ἀπόλλυσι καὶ τοῦτο τὸ ἀργύριον.

(8) καὶ προσπταίσας ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ δεινὸς καταράσασθαι τῷ λίθῳ.

(9) καὶ [ἀναμεῖναι] οὐκ ἂν ὑπομείναι πολὺν χρόνον οὐθένα.

(10) καὶ οὔτε ᾆσαι οὔτε ῥῆσιν εἰπεῖν οὔτε ὀρχήσασθαι ἂν ἐθελήσειεν·4

(11) δεινὸς δὲ καὶ τοῖς θεοῖς μὴ ἐπεύχεσθαι.

Image result for oscar the grouch

Hey Tough Guy! Get Comfortable With Masks

Epictetus, Discourses 2.1.15-19

“Just as masks seem frightening and awful to children because of their inexperience, so too do we suffer something similar to current events—it is not different from how children respond to bogeymen. For what is childish? Ignorance. What else is childish? Lack of learning. When a child has learned something, they are no worse off than we are.

What is death? A bogeyman. Turn it around, get personal with it. Look! How can it bite? This little body needs to be separated from the spirit just as it was once before, either now or some time later. Why is it troubling if it happens now? If it doesn’t, it will later. Why? So that the cycle of the universe doesn’t stop. It requires everything that exists now, all things that will happen, and all those that happened before.

What is pain? It’s a bogeyman. Turn it around and get comfortable with it…”

ὡς γὰρ τοῖς παιδίοις τὰ προσωπεῖα φαίνεται δεινὰ καὶ φοβερὰ δι’ ἀπειρίαν, τοιοῦτόν τι καὶ ἡμεῖς πάσχομεν πρὸς τὰ πράγματα δι’ οὐδὲν ἄλλο ἢ ὥσπερ καὶ τὰ παιδία πρὸς τὰς μορμολυκείας. τί γάρ ἐστι παιδίον; ἄγνοια. τί ἐστι παιδίον; ἀμαθία. ἐπεὶ ὅπου οἶδεν, κἀκεῖνα οὐδὲν ἡμῶν ἔλαττον ἔχει.

θάνατος τί ἐστιν; μορμολύκειον. στρέψας αὐτὸ κατάμαθε· ἰδοῦ, πῶς οὐ δάκνει. · ἰδοῦ, πῶς οὐ δάκνει. τὸ σωμάτιον δεῖ χωρισθῆναι τοῦ πνευματίου, ὡς πρότερον ἐκεχώριστο, ἢ νῦν ἢ ὕστερον. τί οὖν ἀγανακτεῖς, εἰ νῦν; εἰ γὰρ μὴνῦν, ὕστερον. διὰ τί; ἵνα ἡ περίοδος ἀνύηται τοῦ κόσμου· χρείαν γὰρ ἔχει τῶν μὲν ἐνισταμένων, τῶν δὲ μελ-λόντων, τῶν δ’ ἠνυσμένων. πόνος τί ἐστιν; μορμολύκειον. στρέψον αὐτὸ καὶ κατάμαθε…”

Portrait of Domenica Morghen as Tragedy and Maddalena Volpato as Comedy (Tragedy and Comedy). by Angelica Kauffman 1791