Plato Says It’s Like We’re Drunk All The Time

Plato Phadeo 79c2-c8

“Therefore, weren’t we saying this long before that the mind, whenever it uses the body for examining anything—either through seeing or hearing or any other kind of perception, since examining a thing through the body is to examine it through the senses—at that moment the mind is dragged down by body towards things that never exist in the same way and it wanders and is troubled and gets dizzy as if it’s drunk, since it has been contaminated by those sorts of things.”

Οὐκοῦν καὶ τόδε πάλαι ἐλέγομεν, ὅτι ἡ ψυχή, ὅταν μὲν τῷ σώματι προσχρῆται εἰς τὸ σκοπεῖν τι ἢ διὰ τοῦ ὁρᾶν ἢ διὰ τοῦ ἀκούειν ἢ δι’ ἄλλης τινὸς αἰσθήσεως—τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν τὸ διὰ τοῦ σώματος, τὸ δι’ αἰσθήσεως σκοπεῖν τι—τότε μὲν ἕλκεται ὑπὸ τοῦ σώματος εἰς τὰ οὐδέποτε κατὰ ταὐτὰ ἔχοντα, καὶ αὐτὴ πλανᾶται καὶ ταράττεται καὶ εἰλιγγιᾷ ὥσπερ μεθύουσα, ἅτε τοιούτων ἐφαπτομένη;

Illumination from AM 147 4to of two intoxicated 15th century Icelanders

Introspection and Perception: Ptolemais of Cyrene

Ptolemais of Cyrene [Porph. in Ptol. harm. p. 25 Düring ] consulted french translation

“Ptolemais of Cyrene wrote about these things briefly in her investigation and Didymos the musician addressed it as well among many other this in his work On the Difference Between Aristoksenians and Pythagoreians… Ptolemais wrote this:

What is the difference in those who are exceptional at music? Some put reason forward as the matter, but others offer sensation, while there are those who posit both. The Pythagoreans offer reason as the issue, those of them who challenge musiciians to abandon perception and instead to accept reason itself as a sufficient criterion. Musicians are refuted when they start by taking up perception in the beginning only to forget it. Instrumentalists tend to emphasize perception because the contemplation of theory is useless to them or in some way weak.

What is the difference of those who believe that both reason and perception are important criteria? Some propose that both perception and reason have similar power, while others position one in front of the other. Aristoxenos of Tarantum thinks that they matter equally. He believes that perception cannot sustain itself apart from reason and that reason is not powerful enough alone to persist without the basic foundations of perception and that it eventually returns the product of introspection back to perception.”

Why does he want to set perception before reasons? It is because of order not power. For, he says, whenever what is sensed in any way takes root then we need to privilege reason in any theory about it. Who else values both principles similarly? Pythagoras and his followers. For they want perception, as a kind of guide, to start by taking the inspirations which they pass on to reason and for reason then to move on from receiving these sensations and to adapt them on its own in moving away from perception. For this reason, if a system of thought founded upon reason seems no longer perfectly fit to perception, they do not undermine it, but instead reproach the sensation for departing from its meaning since reason discovers what is correct through itself and refutes perception.

Who is in opposition to them? Some of the musicians from the school of Aristoxenos, especially those who have assumed a theoretical mindset but have also adding to it from instrumental practice. These people believe that perception is the greater power and that reason is second only because it is useful.”

Περὶ τούτων συντόμως μὲν καὶ ἡ Κυρηναία Πτολεμαῒς ἔγραψεν ἐν τῇ εἰσαγωγῇ, ἐπῆλθε δὲ καὶ Δίδυμος ὁ μουσικὸς διὰ πλειόνων ἐν τῷ Περὶ τῆς διαφορᾶς τῶν ᾿Αριστοξενείων τε καὶ Πυθαγορείων. … γράφει δὴ ἡ μὲν Πτολεμαῒς τάδε· «Τῶν ἐν τῇ μουσικῇ διαπρεψάντων τίς ἡ διαφορά; οἱ μὲν γὰρ τὸν λόγον προέκριναν αὐτόν, οἱ δὲ τὴν αἴσθησιν, οἱ δὲ τὸ συναμφότερον. τὸν μὲν λόγον προέκρινον αὐτὸν τῶν Πυθαγορείων ὅσοι μᾶλλον ἐφιλονείκησαν πρὸς τοὺς μουσικοὺς τελέως τὴν αἴσθησιν ἐκβάλλειν, τὸν δὲ λόγον ὡς αὔταρκες κριτήριον καθ’ ἑαυτὸν εἰσφέρειν. ἐλέγχονται δ’ οὗτοι πάντως τι αἰσθητὸν παραλαμβάνοντες ἐν ἀρχῇ καὶ ἐπιλανθανόμενοι. τὴν δ’ αἴσθησιν προέκριναν οἱ ὀργανικοί, οἷς ἢ οὐδαμῶς ἔννοια θεωρίας ἐγένετο ἢ ἀσθενής. τῶν δὲ τὸ συναμφότερον προκρινάντων τίς ἡ διαφορά; οἱ μὲν ὁμοίως ἀμφότερα ἰσοδυναμοῦντα παρέλαβον τήν τ’ αἴσθησιν καὶ τὸν λόγον, οἱ δὲ τὸ ἕτερον προηγούμενον, τὸ δ’ ἕτερον ἑπόμενον. ὁμοίως μὲν ἀμφότερα ᾿Αριστόξενος ὁ Ταραντῖνος. οὔτε γὰρ αἰσθητὸν δύναται συστῆναι καθ’ αὑτὸ δίχα λόγου, οὔτε λόγος ἰσχυρότερός ἐστι παραστῆσαί τι μὴ τὰς ἀρχὰς λαβὼν παρὰ τῆς αἰσθήσεως, καὶ τὸ τέλος τοῦ θεωρήματος ὁμολογούμενον πάλιν τῇ αἰσθήσει ἀποδιδούς.

τί δὲ μᾶλλον βούλεται προηγεῖσθαι τὴν αἴσθησιν τοῦ λόγου; τῇ τάξει, οὐ τῇ δυνάμει. ὅταν γάρ, φησι, ταύτῃ τὸ αἰσθητὸν συναφθῇ ὁποῖόν ποτέ ἐστι, τότε δεῖν ἡμᾶς καὶ τὸν λόγον προάγειν εἰς τὴν τούτου θεωρίαν. τίνες τὸ συναμφότερον ὁμοίως; Πυθαγόρας καὶ οἱ διαδεξάμενοι. βούλονται γὰρ αὐτοὶ τὴν μὲν αἴσθησιν ὡς ὁδηγὸν τοῦ λόγου ἐν ἀρχῇ παραλαμβάνειν πρὸς τὸ οἱονεὶ ζώπυρά τινα παραδιδόναι αὐτῷ, τὸν δὲ λόγον ἐκ τούτων ὁρμηθέντα καθ’ ἑαυτὸν πραγματεύεσθαι ἀποστάντα τῆς αἰσθήσεως, ὅθεν κἂν τὸ σύστημα τὸ ὑπὸ τοῦ λόγου εὑρηθὲν τῆς πραγματείας μηκέτι συνᾴδῃ τῇ αἰσθήσει, οὐκ ἐπιστρέφονται, ἀλλ’ ἐπεγκαλοῦσι λέγοντες τὴν μὲν αἴσθησιν πλανᾶσθαι, τὸν δὲ λόγον εὑρηκέναι τὸ ὀρθὸν καθ’ ἑαυτὸν καὶ ἀπελέγχειν τὴν αἴσθησιν. τίνες ἐναντίως τούτοις; ἔνιοι τῶν ἀπ’ ᾿Αριστοξένου μουσικῶν, ὅσοι κατὰ μὲν τὴν ἔννοιαν θεωρίαν ἔλαβον, ἀπὸ δ’ ὀργανικῆς ἕξεως προκόψαντες. οὗτοι γὰρ τὴν μὲν αἴσθησιν ὡς κυρίαν ἔθεσαν, τὸν δὲ λόγον ὡς παρεπόμενον πρὸς μόνον τὸ χρειῶδες.

Allegory of Visual Perception

Nothing is So Simple. Nothing is So Great.

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 2.1023-1039

“Listen, put your mind now on true reason.
For a new matter rises fiercely to meet your ears
and a new image of the universe strives to show itself.

Nothing is so simple that at first sight
it is not rather difficult to believe;
and in the same way nothing is so great or miraculous
that over time we don’t slowly fail to behold it with wonder.

Consider first the clear and pure color of the sky
and everything it holds, the wandering stars
the moon and the gleam of the sun with its bright light;
If suddenly mortals now saw all these things
for the first time with no prior experience of them,
could anything possibly be said to be more wondrous
or would the races of men have dared to believe they existed?
Nothing. I believe that is how striking the sight would be.
But now, since we are so used to seeing them,
no one thinks it worthwhile to gaze at heaven’s bright splendor.”

Nunc animum nobis adhibe veram ad rationem.
nam tibi vehementer nova res molitur ad auris
accedere et nova se species ostendere rerum.
sed neque tam facilis res ulla est, quin ea primum
difficilis magis ad credendum constet, itemque
nil adeo magnum neque tam mirabile quicquam,
quod non paulatim minuant mirarier omnes,
principio caeli clarum purumque colorem
quaeque in se cohibet, palantia sidera passim,
lunamque et solis praeclara luce nitorem;
omnia quae nunc si primum mortalibus essent
ex improviso si sint obiecta repente,
quid magis his rebus poterat mirabile dici,
aut minus ante quod auderent fore credere gentes?
nil, ut opinor; ita haec species miranda fuisset.
quam tibi iam nemo fessus satiate videndi,
suspicere in caeli dignatur lucida templa.

 

Image result for Ancient Roman Night sky
Image taken from Pinterest,

Plato Says It’s Like We’re Drunk All The Time

Plato Phadeo 79c2-c8

“Therefore, weren’t we saying this long before that the mind, whenever it uses the body for examining anything—either through seeing or hearing or any other kind of perception, since examining a thing through the body is to examine it through the senses—at that moment the mind is dragged down by body towards things that never exist in the same way and it wanders and is troubled and gets dizzy as if it’s drunk, since it has been contaminated by those sorts of things.”

Οὐκοῦν καὶ τόδε πάλαι ἐλέγομεν, ὅτι ἡ ψυχή, ὅταν μὲν τῷ σώματι προσχρῆται εἰς τὸ σκοπεῖν τι ἢ διὰ τοῦ ὁρᾶν ἢ διὰ τοῦ ἀκούειν ἢ δι’ ἄλλης τινὸς αἰσθήσεως—τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν τὸ διὰ τοῦ σώματος, τὸ δι’ αἰσθήσεως σκοπεῖν τι—τότε μὲν ἕλκεται ὑπὸ τοῦ σώματος εἰς τὰ οὐδέποτε κατὰ ταὐτὰ ἔχοντα, καὶ αὐτὴ πλανᾶται καὶ ταράττεται καὶ εἰλιγγιᾷ ὥσπερ μεθύουσα, ἅτε τοιούτων ἐφαπτομένη;

Illumination from AM 147 4to of two intoxicated 15th century Icelanders

Introspection and Perception: Ptolemais of Cyrene

Ptolemais of Cyrene [Porph. in Ptol. harm. p. 25 Düring ] consulted french translation

“Ptolemais of Cyrene wrote about these things briefly in her investigation and Didymos the musician addressed it as well among many other this in his work On the Difference Between Aristoksenians and Pythagoreians… Ptolemais wrote this:

What is the difference in those who are exceptional at music? Some put reason forward as the matter, but others offer sensation, while there are those who posit both. The Pythagoreans offer reason as the issue, those of them who challenge musiciians to abandon perception and instead to accept reason itself as a sufficient criterion. Musicians are refuted when they start by taking up perception in the beginning only to forget it. Instrumentalists tend to emphasize perception because the contemplation of theory is useless to them or in some way weak.

What is the difference of those who believe that both reason and perception are important criteria? Some propose that both perception and reason have similar power, while others position one in front of the other. Aristoxenos of Tarantum thinks that they matter equally. He believes that perception cannot sustain itself apart from reason and that reason is not powerful enough alone to persist without the basic foundations of perception and that it eventually returns the product of introspection back to perception.”

Why does he want to set perception before reasons? It is because of order not power. For, he says, whenever what is sensed in any way takes root then we need to privilege reason in any theory about it. Who else values both principles similarly? Pythagoras and his followers. For they want perception, as a kind of guide, to start by taking the inspirations which they pass on to reason and for reason then to move on from receiving these sensations and to adapt them on its own in moving away from perception. For this reason, if a system of thought founded upon reason seems no longer perfectly fit to perception, they do not undermine it, but instead reproach the sensation for departing from its meaning since reason discovers what is correct through itself and refutes perception.

Who is in opposition to them? Some of the musicians from the school of Aristoxenos, especially those who have assumed a theoretical mindset but have also adding to it from instrumental practice. These people believe that perception is the greater power and that reason is second only because it is useful.”

Περὶ τούτων συντόμως μὲν καὶ ἡ Κυρηναία Πτολεμαῒς ἔγραψεν ἐν τῇ εἰσαγωγῇ, ἐπῆλθε δὲ καὶ Δίδυμος ὁ μουσικὸς διὰ πλειόνων ἐν τῷ Περὶ τῆς διαφορᾶς τῶν ᾿Αριστοξενείων τε καὶ Πυθαγορείων. … γράφει δὴ ἡ μὲν Πτολεμαῒς τάδε· «Τῶν ἐν τῇ μουσικῇ διαπρεψάντων τίς ἡ διαφορά; οἱ μὲν γὰρ τὸν λόγον προέκριναν αὐτόν, οἱ δὲ τὴν αἴσθησιν, οἱ δὲ τὸ συναμφότερον. τὸν μὲν λόγον προέκρινον αὐτὸν τῶν Πυθαγορείων ὅσοι μᾶλλον ἐφιλονείκησαν πρὸς τοὺς μουσικοὺς τελέως τὴν αἴσθησιν ἐκβάλλειν, τὸν δὲ λόγον ὡς αὔταρκες κριτήριον καθ’ ἑαυτὸν εἰσφέρειν. ἐλέγχονται δ’ οὗτοι πάντως τι αἰσθητὸν παραλαμβάνοντες ἐν ἀρχῇ καὶ ἐπιλανθανόμενοι. τὴν δ’ αἴσθησιν προέκριναν οἱ ὀργανικοί, οἷς ἢ οὐδαμῶς ἔννοια θεωρίας ἐγένετο ἢ ἀσθενής. τῶν δὲ τὸ συναμφότερον προκρινάντων τίς ἡ διαφορά; οἱ μὲν ὁμοίως ἀμφότερα ἰσοδυναμοῦντα παρέλαβον τήν τ’ αἴσθησιν καὶ τὸν λόγον, οἱ δὲ τὸ ἕτερον προηγούμενον, τὸ δ’ ἕτερον ἑπόμενον. ὁμοίως μὲν ἀμφότερα ᾿Αριστόξενος ὁ Ταραντῖνος. οὔτε γὰρ αἰσθητὸν δύναται συστῆναι καθ’ αὑτὸ δίχα λόγου, οὔτε λόγος ἰσχυρότερός ἐστι παραστῆσαί τι μὴ τὰς ἀρχὰς λαβὼν παρὰ τῆς αἰσθήσεως, καὶ τὸ τέλος τοῦ θεωρήματος ὁμολογούμενον πάλιν τῇ αἰσθήσει ἀποδιδούς.

τί δὲ μᾶλλον βούλεται προηγεῖσθαι τὴν αἴσθησιν τοῦ λόγου; τῇ τάξει, οὐ τῇ δυνάμει. ὅταν γάρ, φησι, ταύτῃ τὸ αἰσθητὸν συναφθῇ ὁποῖόν ποτέ ἐστι, τότε δεῖν ἡμᾶς καὶ τὸν λόγον προάγειν εἰς τὴν τούτου θεωρίαν. τίνες τὸ συναμφότερον ὁμοίως; Πυθαγόρας καὶ οἱ διαδεξάμενοι. βούλονται γὰρ αὐτοὶ τὴν μὲν αἴσθησιν ὡς ὁδηγὸν τοῦ λόγου ἐν ἀρχῇ παραλαμβάνειν πρὸς τὸ οἱονεὶ ζώπυρά τινα παραδιδόναι αὐτῷ, τὸν δὲ λόγον ἐκ τούτων ὁρμηθέντα καθ’ ἑαυτὸν πραγματεύεσθαι ἀποστάντα τῆς αἰσθήσεως, ὅθεν κἂν τὸ σύστημα τὸ ὑπὸ τοῦ λόγου εὑρηθὲν τῆς πραγματείας μηκέτι συνᾴδῃ τῇ αἰσθήσει, οὐκ ἐπιστρέφονται, ἀλλ’ ἐπεγκαλοῦσι λέγοντες τὴν μὲν αἴσθησιν πλανᾶσθαι, τὸν δὲ λόγον εὑρηκέναι τὸ ὀρθὸν καθ’ ἑαυτὸν καὶ ἀπελέγχειν τὴν αἴσθησιν. τίνες ἐναντίως τούτοις; ἔνιοι τῶν ἀπ’ ᾿Αριστοξένου μουσικῶν, ὅσοι κατὰ μὲν τὴν ἔννοιαν θεωρίαν ἔλαβον, ἀπὸ δ’ ὀργανικῆς ἕξεως προκόψαντες. οὗτοι γὰρ τὴν μὲν αἴσθησιν ὡς κυρίαν ἔθεσαν, τὸν δὲ λόγον ὡς παρεπόμενον πρὸς μόνον τὸ χρειῶδες.

Allegory of Visual Perception

Hearing Color, Seeing Words

Aristotle, On Gorgias 980b

“For how can someone express in words what they have seen? Or how is it possible for a thing to be clear to someone who has only heard it but has not seen it? For just as sight cannot recognize sounds, so too hearing cannot sense colors. So, the speaker speaks but not a color or a thing. How can someone communicate what is not actually in their mind in speech or in any other sign which is different from the thing itself other than through a color, if a thing is seen, or a sound if something is heard?

To start, no one speaks sound or color, but words. For this reason, it is not possible to think a color but only to see it nor a sound but only to hear it. Since we accept that we know and read words, how then does someone who hears the same thing conceptualize it?”

ὃ γὰρ εἶδε, πῶς ἄν τις, φησί, τοῦτο εἴποι λόγῳ; ἢ πῶς ἂν ἐκεῖνο δῆλον ἀκούσαντι γίγνοιτο, μὴ ἰδόντι; ὥσπερ γὰρ οὐδὲ ἡ ὄψις τοὺς φθόγγους γιγνώσκει, οὕτως οὐδὲ ἡ ἀκοὴ τὰ χρώματα ἀκούει, ἀλλὰ φθόγγους· καὶ λέγει ὁ λέγων, ἀλλ᾿ οὐ χρῶμα οὐδὲ πρᾶγμα. ὃ οὖν τις μὴ ἐννοεῖ, πῶς ἂν αὐτὸ παρ᾿ ἄλλου λόγῳ ἢ σημείῳ τινί, ἑτέρῳ τοῦ πράγματος, ἐννοήσειεν, ἀλλ᾿ ἢ ἐὰν μὲν χρῶμα, ἰδών, ἐὰν δὲ <φθόγγος, ἀκροώ> μενος; ἀρχὴν γὰρ οὐ<δεὶς> λέγει <φθόγ>γον οὐδὲ χρῶμα, ἀλλὰ λόγον· ὥστ᾿ οὐδὲ διανοεῖσθαι χρῶμα ἔστιν, ἀλλ᾿ ὁρᾶν, οὐδὲ ψόφον, ἀλλ᾿ ἀκούειν. εἰ δὲ καὶ ἐνδέχεται γιγνώσκειν τε καὶ ἀναγιγνώσκειν λόγον, ἀλλὰ πῶς ὁ ἀκούων τὸ αὐτὸ ἐννοήσει;

File:Modern Tropical Art-Window of Perception.jpg
Window of Perception 

Nothing is So Simple. Nothing is So Great.

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 2.1023-1039

“Listen, put your mind now on true reason.
For a new matter rises fiercely to meet your ears
and a new image of the universe strives to show itself.

Nothing is so simple that at first sight
it is not rather difficult to believe;
and in the same way nothing is so great or miraculous
that over time we don’t slowly fail to behold it with wonder.

Consider first the clear and pure color of the sky
and everything it holds, the wandering stars
the moon and the gleam of the sun with its bright light;
If suddenly mortals now saw all these things
for the first time with no prior experience of them,
could anything possibly be said to be more wondrous
or would the races of men have dared to believe they existed?
Nothing. I believe that is how striking the sight would be.
But now, since we are so used to seeing them,
no one thinks it worthwhile to gaze at heaven’s bright splendor.”

Nunc animum nobis adhibe veram ad rationem.
nam tibi vehementer nova res molitur ad auris
accedere et nova se species ostendere rerum.
sed neque tam facilis res ulla est, quin ea primum
difficilis magis ad credendum constet, itemque
nil adeo magnum neque tam mirabile quicquam,
quod non paulatim minuant mirarier omnes,
principio caeli clarum purumque colorem
quaeque in se cohibet, palantia sidera passim,
lunamque et solis praeclara luce nitorem;
omnia quae nunc si primum mortalibus essent
ex improviso si sint obiecta repente,
quid magis his rebus poterat mirabile dici,
aut minus ante quod auderent fore credere gentes?
nil, ut opinor; ita haec species miranda fuisset.
quam tibi iam nemo fessus satiate videndi,
suspicere in caeli dignatur lucida templa.

 

Image result for Ancient Roman Night sky
Image taken from Pinterest,

What Makes us More Human, Hearing or Seeing?

Aristotle, 437a On Sense and Sensible Objects

“Of the senses, sight is more important for necessities and on its own, but for the mind and for indirect reasons, hearing is more important. For, while the power of sight introduces many differences of every kind because of the fact that all bodies have color of some sort and as a result we perceive things which are common through this sense (And by “common” I mean aspects of shape, size, movement and number), hearing only informs us about difference of sound, and to minor differences in creatures’ voices.

But, indirectly, hearing is most important for understanding. For speech is responsible for learning when it is heard. But it is not this way on its own but indirectly. For it is comprised of words, and and each word is a symbol. As a result, when people are deprived of one of the senses from birth, the blind are wiser than the deaf and mute.”

Αὐτῶν δὲ τούτων πρὸς μὲν τὰ ἀναγκαῖα κρείττων ἡ ὄψις καὶ καθ᾿ αὑτήν, πρὸς δὲ νοῦν καὶ κατὰ συμβεβηκὸς ἡ ἀκοή. διαφορὰς μὲν γὰρ πολλὰς εἰσαγγέλλει καὶ παντοδαπὰς ἡ τῆς ὄψεως δύναμις διὰ τὸ πάντα τὰ σώματα μετέχειν χρώματος, ὥστε καὶ τὰ κοινὰ διὰ ταύτης αἰσθάνεσθαι μάλιστα (λέγω δὲ κοινὰ σχῆμα, μέγεθος, κίνησιν, ἀριθμόν)· ἡ δ᾿ ἀκοὴ τὰς τοῦ ψόφου διαφορὰς μόνον, ὀλίγοις δὲ καὶ τὰς τῆς φωνῆς. κατὰ συμβεβηκὸς δὲ πρὸς φρόνησιν ἡ ἀκοὴ πλεῖστον συμβάλλεται μέρος. ὁ γὰρ λόγος αἴτιός ἐστι τῆς μαθήσεως ἀκουστὸς ὤν, οὐ καθ᾿ αὑτὸν ἀλλὰ κατὰ συμβεβηκός· ἐξ ὀνομάτων γὰρ σύγκειται, τῶν δ᾿ ὀνομάτων ἕκαστον σύμβολόν ἐστιν. διόπερ φρονιμώτεροι τῶν ἐκ γενετῆς ἐστερημένων εἰσὶν ἑκατέρας τῆς αἰσθήσεως οἱ τυφλοὶ τῶν ἐνεῶν καὶ κωφῶν.

Human ear complaining to Nature from the Spiegel der Weisheit manuscript (Salzburg, 1430). <em></dt><dd class=

Nothing is So Simple. Nothing is So Great

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 2.1023-1039

“Listen, put your mind now on true reason.
For a new matter rises fiercely to meet your ears
and a new image of the universe strives to show itself.

Nothing is so simple that at first sight
it is not rather difficult to believe;
and in the same way nothing is so great or miraculous
that over time we don’t slowly fail to behold it with wonder.

Consider first the clear and pure color of the sky
and everything it holds, the wandering stars
the moon and the gleam of the sun with its bright light;
If suddenly mortals now saw all these things
for the first time with no prior experience of them,
could anything possibly be said to be more wondrous
or would the races of men have dared to believe they existed?
Nothing. I believe that is how striking the sight would be.
But now, since we are so used to seeing them,
no one thinks it worthwhile to gaze at heaven’s bright splendor.”

Nunc animum nobis adhibe veram ad rationem.
nam tibi vehementer nova res molitur ad auris
accedere et nova se species ostendere rerum.
sed neque tam facilis res ulla est, quin ea primum
difficilis magis ad credendum constet, itemque
nil adeo magnum neque tam mirabile quicquam,
quod non paulatim minuant mirarier omnes,
principio caeli clarum purumque colorem
quaeque in se cohibet, palantia sidera passim,
lunamque et solis praeclara luce nitorem;
omnia quae nunc si primum mortalibus essent
ex improviso si sint obiecta repente,
quid magis his rebus poterat mirabile dici,
aut minus ante quod auderent fore credere gentes?
nil, ut opinor; ita haec species miranda fuisset.
quam tibi iam nemo fessus satiate videndi,
suspicere in caeli dignatur lucida templa.

 

Image result for Ancient Roman Night sky
Image taken from Pinterest,

In Sleep Our Dreams Seem Real: Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 4.453-461

“And when sleep has bound our limbs with sweet
slumber and the whole body lies in deep repose,
we still seem to ourselves to be awake and to move
our limbs—in the obscure darkness of night.
We think that we see the sun and the light of day;
we seem to trade a closed room or the sky, sea,
rivers and mountains—-we cross fields on our feet.
We hear sounds when the heavy quiet of night
hangs over everything; we utter words while staying silent.”

Denique cum suavi devinxit membra sopore
somnus et in summa corpus iacet omne quiete,
tum vigilare tamen nobis et membra movere
nostra videmur, et in noctis caligine caeca
cernere censemus solem lumenque diurnum,
conclusoque loco caelum mare flumina montis
mutare et campos pedibus transire videmur,
et sonitus audire, severa silentia noctis
undique cum constent, et reddere dicta tacentes.