“This would be similar to two people who lived in the same house and one of them despises the structure and the person who built it but still stays there any way. The other does not hate it but claims that the builder made it most skillfully, even though he longs for the time when he can leave because he will no longer need a house.
The first person thinks he is wiser and more prepared to leave because he knows how to claim that the walls are made of lifeless stone and wood and lack much in comparison to the true home. He does not understand, however, that he is only special because he cannot endure what he must—unless he admits that he is upset even though he secretly delights in the beauty of the stone.
As long as we have a body, we must remain in the homes which have been made for us by that good sister of a soul who has the power to build without effort.”
“It follows, then, that the most happy person will need to have friends, if he indeed chooses to gaze upon good and appropriate actions. This is what the activities of a good friend are. People also believe that a happy person’s life should be enjoyable. Life is hard for a solitary person. It is not easy to work constantly on your own. It is easier to do with with others and in partnership with them. Activity which is shared—already necessarily pleasant on its own—will be continuous, which is best for a happy person.
But since the perception of the fact that one is good is desirable and this perception is pleasing on its own, we need to share our friend’s perception that they exist. We achieve this by living together and sharing our words and thoughts. This is exactly what someone might call “living together” for human beings: it does not mean just grazing together like cattle.”
“You have the free time to track down everyone else’s faults and pass judgment on anyone you please? ‘Why does this philosopher have such a big home? Why does that one eat so richly?’ These are the things you say. You stare at other people’s pimples when you’re afflicted with oozing sores!
This is the same thing as if someone who is covered by a gross disease points and laughs at blemishes and warts on the most beautiful bodies. Attack Plato because he looked for money, Aristotle because he took it, Democritus because he ignored it, and Epicurus because he spent it all!
Sure, yell at me about Alcibiades and Phaedrus even though it would be the happiest day in your life if you copied my vices!”
Vobis autem vacat aliena scrutari mala et sententias ferre de quoquam? “Quare hic philosophus laxius habitat? Quare hic lautius cenat?” Papulas observatis alienas, obsiti plurimis ulceribus. Hoc tale est, quale si quis pulcherrimorum corporum naevos aut verrucas derideat, quem foeda scabies 5depascitur. Obicite Platoni, quod petierit pecuniam Aristoteli, quod acceperit, Democrito, quod neglexerit, Epicuro, quod consumpserit; mihi ipsi Alcibiadem et Phaedrum obiectate, evasuri maxime felices, cum primum vobis imitari vitia nostra contigerit!
Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers 2.13: Simon
“Simon was an Athenian and a leather-worker. Socrates used to go to his workshop and talk to him and he wrote down everything he remembered. This is why people call his dialogues “leathered”. There are thirty of them in one book.
[list of dialogues]
People say that Simon was the first person to have dialogues in the Socratic fashion. When Pericles said he would fund him and asked him to join his side, Simon said “I would never sell my freedom of speech”. Another Simon composed speeches On Rhetoric; a second was a doctor around the time of Seleukos Nicanor; a third was a sculptor.”
“I know Simôn and Simôn knows me.” There were two leaders, Nikôn and Simôn. Simon overpowered him because he was a man of the worst ways and it is said that he erased all memory of Nikôn. This proverb is used for people who recognize the evil in one another.”
“Telkhines: evil gods. Or jealous and harmful humans. There were two Telkhines, Simôn and Nikôn. Nikôn overpowered and erase dthe memory of Simôn. So, there is the proverb, “I know Simon and Simon knows me. This is used for those who recognize evil in one another.”
“I know Simôn and Simôn knows me”: There were two leaders who were evil Telkhinians by birth—for they were making the land infertile by spraying it with water from the Styx. They were Simôn and Nikôn. Simon overpowered because he was the most evil in his ways with the result that he erased any memory of Nikôn. For this reason in the proverb they only name Simôn. The proverb is applied to those who recognize the evil in one another.”
“Simôn, Simonos: a proper name and also a proverb: “No one is more thieving than Simôn.” And Aristophanes adds that whenever [people] see Simôn, they immediately turn into wolves. He was a Sophist who took public property for his own. Simôn and Theoros and Kleonymos are perjurers. Aristophanes has, “if a thunderbolt hits perjurers, how did it not burn Simôn, or Kleônumos or Theôros?”
“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.”
“The spirit must be warned that it loves things which will one day leave—no, they are already leaving. Whatever is granted to you by fortune, take it as if it has no guaranty. Seize up the pleasures of your children and allow your children to enjoy you in turn. And drink down every bit of joy without stopping.
Nothing is promised to you for this evening—I have granted too much a pledge—nothing is promised for this hour. You must hurry, we are being chased from behind. Soon this friend will be elsewhere, soon these friendships will be lost lost when the battle’s cry is raised. In truth, everything is stolen away. Poor are you fools who do not know how to live in flight.”
Saepe admonendus est animus, amet ut recessura, immo tamquam recedentia. Quicquid a fortuna datum est, tamquam exempto auctore possideas. Rapite ex liberis voluptates, fruendos vos in vicem liberis date et sine dilatione omne gaudium haurite; nihil de hodierna nocte promittitur—nimis magnam advocationem dedi—, nihil de hac hora. Festinandum est, instatur a tergo. Iam disicietur iste comitatus, iam contubernia ista sublato clamore solventur. Rapina verum omnium est; miseri nescitis in fuga vivere!
COVID is so 2020. Let’s add Monkeypox and Marburg virus to the anxiety pool.
Plutarch, On Music (Moralia 1146c-d)
“The degree to which the best governed states have dedicated themselves to fine music finds ample testimony, especially in the case of Terpander who brought an end to the civil strife that was ruining the Spartans.
There’s also Thaletas of Crete who people say listened to the Delphic oracle and went Sparta and returned people to health with music, saving Sparta from the Pandemic that was gripping the land, as Pratinas claims.
Homer too says that the Greeks stopped a plague with music, for he says that “sons of the Achaeans propitiated the god with song and dance all day long / singing the noble paean and praising the / far-shooter who took pleasure in hearing the song.”
I’ll leave those verses as the final words in my argument about music, good teacher, since you started this discussion by quoting them to us. In truth, music’s first and finest labor is to give thanks back to the gods, and after that comes a cleansing of the soul, sure tone, and sustained harmony.”
“Because I recognized that philosophy had been most expertly explored in the Greek language, I believed that anyone from Rome who was inclined toward the subject would prefer to read it in Greek, if they were educated in Greek doctrines. If they shuddered at Greek arts and learning, they would not be interested in those very matters which could not be understood without Greek. So, I did not want to write what the unlearned could not understand or what the learned would not care to.”
Nam cum philosophiam viderem diligentissime Graecis litteris explicatam, existimavi si qui de nostris eius studio tenerentur, si essent Graecis doctrinis eruditi, Graeca potius quam nostra lecturos; sin a Graecorum artibus et disciplinis abhorrerent, ne haec quidem curaturos quae sine eruditione Graeca intellegi non possunt; itaque ea nolui scribere quae nec indocti intellegere possent nec docti legere curarent.
“Examine in yourself whether you desire to be wealthy or lucky. If you want wealth, know that it is neither good nor wholly yours. If you desire to be happy understand that it is good and under your power. One is the timely gift of chance, the other is a choice.”
“With the exception of that dream about Marius, I don’t remember any one clearly. How many of the nights during my long life have been useless! Now too, thanks to a break in my political work, I have stopped studying at night and I have added daytime napping—which I never used to do at all. But I am neither bothered by any dream in so much sleep—and certainly not concerning these great affairs, and nor do I ever think more to myself that must be dreaming when I actually see the magistrates in the forum and the senators in the senate.”
Mihi quidem praeter hoc Marianum nihil sane, quod meminerim. Frustra igitur consumptae tot noctes tam longa in aetate! Nunc quidem propter intermissionem forensis operae et lucubrationes detraxi et meridiationes addidi, quibus uti antea non solebam, nec tam multum dormiens ullo somnio sum admonitus, tantis praesertim de rebus, nec mihi magis umquam videor, quam cum aut in foro magistratus aut in curia senatum video, somniare.
“To start with, only false dreams accompany naps during the day and, in addition, even nighttime dreams often prophesy the opposite facts. For example, crying, being beaten or even sometimes having your throat slit in dreams actually predicts profitable or prosperous futures. Laughing or scarfing down honey-sweet treats or having sex, on the contrary, will foretell someone being troubled by depression, physical exhaustion and other kinds of curses.”
Nam praeter quod diurnae quietis imagines falsae perhibentur, tunc etiam nocturnae visiones contrarios eventus nonnumquam pronuntiant. Denique flere et vapulare et nonnumquam iugulari lucrosum prosperumque proventum nuntiant; contra ridere et mellitis dulciolis ventrem saginare vel in voluptatem Veneriam convenire tristitie animi, languore corporis, damnisque ceteris vexatum iri praedicabunt.
“I would not be able to live here, where the night and day return and depart in equal turn, if I did not split the difference with my customary midday nap.”
Ego hic, ubi nox et dies modice redit et abit, tamen aestivo die, si non diffinderem meo insiticio somno meridie, vivere non possum. Illic in semenstri die aut nocte quem ad modum quicquam seri aut alescere aut meti possit?
“Come now, what disturbs the sound of our shared song?
One who once wore finely made and beautiful hair
One you know was pleasing to thirsty Cinara,
And who would drink bright Falernian in the middle of the day,
Now a small meal pleases him followed by a nap in the soft plants by a river–
It is not shameful to have been a fool, but only not to stop being one.”
Nunc age, quid nostrum concentum dividat audi.
quem tenues decuere togae nitidique capilli,
quem scis immunem Cinarae placuisse rapaci,
quem bibulum liquidi media de luce Falerni,
cena brevis iuvat et prope rivum somnus in herba;
nec lusisse pudet, sed non incidere ludum.