Thursday, July 29, 2004
Seneca, Epistulae Morales
I'll tell you a way to judge our character -- you'll find hardly anyone who could live with his door open. It's our guilt, not our haughtiness, that has stationed doormen on guard. We live in such a way that to be seen suddenly is to be caught in a crime. But what does it profit a man to conceal himself and avoid the eyes and ears of his fellows? A good conscience invites a crowd, but a guilty one is worried and troubled even in solitude. If the things you do are honorable, let everyone know; if they are shameful, what difference does it make if no one else knows, when you know? How wretched you are if you set a small value on this witness!
rem dicam ex qua mores aestimes nostros: vix quemquam invenies qui possit aperto ostio vivere. ianitores conscientia nostra, non superbia opposuit: sic vivimus ut deprendi sit subito aspici. quid autem prodest recondere se et oculos hominum auresque vitare? bona conscientia turbam advocat, mala etiam in solitudine anxia atque sollicita est. si honesta sunt quae facis, omnes sciant; si turpia, quid refert neminem scire cum tu scias? o te miserum si contemnis hunc testem!