Sunday, March 25, 2007
Do you ask me what you should regard as especially to be avoided? I say, crowds.7.2:
Quid tibi vitandum praecipue existimes quaeris? turbam.
To consort with the crowd is harmful; there is no person who does not make some vice attractive to us, or stamp it upon us, or taint us unconsciously therewith. Certainly, the greater the mob with which we mingle, the greater the danger.7.8:
Inimica est multorum conversatio: nemo non aliquod nobis vitium aut commendat aut inprimit aut nescientibus allinit. Utique quo maior est populus cui miscemur, hoc periculi plus est.
Withdraw into yourself, as far as you can. Associate with those who will make a better man of you. Welcome those whom you yourself can improve. The process is mutual; for men learn while they teach.7.10-11:
Recede in te ipse quantum potes; cum his versare qui te meliorem facturi sunt, illos admitte quos tu potes facere meliores. Mutuo ista fiunt, et homines dum docent discunt.
In order, however, that I may not to-day have learned exclusively for myself, I shall share with you three excellent sayings, of the same general purport, which have come to my attention. This letter will give you one of them as payment of my debt; the other two you may accept as a contribution in advance. Democritus says: "One man means so much to me as a multitude, and a multitude only as much as one man." The following also was nobly spoken by someone or other, for it is doubtful who the author was; they asked him what was the object of all this study applied to an art that would reach but very few. He replied: "I am content with few, content with one, content with none at all." The third saying - and a noteworthy one, too - is by Epicurus, written to one of the partners of his studies: "I write this not for the many, but for you; each of us is enough of an audience for the other."
Sed ne soli mihi hodie didicerim, communicabo tecum quae occurrunt mihi egregie dicta circa eundem fere sensum tria, ex quibus unum haec epistula in debitum solvet, duo in antecessum accipe. Democritus ait, 'unus mihi pro populo est, et populus pro uno'. Bene et ille, quisquis fuit (ambigitur enim de auctore), cum quaereretur ab illo quo tanta diligentia artis spectaret ad paucissimos perventurae, 'satis sunt' inquit 'mihi pauci, satis est unus, satis est nullus'. Egregie hoc tertium Epicurus, cum uni ex consortibus studiorum suorum scriberet: 'haec' inquit 'ego non multis, sed tibi; satis enim magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus'.