Tuesday, January 05, 2016


Love of Truth

Galen, On the Natural Faculties 3.10 (tr. A.J. Brock):
For I find that a great many things which have been conclusively demonstrated by the Ancients are unintelligible to the bulk of the Moderns owing to their ignorance—nay, that, by reason of their laziness, they will not even make an attempt to comprehend them; and even if any of them have understood them, they have not given them impartial examination.

The fact is that he whose purpose is to know anything better than the multitude do must far surpass all others both as regards his nature and his early training. And when he reaches early adolescence he must become possessed with an ardent love for truth, like one inspired; neither day nor night may he cease to urge and strain himself in order to learn thoroughly all that has been said by the most illustrious of the Ancients. And when he has learnt this, then for a prolonged period he must test and prove it, observing what part of it is in agreement, and what in disagreement with obvious fact; thus he will choose this and turn away from that.

πάμπολλα γὰρ εὑρίσκω τελέως μὲν ἀποδεδειγμένα τοῖς παλαιοῖς, οὔτε δὲ συνετὰ τοῖς πολλοῖς τῶν νῦν δι᾿ ἀμαθίαν ἀλλ᾿ οὐδ᾿ ἐπιχειρούμενα γιγνώσκεσθαι διὰ ῥᾳθυμίαν, οὔτ᾿, εἰ καὶ γνωσθείη τινί, δικαίως ἐξεταζόμενα.

χρὴ γὰρ τὸν μέλλοντα γνώσεσθαί τι τῶν πολλῶν ἄμεινον εὐθὺς μὲν καὶ τῇ φύσει καὶ τῇ πρώτῃ διδασκαλίᾳ πολὺ τῶν ἄλλων διενεγκεῖν· ἐπειδὰν δὲ γένηται μειράκιον, ἀληθείας τινὰ σχεῖν ἐρωτικὴν μανίαν, ὥσπερ ἐνθουσιῶντα καὶ μήθ᾿ ἡμέρας μήτε νυκτὸς διαλείπειν σπεύδοντά τε καὶ συντεταμένον ἐκμαθεῖν, ὅσα τοῖς ἐνδοξοτάτοις εἴρηται τῶν παλαιῶν· ἐπειδὰν δ᾿ ἐκμάθῃ, κρίνειν αὐτὰ καὶ βασανίζειν χρόνῳ παμπόλλῳ καὶ σκοπεῖν, πόσα μὲν ὁμολογεῖ τοῖς ἐναργῶς φαινομένοις, πόσα δὲ διαφέρεται, καὶ οὕτω τὰ μὲν αἱρεῖσθαι, τὰ δ᾿ ἀποστρέφεσθαι.

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