Sunday, October 06, 2013


Character Flaws

Seneca, On Benefits 7.26.4-5 (tr. Aubrey Stewart):
One man is crazed with lust, another is the slave of his belly, another gives his whole soul to gain, caring nothing for the means by which he amasses it; some men's minds are disturbed by envy, some blinded by ambition till they are ready to fling themselves on the sword's point. In addition to this, one must reckon sluggishness of mind and old age; and also the opposites of these, restlessness and disturbance of mind, also excessive self-esteem and pride in the very things for which a man ought to be despised. I need not mention obstinate persistence in wrong-doing, or frivolity which cannot remain constant to one point; besides all this, there is headlong rashness, there is timidity which never gives us trustworthy counsel, and the numberless errors with which we struggle, the rashness of the most cowardly, the quarrels of our best friends, and that most common evil of trusting in what is most uncertain, and of undervaluing, when we have obtained it, that which we once never hoped to possess.

alius libidine insanit, alius abdomini servit; alius lucri totus est, cuius summam, non vias, spectat: alius invidia laborat, alius caeca ambitione et in gladios irruente. adice torporem mentis ac senium et huic contrariam inquieti pectoris agitationem tumultusque perpetuos; adice aestimationem sui nimiam et tumorem, ob quae contemnendus est, insolentem. quid contumaciam dicam in perversa nitentium, quid levitatem semper alio transilientem? huc accedat temeritas praeceps et numquam fidele consilium daturus timor et mille errores, quibus volvimur; audacia timidissimorum, discordia familiarissimorum, et, publicum malum, incertissimis fidere, fastidire possessa, quae consequi posse spes non fuit.

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