Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Most Men

Isocrates 2.45 (tr. George Norlin):
For if we are willing to survey human nature as a whole, we shall find that the majority of men do not take pleasure in the food that is the most wholesome, nor in the pursuits that are the most honorable, nor in the actions that are the noblest, nor in the creatures that are the most useful, but that they have tastes which are in every way contrary to their best interests, while they view those who have some regard for their duty as men of austere and laborious lives.

ὅλως γὰρ εἰ 'θέλοιμεν σκοπεῖν τὰς φύσεις τὰς τῶν ἀνθρώπων, εὑρήσομεν τοὺς πολλοὺς αὐτῶν οὔτε τῶν σιτίων χαίροντας τοῖς ὑγιεινοτάτοις οὔτε τῶν ἐπιτηδευμάτων τοῖς καλλίστοις οὔτε τῶν πραγμάτων τοῖς βελτίστοις οὔτε τῶν θρεμμάτων τοῖς ὠφελιμωτάτοις, ἀλλὰ παντάπασιν ἐναντίας τῷ συμφέροντι τὰς ἡδονὰς ἔχοντας, καὶ δοκοῦντας καρτερικοὺς καὶ φιλοπόνους εἶναι τοὺς τῶν δεόντων τι ποιοῦντας.
Id., 2.46:
[I]t irks them to take account of their own business and it delights them to discuss the business of others.

λυποῦνται μὲν περὶ τῶν ἰδίων λογιζόμενοι, χαίρουσι δὲ περὶ τῶν ἀλλοτρίων διαλεγόμενοι.
Id., 2.47:
Observe them when they are in each other's company, and you will find them giving and taking abuse; observe them when they are by themselves, and you will find them occupied, not with plans, but with idle dreams.

εὕροι δ' ἄν τις αὐτοὺς ἐν μὲν ταῖς πρὸς ἀλλήλους συνουσίαις ἢ λοιδοροῦντας ἢ λοιδορουμένους, ἐν δὲ ταῖς ἐρημίαις οὐ βουλευομένους ἀλλ' εὐχομένους.

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