Monday, November 09, 2020


Different Persons

Plutarch, The E at Delphi 18 (Moralia 392 D-E; tr. Frank Cole Babbitt):
Dead is the man of yesterday, for he is passed into the man of to-day; and the man of to-day is dying as he passes into the man of to-morrow. Nobody remains one person, nor is one person; but we become many persons, even as matter is drawn about some one semblance and common mould with imperceptible movement. Else how is it that, if we remain the same persons, we take delight in some things now, whereas earlier we took delight in different things; that we love or hate opposite things, and so too with our admirations and our disapprovals, and that we use other words and feel other emotions and have no longer the same personal appearance, the same external form, or the same purposes in mind? For without change it is not reasonable that a person should have different experiences and emotions; and if he changes, he is not the same person; and if he is not the same person, he has no permanent being, but changes his very nature as one personality in him succeeds to another. Our senses, through ignorance of reality, falsely tell us that what appears to be is.

ὅ τ᾿ ἐχθὲς εἰς τὸν σήμερον τέθνηκεν, ὁ δὲ σήμερον εἰς τὸν αὔριον ἀποθνῄσκει· μένει δ᾿ οὐδεὶς οὐδ᾿ ἔστιν εἷς, ἀλλὰ γιγνόμεθα πολλοί, περὶ ἕν τι φάντασμα καὶ κοινὸν ἐκμαγεῖον ὕλης περιελαυνομένης καὶ ὀλισθανούσης. ἐπεὶ πῶς οἱ αὐτοὶ μένοντες ἑτέροις χαίρομεν νῦν, ἑτέροις πρότερον, τἀναντία φιλοῦμεν ἢ μισοῦμεν καὶ θαυμάζομεν καὶ ψέγομεν, ἄλλοις δὲ χρώμεθα λόγοις ἄλλοις πάθεσιν, οὐκ εἶδος οὐ μορφὴν οὐ διάνοιαν ἔτι τὴν αὐτὴν ἔχοντες; οὔτε γὰρ ἄνευ μεταβολῆς ἕτερα πάσχειν εἰκός, οὔτε μεταβάλλων ὁ αὐτός ἐστιν· εἰ δ᾿ ὁ αὐτὸς οὐκ ἔστιν, οὐδ᾿ ἔστιν, ἀλλὰ6 τοῦτ᾿ αὐτὸ μεταβάλλει γιγνόμενος ἕτερος ἐξ ἑτέρου. ψεύδεται δ᾿ ἡ αἴσθησις ἀγνοίᾳ τοῦ ὄντος εἶναι τὸ φαινόμενον.

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