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The Complete Works Volume 3: Essays and Miscellanies by Plutarch

Part 8 out of 17

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attended with suitable epithets. As in these lines,

Themis the venerable and admired,
And Venus beauteous with her bending brows,
Fair Dione, and June crowned with gold.
(Hesiod, "Theogony," 16.)

And in these,

From Hellen kings renowned for giving laws,
Great Dorus and the mighty Xuthus sprang,
And Aeolus, whose chief delight was horse.

For if poets did not take this liberty, how mean, how grovelling
and flat, would be their verse! As suppose they wrote thus,

From this sprung Hercules, from the other Iphitus.
Her father, husband, and her son were kings,
Her brother and forefathers were the same;
And she in Greece Olympias was called.

The same faults may be committed in that sort of dancing called
[Greek omitted] unless the representation be lively and graceful,
decent and unaffected. And, in short, we may aptly transfer what
Simonides said of painting to dancing, and call dancing mute
poetry, and poetry speaking dancing; for poesy doth not properly
belong to painting, nor painting to poesy, neither do they any way
make use of one another. But poesy and dancing share much in
common especially in that type of song called Hyporchema, in which
is the most lively representation imaginable, dancing doing it by
gesture, and poesy by words. So that poesy may bear some
resemblance to the colors in painting, while dancing is like the
lines which mark out the features. And therefore he who was the
most famous writer of Hyporchemes, who here even surpassed himself,
sufficiently proveth that these two arts stand in need of one
another he shows what tendency poetry hath to dancing; whilst the
sound excites the hands and feet, or rather as it were by some
cords distends and raiseth every member of the whole body;
so that, whilst such songs are recited or sung, they cannot be
quiet. But nowadays no sort of exercise hath such bad depraved
music applied to it as dancing; and so it suffers that which Ibyeus
as to his own concerns was fearful of, as appears by these lines,

I fear lest, losing fame amongst the gods,
I shall receive respect from men alone.

For having associated to itself a mean paltry sort of music, and
falling from that divine sort of poetry with which it was formerly
acquainted, it rules now and domineers amongst foolish and
inconsiderate spectators, like a tyrant, it hath subjected nearly
all music, but hath lost all its honor with excellent and wise men.

These, my Sossius Senecio, were almost the last discourses which we
had at Ammonius's house during the festival of the Muses.

END OF FIVE------------

COMMON CONCEPTIONS AGAINST THE STOICS.

LAMPRIAS, DIADUMENUS

LAMPRIAS. You, O Diadumenus, seem not much to care, if any one
thinks that you philosophize against the common notions; since you
confess that you contemn also the senses, from whence the most part
of these notions in a manner proceed, having for their seat and
foundation the belief of such things as appear to us. But I
beseech you, with what speed you can, either by reasons,
incantations, or some other manner of discourse, to cure me, who
come to you full, as I seem to myself, of great and strange
perturbations; so much have I been shaken, and into such a
perplexity of mind have I been brought, by certain Stoics, in other
things indeed very good men and my familiar friends, but most
bitterly and hostility bent against the Academy. These, for some
few words modestly spoken by me, have (for I will tell you no lie)
rudely and unkindly reprehended me; angrily censuring and branding
the ancient philosophers as Sophists and corrupters of philosophy,
and subverters of regular doctrines; and saying things yet more
absurd than these, they fell at last upon the conceptions, into
which (they contend) the Academics had brought a certain confusion
and disturbance. At length one of them said, that he thought it
was not by fortune, but by the providence of the gods, that
Chrysippus came into the world after Arcesilaus and before
Carneades; of which the one was the author of the contumelies and
injuries done to custom, and the other flourished most of all the
Academics. Chrysippus then, coming between them, by his writings
against Arcesilaus, stopped also the way against the eloquence of
Carneades, leaving indeed many things to the senses, as provisions
against a siege, but wholly taking away the trouble about
anticipations and conceptions, directing every one of them and
putting it in its proper place; so that they who will again embroil
and disquiet matters should gain nothing, but be convinced of being
malicious and deceitful Sophists. I, having been this morning set
on fire by these discourses, want some cooling remedies to
extinguish and take away this doubting, as an inflammation, out of
my mind.

DIADUMENUS. You perhaps have suffered the same things with some
of the vulgar. But if you believe the poets, who say that the
ancient city Sipylus was overthrown by the providence of the gods
when they punished Tantalus, believe also the companions of the
Stoa saying that Nature, not by chance but by divine providence,
brought forth Chrysippus, when she had a mind to turn things
upside down and alter the course of life; for which purpose never
any man was fitter than he. But as Cato said of Caesar, that
never any but he came to the management of public affairs sober
and considerately resolved on the ruin of the state; so does this
man seem to me with the greatest diligence and eloquence to
overturn and demolish custom, as those who magnify the man
testify, when they dispute against him concerning the sophism
called Pseudomenos (or the Liar). For to say, my best friend,
that a conclusion drawn from contrary positions is not manifestly
false, and again to say that some arguments having true premises
and true inductions may yet moreover have the contrary to their
conclusions true, what conception of demonstration or what
assumption of confidence does it not overthrow? They say, that
the polypus in the winter gnaws his own claws; but the logic of
Chrysippus, taking away and cutting off its own chiefest parts and
principles,--what other notion has it left unsuspected of
falsehood? For the superstructures cannot be steady and sure, if
the foundations remain not firm but are shaken with so many doubts
and troubles. But as those who have dust or dirt upon their
bodies, if they touch or rub the filth that is upon them, seem
rather to increase than remove it; so some men blame the
Academics, and think them guilty of the faults with which they
show themselves to be burdened. For who do more subvert the
common conceptions than the Stoic school? But if you please, let
us leave accusing them, and defend ourselves from the things with
which they charge us.

LAMPRIAS. Methinks, Diadumenus, I am this day become a various
and unconstant man. For erewhile I came dejected and trembling,
as one that wanted an apology; and now I am changed to an accuser,
and desire to enjoy the pleasure of revenge, in seeing them all
convicted of philosophizing against the common conceptions and
presumptions, on which they think chiefly their doctrine is
founded, whence they say that it alone agrees with Nature.

DIADUMENUS. Shall we then first attack those common and
celebrated doctrines of theirs which themselves, gently admitting
their absurdity, style paradoxes; as that only wise men are kings,
that they only are rich and fair, they only citizens and judges?
Or shall we send all this to the brokers, as old decayed frippery,
and make our inquiry into such things as are most practical and
with the greatest earnestness delivered by them?

LAMPRIAS. I indeed like this best. For who is there that is not
already full of the arguments brought against those paradoxes?

DIADUMENUS. First, then, consider this, whether, according to the
common conceptions, they can be said to agree with Nature, who
think all natural things indifferent, and esteem neither health,
strength of body, beauty, nor strength as desirable, commodious,
profitable, or any way contributory to the completing of natural
perfection; nor consider that their contraries, as maims, pains,
disgraces, and diseases, are hurtful or to be shunned? To the
latter of these they themselves say that Nature gives us an
abhorrence, and an inclination to the former. Which very thing is
not a little repugnant to common understanding, that Nature should
incline us to such things as are neither good nor available, and
avert us from such as are neither ill nor hurtful, and which is
more, that she should render this inclination and this aversion so
violent, that they who either possess not the one or fall into the
other detest their life with good reason, and withdraw themselves
out of it.

I think also that this is said by them against common sense, that
Nature herself is indifferent, and yet that it is good to agree
with Nature. For it is not our duty either to follow the law or be
persuaded by argument, unless the law and argument be good and
honest. And this indeed is the least of their errors. But if, as
Chrysippus has written in his First Book concerning Exhortation, a
happy life consists only in living according to virtue, other
things (as he says) being nothing to us, nor cooperating any ways
towards it, Nature is not only indifferent, but foolish also and
stupid, in inclining us to such things as belong nothing to us;
and we also are fools in thinking felicity to be an agreeing with
Nature, which draws us after such things as contribute nothing to
happiness. For what can be more agreeable to common sense, than
that, as desirable things are requisite to live commodiously, so
natural things are necessary that we may live according to Nature?
Now these men say not so; but having settled the living according
to Nature for their end, do nevertheless hold those things which
are according to Nature to be indifferent.

Nor is this less repugnant to common sense, that an intelligent and
prudent man should not be equally affected to equal good things,
but should put no value on some, and be ready to undergo and suffer
anything for others, though the things themselves are neither
greater nor less one than another. For they say, It is the same
thing to abstain from the enjoyment of an old woman that is about
to die as to take part in the greatest actions with moderation ...
since in both cases we do what duty requires. And yet for this, as
a great and glorious thing, they should be ready to die; when as to
boast of the other would be shameful and ridiculous. And even
Chrysippus himself in his commentary concerning Jupiter, and in the
Third Book of the Gods, says, that it were a poor, absurd, and
impertinent thing to glory in such acts, as proceeding from virtue,
as bearing valiantly the stinging of a wasp, or abstaining chastely
from an old woman that lies a dying. Do not they then philosophize
against the common conception, who profess nothing to be more
commendable than those things which yet themselves are ashamed to
praise? For how can that be desirable or to be approved, which is
worthy neither of praise nor admiration, but the praisers and
admirers of which they esteem absurd and ridiculous?

And yet this will (I suppose) appear to you more against common
sense, that a wise man should take no care whether he enjoys or not
enjoys the greatest good things, but should carry himself after the
same manner in these things, as in those that are indifferent both
in their management and administration. For all of us, "whoever we
are that eat the fruit of the broad earth," judge that desirable,
good, and profitable, which being present we use, and absent we
want and desire. But that which no man thinks worth his concern,
either for his profit or delight, is indifferent. For we by no
other means distinguish a laborious man from a trifler, who is for
the most part also employed in action, but that the one busies
himself in useless matters and indifferently, and the other in
things commodious and profitable. But these men act quite
contrary; for with them, a wise and prudent man, being conversant
in many comprehensions and memories of comprehension, esteems few
of them to belong to him; and not caring for the rest, he thinks he
has neither more or less by remembering that he lately had the
comprehension of Dion sneezing or Theon playing at ball. And yet
every comprehension in a wise man, and every memory having
assurance and firmness, is a great, yea, a very great good.
When therefore his health fails, when some organ of his senses is
disordered, or when his wealth is lost, is a wise man so careless
as to think that none of these things concern him? Or does he,
"when sick, give fees to the physicians: for the gaining of riches
sail to Leucon, governor in the Bosphorus, or travel to
Idanthyrsus, king of the Scythians," as Chrysippus says? And being
deprived of some of his senses, does he not become weary even of
life? How then do they not acknowledge that they philosophize
against the common notions, employing so much care and diligence on
things indifferent, and not minding whether they have or have not
great good things?

But this is also yet against the common conceptions, that he who is
a man should not rejoice when coming from the greatest evils to the
greatest goods. Now their wise men suffer this. Being changed
from extreme viciousness to the highest virtue, and at the same
time escaping a most miserable life and attaining to a most happy
one, he shows no sign of joy, nor does this so great change lift
him up or yet move him, being delivered from all infelicity and
vice, and coming to a certain sure and firm perfection of virtue.
This also is repugnant to common sense, to hold that the being
immutable in one's judgments and resolutions is the greatest of
goods, and yet that he who has attained to the height wants not
this, nor cares for it when he has it, nay, many times will not so
much as stretch forth a finger for this security and constancy,
which nevertheless themselves esteem the sovereign and perfect
good. Nor do the Stoics say only these things, but they add also
this to them,--that the continuance of time increases not any good
thing; but if a man shall be wise but a minute of an hour, he will
not be any way inferior in happiness to him who has all his time
practised virtue and led his life happily in it. Yet, whilst they
thus boldly affirm these things, they on the contrary also say,
that a short-lived virtue is nothing worth; "For what advantage
would the attainment of wisdom be to him who is immediately to be
swallowed up by the waves or tumbled down headlong from a
precipice? What would it have benefited Lichas, if being thrown by
Hercules, as from a sling into the sea, he had been on a sudden
changed from vice to virtue?" These therefore are the positions of
men who not only philosophize against the common conceptions but
also confound their own, if the having been but a little while
endued with virtue is no way short of the highest felicity, and at
the same time nothing worth.
Nor is this the strangest thing you will find in their doctrine;
but their being of opinion that virtue and happiness, when present,
are frequently not perceived by him who enjoys them, nor does he
discern that, having but a little before been most miserable and
foolish, he is of a sudden become wise and happy. For it is not
only childish to say that he who is possessed of wisdom is ignorant
of this thing alone, that he is wise, and knows not that he is
delivered from folly; but, to speak in general, they make goodness
to have very little weight or strength, if it does not give so much
as a feeling of it when it is present. For according even to them,
it is not by nature imperceptible; nay, even Chrysippus in his
books of the End expressly says that good is sensible, and
demonstrates it also, as he maintains. It remains, then, that by
its weakness and littleness it flies the sense, when being present
it is unknown and concealed from the possessors. It were moreover
absurd to imagine that the sight, perceiving those things which are
but a little whitish or inclining to white, should not discern such
as are white in perfection; or that the touch, feeling those things
which are but warm or moderately hot, should be insensible of those
that are hot in the highest degree. And yet more absurd it is,
that a man who perceives what is commonly according to Nature--as
are health and good constitution of body--should yet be ignorant of
virtue when it is present, which themselves hold to be most of all
and in the highest degree according to Nature. For how can it but
be against sense, to conceive the difference between health and
sickness, and yet so little to comprehend that between wisdom and
folly as to think the one to be present when it is gone, and
possessing the other to be ignorant that one has it? Now because
there is from the highest progress a change made to felicity and
virtue, one of these two things must of necessity follow;
either that this progress is not vice and infelicity, or that
virtue is not far distant from vice, nor happiness from misery, but
that the difference between good and evil is very small and not to
be perceived by sense; for otherwise they who have the one for the
other could not be ignorant of it.

Since, then, they will not depart from any of these contrarieties,
but confess and hold them all,--that those who are proceeding
towards virtue are fools and vicious, that those who are become
good and wise perceive not this change in themselves, and that
there is a great difference between folly and wisdom,--they must
assuredly seem to you wonderfully to preserve an agreement in their
doctrines, and yet more so in their conduct, when affirming all men
who are not wise to be equally wicked, unjust, faithless, and
fools, they on the other side abhor and detest some of them,--nay,
sometimes to such a degree that they refuse even to speak to them
when they meet them,--while others of them they trust with their
money, choose to offices, and take for husbands to their daughters.
Now if they say these things in jest, let them smooth their brows;
but if in earnest and as philosophers, it is against the common
notions to reprove and blame all men alike in words, and yet to
deal with some of them as moderate persons and with others as very
wicked; and exceedingly to admire Chrysippus, to deride Alexinus,
and yet to think neither of them more or less mad than the other.
"'Tis so," say they; "but as he who is not above a cubit under the
superficies of the sea is no less drowned than he who is five
hundred fathom deep, so they that are coming towards virtue are no
less in vice their those that are farther off. And as blind men
are still blind, though they shall perhaps a little after recover
their sight; so these that have proceeded towards virtue, till such
time as they have attained to it, continue foolish and wicked."
But that they who are in the way towards virtue resemble not the
blind, but such as see less clearly, nor are like to those who are
drowned, but--those which swim, and that near the harbor--they
themselves testify by their actions. For they would not use
counsellors and generals and lawgivers as blind leaders, nor would
they imitate the works and actions and words and lives of some, if
they saw them all equally drowned in folly and wickedness.
But leaving this, wonder at the men in this behalf, that they are
not taught by their own examples to give up the doctrine that these
men are wise being ignorant of it themselves, and neither knowing
nor being sensible that they are recovered from being drowned and
see the light, and that being gotten above vice, they fetch
breath again.

This also is against common sense, that it should be convenient for
a man who has all good things, and wants nothing requisite to
felicity and happiness, to make away himself; and much more this,
that for him who neither has nor ever shall have any good thing,
but who is and ever shall be accompanied with all adversities,
difficulties, and mishaps, it should not be fitting to quit this
life unless some of the indifferent things befall him. These laws
are enacted in the Stoa; and by these they incite many wise men to
kill themselves, as if they would be thereby more happy; and they
prevent many foolish men, as if it were proper for them to live on
in misery. Although the wise man is fortunate, blessed, every way
happy, secure, and free from danger; but the vicious and foolish
man is "full, as I may say, of evils, so that there is not room to
put them in"; and yet they think that continuing in life is fit for
the latter, and departing out of it for the former. And not
without cause, says Chrysippus, for we are not to measure life by
good things or evil, but by those that are according to Nature.
In this manner do they maintain custom, and philosophize according
to the common conceptions. What do you say?--that he who enters
upon a deliberation of life and death has no right to consider

What good or ill in his own house there is;

or to weigh, as in a balance, what things have the greatest sign of
serving to felicity or infelicity; but must argue whether he should
live or die from those things which are neither profitable nor
prejudicial, and follow such principles and sentences as command
the choosing of a life full of all things to be avoided, and the
shunning of one which wants nothing of all those things that are
desirable? For though it is an absurd thing, friend Lamprias, to
shun a life in which there is no evil, it is yet more absurd, if
any one should leave what is good because he is not possessed of
what is indifferent, as these men do who leave present felicity and
virtue for want of riches and health which they have not.

Satumian Jove from Glaucus took his wits,

when he went about to change his suit of golden armor for a brazen
one, and to give what was worth a hundred oxen for that which was
worth but nine. And yet the brazen armor was no less useful for
fight than the golden; whereas beauty and health of body, as the
Stoics say, contribute not the least advantage so far as happiness
is concerned. And yet they seek health in exchange for wisdom.
For they say, it would well enough have become Heraclitus and
Pherecydes to have parted with their virtue and wisdom, if the one
of them could have thereby been freed from his lousy disease, and
the other from his dropsy; and if Circe had used two sorts of
magical drinks, one to make wise men fools, and the other to make
fools wise, Ulysses would rather have drunk that of folly, than
have changed his shape for the form of a beast, though having with
it wisdom, and consequently also happiness. And, they say, wisdom
itself dictates to them these things, exhorting them thus: Let me
go, and value not my being lost, if I must be carried about in the
shape of an ass. But this, some will say, is an ass-like wisdom
which teacheth thus; granting that to be wise and enjoy felicity is
good, and to wear the shape of an ass is indifferent. They say,
there is a nation of the Ethiopians where a dog reigns, is called
king, and has all regal honors and services done to him; but men
execute the offices of magistrates and governors of cities. Do not
the Stoics act in the very same manner? They give the name and
appearance of good to virtue, saying that it alone is desirable,
profitable, and available; but in the meantime they act these
things, they philosophize, they live and die, as at the command of
things indifferent. And yet none of the Ethiopians kill that dog;
but he sits in state, and is revered by all. But these men destroy
and corrupt their virtue, that they may obtain health and riches.

But the corollary which Chrysippus himself has given for a
conclusion to his doctrines seems to free us from the trouble of
saying anything more about it. For there being, says he, in Nature
some things good, some things bad, and some things between them
both, which we call indifferent; there is no man but would rather
have the good than the indifferent, and the indifferent than the
bad. And of this we call the gods to witness, begging of them by
our prayers principally the possession of good things, and if that
may not be, deliverance from evil; not desiring that which is
neither good nor bad instead of good, but willing to have it
instead of evil. But this man, changing Nature and inverting its
order, removes the middle out of its own place into the last, and
brings back the last into the middle,--not unlike to those tyrants
who give the first place to the wicked,--and he gives us a law,
first to seek the good, and secondly the evil, and lastly to judge
that worst which is neither good nor evil; as if any one should
place infernal things next to celestial, thrusting the earth and
earthly things into Tartarus,

Where very far from hence, deep under ground,
Lies a vast gulf.
(Iliad, viii. 14.)

Having therefore said in his Third Book concerning Nature, that it
is more expedient for a fool to live than not, though he should
never attain to wisdom, he adds these words: "For such are the good
things of men, that even evil things do in a manner precede other
things that are in the middle place; not that these things
themselves really precede, but reason, which makes us choose rather
to live, though we were to be fools." Therefore also, though we
were to be unjust, wicked, hated of the gods, and unhappy; for none
of these things are absent from those that live foolishly. Is it
then convenient rather to live miserably than not to live
miserably, and better to be hurt than not hurt, to be unjust than
not unjust, to break the laws than not to break them? That is, is
it convenient to do things that are not convenient, and a duty to
live even against duty? Yes indeed, for it is worse to want sense
and reason than to be a fool. What then ails them, that they will
not confess that to be evil which is worse than evil? Why do they
say that folly alone is to be avoided, if it is not less but rather
more convenient to shun that disposition which is not capable
of folly?

But who can complain of this, that shall remember what he has
written in his Second Book of Nature, declaring that vice was not
unprofitably made for the universe? But it is meet I should set
down his doctrine in his own words, that you may understand in what
place those rank vice, and what discourses they hold of it, who
accuse Xenocrates and Speusippus for not reckoning health
indifferent and riches useless. "Vice," saith he, "has its limit
in reference to other accidents. For it is also in some sort
according to the reason of Nature, and (as I may so say) is not
wholly useless in respect of the universe; for other wise there
would not be any good." Is there then no good among the gods,
because there is no evil? And when Jupiter, having resolved all
matter into himself, shall be alone, other differences being taken
away, will there then be no good, because there will be no evil?
But is there melody in a choir though none in it sings faultily,
and health in the body though no member is sick; and yet cannot
virtue have its existence without vice? But as the poison of a
serpent or the gall of an hyena is to be mixed with some medicines,
was it also of necessity that there must have been some conjunction
of the wickedness of Meletus with the justice of Socrates, and the
dissolute conduct of Cleon with the probity of Pericles? And could
not Jupiter have found a means to bring into the world Hercules and
Lycurgus, if he had not also made for us Sardanapalus and Phalaris?
It is now time for them to say that the consumption was made for
the sound constitution of men's bodies, and the gout for the
swiftness of their feet; and that Achilles would not have had a
good head of hair if Thersites had not been bald. For what
difference is there between such triflers and ravers, and those who
say that intemperance was not brought forth unprofitably for
continence, nor injustice for justice, so that we must pray to the
gods, there may be always wickedness,

Lies, fawning speeches, and deceitful manners,
(Hesiod, "Works and Days," 78.)

if, when these are taken away, virtue will also vanish and be lost?

Or do you desire to understand the greatest sweetness of his
eloquence and persuasion? "For," says he, "as comedies have in
them sometimes ridiculous epigrams, which, though bad in
themselves, give nevertheless a certain grace to the whole poem;
so, though you may blame vice in itself, yet is it not useless to
other things." First, then, to say that vice was made by the
providence of God, as a wanton epigram by the will of the poet,
transcends in absurdity all imagination. For this being granted,
how will the gods be rather givers of good than evil? How will
wickedness be displeasing to them, and hated by them? And what
shall we have to oppose against these ill-sounding sentences of
the poets.--

A cause to men God sends,
When to chastise some house his wrath intends;
(From the "Niobe" of Aeschylus, Frag. 151.)

and again,

What God those seeds of strife 'twixt them did sow?
(Iliad, i. 8.)

Moreover, a lewd epigram adorns the comedy and contributes to its
end, which is to delight the spectators and make them laugh.
But Jupiter, who is surnamed fatherly, supreme, just, and (as
Pindar has it) the most perfect artist, framing the world, not as a
great interlude, full of variety and great learning, but as a
common city of Gods and men, living together in concord and
happiness with justice and virtue,--what need had he, for the
attaining to this excellent end, of thieves, murderers, parricides,
and tyrants? For vice entered not as a morris-dance, pleasing and
delightful to the Divinity; nor was it brought in amongst the
affairs of men, to cause mirth and laughter by its raillery and
facetiousness, since there is not to be seen in it so much as a
dream of that celebrated agreement with Nature. Besides, that
foolish epigram is a very small part of the poem, and takes up but
a very little place in the comedy; neither do such things abound in
it, nor do they corrupt any of those things which seem to have been
well done, or spoil their grace. But all human affairs are replete
with vice, and the whole life, from the very prologue and beginning
to the end, being disordered, depraved, and disturbed, and having
no part of it pure or irreprehensible (as these men say), is the
most filthy and most unpleasant of all farces.

Wherefore I would willingly ask, in what vice is profitable to the
universe. Not surely in respect of heavenly things, and such as
are divine by nature. For it would be ridiculous to say, that if
there had not arisen, or were not amongst men, malice and
covetousness and lying, or that if we did not rob, plunder,
slander, and murder one another, the sun would not run his
appointed course, the world enjoy its seasons and periods of time,
or the earth, which is seated in the midst of the universe, afford
the principles of the wind and rain. It remains, then, that the
existence of vice must be profitable for us and our affairs;
and that perhaps these men mean. Are we more healthy for being
vicious, or do we more abound with necessaries? Or does vice
contribute anything to our beauty and strength? They say, no.
But where on earth is virtue to be met with? Is it then only a
base name, and a visionary opinion of night-walking Sophists, and
not an actual thing lying conspicuous to all, like vice, so that we
cannot partake of anything as profitable, ... but least, O ye gods!
of virtue, for which we were created? Is it not then absurd, that
the utensils of the husbandman, mariner, and charioteer should be
serviceable and aiding towards his intended end, whilst that which
was by God made for virtue destroys and corrupts virtue?
But perhaps it is time now to leave this point, and pass
to another.

LAMPRIAS. Not for my sake, my dear friend, I beseech you; for I
desire to understand, in what manner these men bring in evil things
before the good, and vice before virtue.

DIADUMENUS. It is indeed, sir, a thing worth knowing. They babble
indeed much; but in conclusion they say that prudence, being the
knowledge of good and evil, would be wholly taken away if there
were no evil. For as, if there are truths, it is impossible but
there must be some lies also near to them; so it stands with
reason, that if there are good things, there must also be
evil things.

LAMPRIAS. One of these things is not said amiss; and I think also
that the other is not unapprehended by me. For I see a difference
here: that which is not true must immediately be false; but that is
not of necessity evil which is not good; because that between true
and false there is no medium, but between good and evil there is
the indifferent. Nor is it of necessity that the one must subsist
with the other. For Nature may have good without having any need
of evil, but only having that which is neither good nor evil.
But if there is anything to be said by you to the former reason,
let us hear it.

DIADUMENUS. Many things indeed are said; but at present we shall
make use only of what is most necessary. In the first place, it is
a folly to imagine that good and evil have their existence for the
sake of prudence. For good and evil being already extant, prudence
came afterwards; as the art of physic was invented, there being
already things wholesome and unwholesome. For good and evil are
not therefore extant that there may be prudence; but the faculty by
which we judge good and evil that are already in being is named
prudence. As sight is a sense distinguishing white from black;
which colors were not therefore made that we might have sight, but
we rather wanted sight to discern these things. Secondly, when the
world shall be set on fire (as the Stoics hold), there will then no
evil be left, but all will then be prudent and wise. There is
therefore prudence, though there is no evil; nor is it of necessity
for evil to exist that prudence may have a being. But supposing
that prudence must always be a knowledge of good and evil, what
inconvenience would it be if, evil being taken away, prudence
should no longer subsist; but instead of this we should have
another virtue, not being the knowledge of good and evil, but of
good only? So, if black should be wholly lost from among the
colors, and any one should therefore contend that sight is also
lost, for that there is no more the sense of discerning black and
white, what should hinder us from answering him: It is no prejudice
to us, if we have not what you call sight, but in lieu of that have
another sense and faculty, by which we apprehend colors that are
white and not white. For I indeed think that neither our taste
would be lost, if bitter things were wanting, nor our feeling, if
pain were taken away, nor prudence, if evil had no being; but that
these senses would remain, to apprehend things sweet and grateful
and those that are not so, and prudence to be the science of things
good and not good. But let those who think otherwise take the name
to themselves, leaving us the thing.

Besides all this, what should hinder but there may be an
understanding of evil, and an existence of good? As the gods, I
believe, enjoy health, but understand the fever and pleurisy.
Since even we, who, as they say, have abundance of evils but no
good, are not yet destitute of the knowledge what prudence, what
goodness, and what happiness is. And this also would be
remarkable, that if virtue were absent, there should be those who
could teach us what it is and give us a comprehension of it, when
if vice were not extant, it should be impossible to have any
understanding of it. For see what these men persuade us who
philosophize against the conceptions,--that by folly indeed we
comprehend prudence, but prudence without folly cannot so much as
comprehend folly itself.

And if Nature had absolutely stood in need of the generation of
evil, yet might one or two examples of vice have been sufficient;
or if you will, it might have been requisite that ten, a thousand,
or ten thousand vicious men should be brought forth, and not that
the multitude of vices should be so great as "to exceed in number
the sands of the sea, the dust of the earth, and the feathers of
all the various kinds of birds in the world," and yet that there
should not be so much all this while as a dream of virtue.
Those who in Sparta had the charge of the public halls or eating
places called Phiditia were wont to bring forth two or three Helots
drunken and full of wine, that the young men, seeing what
drunkenness was, might learn to keep sobriety. But in human life
there are many such examples of vice. For there is not any one
sober to virtue; but we all stagger up and down, acting shamefully
and living miserably. Thus does reason inebriate us, and with so
much trouble and madness does it fill us, that we fall in nothing
short of those dogs of whom Aesop says, that seeing certain skins
swimming in the water, they endeavored to gulp down the sea, but
burst before they could get at them. For reason also, by which we
hope to gain reputation and attain to virtue, does, ere we can
reach to it, corrupt and destroy us, being before filled with
abundance of heady and bitter vice;--if indeed, as these men say,
they who are got even to the uppermost step have no ease,
cessation, or breathing from folly and infelicity.

But let us see what manner of thing he shows vice to be who says
that it was not brought forth unprofitably, and of what use and
what a thing he makes it to be to those who have it, writing in his
book of right conduct, that a wicked man wants nothing, has need of
nothing, nothing is useful to him, nothing proper, nothing fit for
him. How then is vice useful, with which neither health nor
abundance of riches nor advancement in virtue is profitable?
Who then does not want these things, of which some are "preferable"
and "acceptable" and therefore highly useful, and others are
"according to Nature," as themselves term them? But (they affirm)
no one has need of them, unless he become wise. So the vicious man
does not even stand in want of being made wise. Nor are men hungry
and thirsty before they become wise. When thirsty, therefore, they
have no need of water, nor when hungry, of bread.

Be like to courteous guests, and him
Who asks only fire and shelter:

does this man now not need entertainment? Nor had he need of a
cloak, who said,

Give Hipponax a cloak, for I'm stiff with cold.

But will you speak a paradox indeed, both extravagant and singular?
Say then that a wise man has need of nothing, that he wants
nothing, he is fortunate, he is free from want, he is self-
sufficient, blessed, perfect. Now what madness is this, that he to
whom nothing is wanting has need of the goods he has, but that the
vicious indeed wants many things, and stands in need of nothing.
For thus indeed says Chrysippus, that the vicious wants but stands
not in need; removing the common notions, like chessmen, backwards
and forwards. For all men think that having need precedes wanting,
esteeming him who stands in need of things that are not at hand or
easy to be got, to want them. For no man wants horns or wings,
because no one has need of them. But we say that those want arms
and money and clothes who are destitute of them, when they have
occasion for them. But these men are so desirous of seeming always
to say something against the common notions, that for the love of
novelty they often depart from their own opinions, as they do here.

Recall yourself to the consideration of what has been said a little
above. This is one of their assertions against the common
conception, that no vicious man receives any utility. And yet many
being instructed profit, many being slaves are made free;
many being besieged are delivered, being lame are led by the hand,
and being sick are cured. "But possessing all these things, they
are never the better, neither do receive benefits, nor have they
any benefactors, nor do they slight them." Vicious men then are
not ungrateful, no more than are wise men. Ingratitude therefore
has no being; because the good receiving a benefit fail not to
acknowledge it, and the bad are not capable of receiving any.
Behold, now, what they say to this,--that benefit is ranked among
mean or middle things, and that to give and receive utility belongs
only to the wise, but the bad also receive a benefit. Then they
who partake of the benefit partake not also of its use; and whither
a benefit extends, there is nothing useful or commodious. Now what
else is there that makes a kind office a benefit, but that the
bestower of it is, in some respect, useful to the needy receiver?

LAMPRIAS. But let these things pass. What, I beseech you, is this
so highly venerated utility, which preserving as some great and
excellent thing for the wise, they permit not so much as the name
of it to the vicious?

DIADUMENUS. If (say they) one wise man does but any way prudently
stretch out his finger, all the wise men all the world over receive
utility by it. This is the work of their amity; in this do the
virtues of the wise man terminate by their common utilities.
Aristotle then and Xenocrates doted, saving that men receive
utility from the gods, from their parents, from their masters,
being ignorant of that wonderful utility which wise men receive
from one another, being moved according to virtue, though they
neither are together nor yet know it. Yet all men esteem, that
laying up, keeping, and bestowing are then useful and profitable,
when some benefit or profit is recovered by it. The thriving man
buys keys, and diligently keeps his stores,

With 's hand unlocking wealth's sweet treasury.
(From the "Bellerophontes" of Euripides, Frag. 287, vs. 8.)

But to store up and to keep with diligence and labor such things as
are for no use is not seemly or honorable, but ridiculous.
If Ulysses indeed had tied up with the knot which Circe taught him,
not the gifts he had received from Alcinous,--tripods, caldrons,
cloths, and gold,--but heaping up trash, stones, and such like
trumpery, should have thought his employment about such things, and
the possession and keeping of them, a happy and blessed work, would
any one have imitated this foolish providence and empty care?
Yet this is the beauty, gravity, and happiness of the Stoical
consent, being nothing else but a gathering together and keeping of
useless and indifferent things. For such are things according to
Nature, and more exterior things; if indeed they compare the
greatest riches to fringes and golden chamberpots, and sometimes
also, as it happens, to oil-cruets. Then, as those who seem
proudly to have affronted and railed at some gods or demigods
presently changing their note, fall prostrate and sit humbly on the
ground, praising and magnifying the Divinity; so these men, having
met with punishment of this arrogancy and vanity, again exercise
themselves in these indifferent things and such as pertain nothing
to them, crying out with a loud voice that there is only one thing
good, specious, and honorable, the storing up of these things and
the communication of them, and that it is not meet for those to
live who have them not, but to despatch out of the way and famish
themselves, bidding a long farewell to virtue.

They esteem indeed Theognis to have been a man altogether of a base
and abject spirit, for saying, as one overfearful in regard to
poverty, which is an indifferent thing:--

From poverty to fly, into the deep
Throw thyself, Cyrnus, or from rocks so steep.

Yet they themselves exhort the same thing in prose, and affirm that
a man, to free himself from some great disease or exceedingly acute
pain, if he have not at hand sword or hemlock, ought to leap into
the sea or throw himself headlong from a precipice; neither of
which is hurtful, or evil, or incommodious, or makes them who fall
into it miserable.

With what, then, says he, shall I begin? And what shall I take
for the principle of duty and matter of virtue, leaving Nature and
that which is according to Nature?

With what, O good sir, do Aristotle and Theophrastus begin?
What beginnings do Xenocrates and Polemo take? Does not also Zeno
follow these, who hold Nature and that which is according to Nature
to be the elements of happiness? But they indeed persisted in
these things, as desirable, good, and profitable; and joining to
them virtue, which employs them and uses every one of them
according to its property, thought to complete and consummate a
perfect life and one every way absolute, producing that concord
which is truly suitable and consonant to Nature. For these men did
not run into confusion, like those who leap up from the ground and
presently fall down again upon it, terming the same things
acceptable and not desirable, proper and not good, unprofitable and
yet useful, nothing to us and yet the principles of duties.
But their life was such as their speech, and they exhibited actions
suitable and consonant to their sayings. But they who are of the
Stoic sect--not unlike to that woman in Archilochus, who
deceitfully carried in one hand water, in the other fire--by some
doctrines draw Nature to them, and by others drive her from them.
Or rather, by their deeds and actions they embrace those things
which are according to Nature, as good and desirable, but in words
and speeches they reject and contemn them, as indifferent and of no
use to virtue for the acquiring felicity.

Now, forasmuch as all men esteem the sovereign good to be joyous,
desirable, happy, of the greatest dignity, self-sufficient, and
wanting nothing; compare their good, and see how it agrees with
this common conception. Does the stretching out a finger prudently
produce this joy? Is a prudent torture a thing desirable? Is he
happy, who with reason breaks his neck? Is that of the greatest
dignity, which reason often chooses to let go for that which is not
good? Is that perfect and self-sufficient, by enjoying which, if
they possess not too indifferent things, they neither can nor will
endure to live? There is also another tenet of the Stoics, by
which custom is still more injured, taking and plucking from her
genuine notions, which are as her legitimate children, and
supposing other bastardly, wild, and illegitimate ones in their
room, and necessitating her to nourish and cherish the one instead
of the other; and that too in those principles which concern things
good and bad, desirable and avoidable, proper and strange, the
energy of which ought to be more clearly distinguished than that of
hot and cold, black and white. For the imaginations of these
things are brought in by the senses from without; but those have
their original bred from the good things which we have within us.
But these men entering with their logic upon the topic of felicity,
as on the sophism called Pseudomenos, or that named Kyrieuon, have
removed no ambiguities, but brought in very many.

Indeed, of two good things, of which the one is the end and the
other belongs to the end, none is ignorant that the end is the
greater and perfecter good. Chrysippus also acknowledges this
difference, as is manifest from his Third Book of Good Things.
For he dissents from those who make science the end, and sets it
down. ... In his Treatise of Justice, however, he does not think
that justice can be preserved, if any one makes pleasure to be the
end; but allows it may, if pleasure is not said to be the end, but
simply a good. Nor do I think that you need now to hear me repeat
his words, since his Third Book of Justice is everywhere to be had.
When, therefore, O my friend, they elsewhere say that no one good
is greater or less than another, and that what is not the end is
equal to the end, they contradict not only the common conceptions,
but even their own words. Again, if of two evils, the one when it
is present renders us worse, and the other hurts us but renders us
not worse, it is against reason not to say that the evil which by
its presence renders us worse is greater than that which hurts us
but renders us not worse. Now Chrysippus indeed confesses, that
there are some fears and sorrows and errors which hurt us, but
render us not worse. Read his First Book of Justice against Plato;
for in respect of other things, it is worth the while to note the
babbling of the man in that place, expounding indifferently all
matters and doctrines, as well proper to his own sect as foreign
to it.

It is likewise against common sense when he says that there may be
two ends or scopes proposed of life, and that all the things we do
are not to be referred to one; and yet this is more against common
sense, to say that there is an end, and yet that every action is to
be referred to another. Nevertheless they must of necessity endure
one of these. For if those things which are first according to
Nature are not eligible for themselves, but the choice and taking
of them agreeably to reason is, and if every one therefore does all
his actions for the acquiring the first things according to Nature,
then all things which are done must have their reference to this,
that the principal things according to Nature may be obtained.
But they think that they who aim and aspire to get these things do
not have the things themselves as the end, but that to which they
must make reference, namely, the choice and not the things.
For the end indeed is to choose and receive these things prudently.
But the things themselves and the enjoying of them are not the
end, but the material ground, having its value only from the
choice. For it is my opinion that they both use and write this
very expression, to show the difference.

LAMPRIAS. You have exactly related both what they say and in what
manner they deliver it.

DIADUMENUS. But observe how it fares with them, as with those that
endeavor to leap over their own shadow; for they do not leave
behind, but always carry along with them in their speech some
absurdity most remote from common sense. For as, if any one should
say that he who shoots does all he can, not that he may hit the
mark, but that he may do all he can, such a one would rightly be
esteemed to speak enigmatically and prodigiously; so these doting
dreamers, who contend that the obtaining of natural things is not
the end of aiming after natural things, but the taking and choosing
them is, and that the desire and endeavor after health is not in
every one terminated in the enjoyment of health, but on the
contrary, the enjoyment of health is referred to the desire and
endeavor after it, and that certain walkings and contentions of
speech and suffering incisions and taking of medicines, so they are
done by reason, are the end of health, and not health of them,
they, I say, trifle like to those who say, Let us sup, that we may
offer sacrifice, that we may bathe. But this rather changes order
and custom, and all things which these men say carry with them the
total subversion and confusion of affairs. Thus, we do not desire
to take a walk in fit time that we may digest our meat; but we
digest our meat that we may take a walk in fit time. Has Nature
also made health for the sake of hellebore, instead of producing
hellebore for the sake of health? For what is wanting to bring
them to the highest degree of speaking paradoxes, but the saying of
such things? What difference is there between him who says that
health was made for the sake of medicines and not medicines for the
sake of health, and him who makes the choice of medicines and their
composition and use more desirable than health itself?--or rather
who esteems health not at all desirable, but placing the end in the
negotiation about these things, prefers desire to enjoyment, and
not enjoyment to desire? For to desire, forsooth (they affirm), is
joined the proceeding wisely and discreetly. It is true indeed, we
will say, if respect be had to the end, that is, the enjoyment and
possession of the things it pursues; but otherwise, it is wholly
void of reason, if it does all things for the obtaining of that the
enjoyment of which is neither honorable nor happy.

Now, since we are fallen upon this discourse, anything may rather
be said to agree with common sense, than that those who have
neither received nor have any conception of good do nevertheless
desire and pursue it. For you see how Chrysippus drives Ariston
into this difficulty, that he should understand an indifference in
things inclining neither to good nor to bad, before either good or
bad is itself understood; for so indifference will appear to have
subsisted even before itself, if the understanding of it cannot be
perceived unless good be first understood, while the good is
nothing else than this very indifference. Understand now and
consider this indifference which the Stoa refutes and calls
consent, whence and in what manner it gives us the knowledge of
good. For if without good the indifference to that which is not
good cannot be understood, much less does the knowing of good
things give any intelligence of itself to those who had not before
some notion of the good. But as there can be no knowledge of the
art of things wholesome and unwholesome in those who have not first
some knowledge of the things themselves; so they cannot conceive
any notion of the science of good and evil who have not some
fore-knowledge of good and evil.

LAMPRIAS. What then is good?
DIADUMENUS. Nothing but prudence.
LAMPRIAS. And what is prudence?
DIADUMENUS. Nothing but the science of good.

LAMPRIAS. There is much then of "Jupiter's Corinth" (that is, much
begging the question) admitted into their reasoning. For I would
have you let alone the saying about the turning of the pestle, lest
you should seem to mock them; although an accident like to that has
insinuated itself into their discourse. For it seems that, to the
understanding of good, one has need to understand prudence, and to
seek for prudence in the understanding of good, being forced always
to pursue the one by the other, and thus failing of both; since to
the understanding of each we have need of that which cannot be
known without the other be first understood.

DIADUMENUS. But there is yet another way, by which you may
perceive not only the perversion but the eversion of their
discourse, and the reduction of it entirely to nothing. They hold
the essence of good to be the reasonable election of things
according to Nature. Now the election is not reasonable which is
not directed to some end, as has been said before. What, then, is
this end? Nothing else, say they, but to reason rightly in the
election of things according to Nature. First, then, the
conception of good is lost and gone. For to reason rightly in
election is an operation proceeding from an habit of right
reasoning, and therefore being constrained to get this from the
end; and the end not without this, we fail of understanding either
of them. Besides, which is more, this reasonable election ought
strictly to be a choice of things good and useful, and cooperating
to the end; for how can it be reasonable to choose things which are
neither convenient nor honorable nor at all eligible? For be it,
as they say, a reasonable election of things having a fitness for
the causing felicity; see then to what a beautiful and solemn
conclusion their discourse brings them. For the end is (it seems),
according to them, to reason rightly in the choice of things which
are useful in causing us to reason rightly.

LAMPRIAS. When I hear these words, my friend, what is laid down
seems to me strangely extravagant; and I farther want to know how
this happens.

DIADUMENUS. You must then be more attentive; for it is not for
every one to understand this riddle. Hear therefore and answer.
Is not the end, according to them, to reason rightly in the
election of things according to Nature?

LAMPRIAS. So they say.

DIADUMENUS. And are these things according to Nature chosen as
good, or as having some fitness or preferences ... either for this
end or for something else?

LAMPRIAS. I think not for anything else but for this end.

DIADUMENUS. Now, then, having discovered the matter, see what
befalls them. They affirm that the end is to reason rightly in the
selection of things which are of value in causing us to reason
rightly, for they say that we neither have nor understand any other
principle either of good or of felicity but this precious rectitude
of reasoning in the election of things that are of worth.
But there are some who think that this is spoken against Antipater,
and not against the whole sect; for that he, being pressed by
Carneades, fell into these fooleries.

But as for those things that are against the common conceptions
taught in the Stoa concerning love, they are all of them concerned
in the absurdity. They say youths are deformed who are vicious and
foolish, and that the wise are fair; and yet that none of these
beautiful ones is either beloved or worthy of being beloved.
Nor yet is this the worst; but they add, that those who love the
deformed ones cease to do so when they are become fair.
Now whoever knew such a love as is kindled and has its being at the
sight of the body's deformity joined with that of the soul, and is
quenched and decays at the accession of beauty joined with
prudence, justice, and temperance? These men are not unlike to
those gnats which love to settle on the dregs of wine, or on
vinegar, but shun and fly away from potable and pleasant wine.
As for that which they call and term an appearance of beauty,
saying that it is the inducement of love,--first, it has no
probability, for in those who are very foul and highly wicked there
cannot be an appearance of beauty, if indeed (as is said) the
wickedness of the disposition fills the face with deformity.
And secondly, it is absolutely against all common experience for
the deformed to be worthy of love because he one day will be fair
and expects to have beauty, but that when he has got it and is
become fair and good, he is to be beloved of none.

LAMPRIAS. Love, they say, is a certain hunting after a young
person who is as yet indeed undeveloped, but naturally well
disposed towards virtue.

DIADUMENUS. And what do we now else, O my best friend, but
demonstrate that their sect perverts and destroys all our common
conceptions with improbable things and unusual expressions?
For none would hinder the solicitude of these wise men towards
young persons, if it were free from all passionate affection, from
being named hunting or love of instruction; but they ought to call
love what all men and women understand and call by this name, like
that which Penelope's suitors in Homer seem to acknowledge,

Who all desired to lie with her;
("Odyssey," i. 366)

or as Jupiter in another place says to Juno,

For neither goddess yet nor mortal dame
E'er kindled in my heart so great a flame.
("Iliad." xiv. 315.)

Thus casting moral philosophy into these matters, in which all is

A mazy whirl, with nothing sound, and all perplexed,
(Euripides, "Andromache," 448.)

they contemn and deride it, as if boasting themselves to be the
only men who observe nature and custom as it ought to be, and who
at the same time adapted reason to each man by means of aversions,
desires, appetites, pursuits, and impulses. But custom has
received no good from their logic, but, like the ear diseased by
vain sounds, is filled with difficulty and obscurity,--of which, if
you think good, we will elsewhere begin a new discourse. But now
we will run through the chief and principal heads of their natural
philosophy, which no less confounds the common conceptions than
that other concerning ends.
=============
First, this is altogether absurd and against sense, to say that is
which is not, and things which are not are. But above all that is
most absurd which they say of the universe. For, putting round
about the circumference of the world an infinite vacuum, they say
that the universe is neither a body nor bodiless. It follows then
from this that the universe has no being, since with them body only
has a being. Since therefore it is the part of that which has a
being both to do and suffer, and the universe has no being, it
follows that the universe will neither do nor suffer. Neither will
it be in a place; for that which takes up place is a body, and the
universe is not a body, therefore the universe exists nowhere.
And since that only rests which continues in one and the same
place, the universe rests not, because it takes not up place.
Neither yet is it moved, for what is moved must have a place and
space in which to move. Moreover, what is moved either moves
itself, or suffers motion from another. Now, that which is moved
by itself has some bents and inclinations proceeding from its
gravity or levity; and gravity and levity are either certain habits
or faculties or differences of bodies. But the universe is not a
body. It follows then of necessity, that the universe is neither,
heavy nor light, and consequently, that it has not in itself any
principle of motion. Nor yet will the universe be moved by any
other; for there is nothing else besides the universe. Thus are
they necessitated to say as they do, that the universe neither
rests nor is moved. Lastly since according to their opinion it
must not be said that the universe is a body, and yet the heaven,
the earth, animals, plants, men, and stones are bodies, it follows
that that which is no body will have bodies for its parts, and
things which have existence will be parts of that which has no
existence, and that which is not heavy will have parts that are
heavy, and what is not light will have parts that are light;--than
which there cannot be any dreams imagined more repugnant to the
common conceptions.

Moreover, there is nothing so evident or so agreeing to common
sense as this, that what is not animate is inanimate, and what is
not inanimate is animate. And yet they overthrow also this
evidence, confessing the universe to be neither animate nor
inanimate. Besides this, none thinks the universe, of which there
is no part wanting to be imperfect; but they deny the universe to
be perfect, saying that what is perfect may be defined, but the
universe because of its infiniteness cannot be defined.
Therefore, according to them, there is something which is neither
perfect nor imperfect. Moreover, the universe is neither a part,
since there is nothing greater than it; nor the whole, for the
whole (they say) is predicated only of that which is digested into
order; but the universe is, through its infiniteness, undetermined
and unordered. Moreover, there is no other thing which can be the
cause of the universe, there being nothing besides the universe;
nor is the universe the cause of other things or even of itself;
for its nature suffers it not to act, and a cause is understood by
its acting. Suppose, now, one should ask all men what they imagine
NOTHING to be, and what notion they have of it. Would they not
answer, that it neither is a cause nor has a cause, that it is
neither the whole nor a part that it is neither perfect nor
imperfect, that it is neither animate nor inanimate, that it
neither is moved nor rests nor subsists, that it is neither
corporeal nor incorporeal; and that this and no other thing is
meant by NOTHING? Since, then, they alone predicate that of the
universe which all others do of NOTHING, it seems plain that they
make the universe and NOTHING to be the same. Time must then be
said to be nothing; the same also must be said of predicate, axiom,
junction, conjunction, which terms they use more than any of the
other philosophers, yet they say that they have no existence.
But farther, to say that what is true has no being or subsistence
but is comprehended, and that that is comprehensible and credible
which no way partakes of the essence of being,--does not this
exceed all absurdity?

But lest these things should seem to have too much of logical
difficulty, let us proceed to such as pertain more to natural
philosophy. Since, then, as themselves say,

Jove is of all beginning, midst, and end,
(See "Orphic Fragments," vi. 10 (Herm.).)

they ought chiefly to have applied themselves to remedy, redress,
and reduce to the best order the conceptions concerning the gods,
if there were in them anything confused or erroneous; or if not, to
have left every one in those sentiments which they had from the
laws and custom concerning the Divinity:-

For neither now nor yesterday
But always these things lived,
No one knows from whence they came.
(Sophocles, "Antigone," 456.)

But these men, having begun (as it were) "from Vesta" to disturb
the opinions settled and received in every country concerning the
gods, have not (to speak sincerely) left anything entire and
uncorrupted. For what man is there or ever was, except these, who
does not believe the Divinity to be immortal and eternal? Or what
in the common anticipations is more unanimously chanted forth
concerning the gods than such things as these:--

There the blest gods eternally enjoy
Their sweet delights;
("Odyssey," vi. 46.)

and again,

Both gods immortal, and earth-dwelling men;
("Iliad," v. 442.)

and again,

Exempt from sickness and old age are they,
And free from toil, and have escaped the stream
Of roaring Acheron?
(From Pindar.)

One may perhaps light upon some nations so barbarous and savage as
not to think there is a God; but there was never found any man who,
believing a God, did not at the same time believe him immortal and
eternal. Certainly, those who were called Atheists, like
Theodorus, Diagoras, and Hippo, durst not say that the Divinity is
corruptible, but they did not believe that there is anything
incorruptible; not indeed admitting the subsistence of an
incorruptibility, but keeping the notion of a God. But Chrysippus
and Cleanthes, having filled (as one may say) heaven, earth, air,
and sea with gods, have not yet made any one of all these gods
immortal or eternal, except Jupiter alone, in whom they consume all
the rest; so that it is no more suitable for him to consume others
than to be consumed himself. For it is alike an infirmity to
perish by being resolved into another, and to be saved by being
nourished by the resolution of others into himself. Now these are
not like other of their absurdities, gathered by argument from
their suppositions or drawn by consequence from their doctrines;
but they themselves proclaim it aloud in their writings concerning
the gods, Providence, Fate, and Nature, expressly saying that all
the other gods were born, and shall die by the fire, melting away,
in their opinion, as if they were of wax or tin. It is indeed as
much against common sense that God should be mortal as the man
should be immortal; nay, indeed, I do not see what the difference
between God and man will be, if God also is a reasonable and
corruptible animal. For if they oppose us with this subtle
distinction, that man is mortal, and God not mortal but
corruptible, see what they get by it. For they will say either
that God is at the same time both immortal and corruptible, or else
that he neither is mortal nor immortal; the absurdity of which even
those cannot exceed who set themselves industriously to devise
positions repugnant to common sense. I speak of others; for these
men have left no one of the absurdest things unspoken
or unattempted.

To these things Cleanthes, contending for the conflagration of the
world, says, that the sun will make the moon and all the other
stars like to himself, and will change them into himself.
Indeed, if the stars, being gods, should contribute anything to the
sun towards their own destruction by adding to its conflagration,
it would be very ridiculous for us to make prayers to them for our
salvation, and to think them the saviours of men, whose nature it
is to accelerate their own corruption and dissolution.

And yet these men leave nothing unsaid against Epicurus, crying
out, Fie, fie upon him, as confounding their presumption concerning
God by taking away Providence; for God (they say) is presumed and
understood to be not only immortal and happy, but also a lover of
men and careful of them and beneficial to them, and herein they say
true. Now if they who abolish Providence take away the
preconception concerning God, what do they who say that the gods
indeed have care of us, but deny them to be helpful to us, and make
them not bestowers of good things but of indifferent ones, giving,
to wit, not virtue, but wealth, health, children, and such like
things, none of which is helpful, profitable, desirable, or
available? Or shall we not rather think, that Epicurus does not
take away the conceptions concerning the gods; but that these
Stoics scoff at the gods and deride them, saying one is a god of
fruits, another of marriage, another a physician, and another a
diviner, while yet health, issue, and plenty of fruits are not good
things, but indifferent things and unprofitable to those who
have them?

The third point of the conception concerning the gods is, that the
gods do in nothing so much differ from men as in happiness and
virtue. But according to Chrysippus, they have not so much as this
difference. For he says that Jupiter does not exceed Dion in
virtue, but that Jupiter and Dion, being both wise, are equally
aided by one another, when one comes into the motion of the other.
For this and none else is the good which the gods do to men, and
likewise men to the gods when they are wise. For they say, that a
man who falls not short in virtue comes not behind them in
felicity, and that he who, tormented with diseases and being maimed
in the body, makes himself away, is equally happy with Jupiter the
Saviour, provided he be but wise. But this man neither is nor ever
was upon the earth; but there are infinite millions of men unhappy
to the highest degree in the state and government of Jupiter, which
is most excellently administered. Now what can be more against
sense than that, when Jupiter governs exceedingly well, we should
be exceedingly miserable? But if (which it is unlawful even to
say) he would desire no longer to be a saviour, nor a deliverer,
nor a protector, but the contrary to all these glorious
appellations, there can no goodness be added to the things that
are, either as to their multitude or magnitude, since, as these men
say, all men live to the height miserably and wickedly, neither
vice receiving addition, nor unhappiness increase.

Nor is this the worst; but they are angry with Menander for saying
upon the stage,

The chief beginning of men's miseries
Are things exceeding good;

for that this is against sense. And yet they make God, who is
good, the beginning of evils. "For matter," they contend,
"produced not any evil of itself; for it is without quality, and
whatever differences it has, it has received them all from that
which moves and forms it." But that which moves and forms it is
the reason dwelling in it, since matter is not made to move and
form itself. So that of necessity evil, if it come by nothing,
must have been produced from that which has no being; but if by
some moving principle, from God. But if they think that Jupiter
has not the command of his parts nor uses every one of them
according to his reason, they speak against common sense, and
imagine an animal, many of whose parts are not subservient to his
will but use their own operations and actions, to which the whole
gives no incitation nor begins their motion. For there is nothing
which has life so ill compacted as that, against its will, its feet
shall go, its tongue speak, its horns push, or its teeth bite.
The most of which things God must of necessity suffer, if the
wicked, being parts of him, do against his will lie, cheat, rob,
and murder one another. But if, as Chrysippus says, the very least
part cannot possibly behave itself otherwise than according to
Jupiter's pleasure, and if every living thing is so framed by
Nature as to rest and move according as he inclines it and as he
turns, stays, and disposes it,

This saying is more impious than the first.
(See Nauck's "Tragic Fragments," p. 704 (No. 345).)

For it were more tolerable to say that many parts of Jupiter are,
through his weakness and want of power, hurried on to do many
absurd things against his nature and will, than that there is not
any intemperance or wickedness of which Jupiter is not the cause.
Moreover, since they affirm the world to be a city and the stars
citizens, if this be so, there must be also tribes-men and
magistrates, the sun must be some consul, and the evening star a
praetor or mayor of a city. Now I know not whether any one that
shall go about to disprove such things will not show himself more
ridiculous than those who assert and affirm them.

Is it not therefore against sense to say that the seed is more and
greater than that which is produced of it? For we see that Nature
in all animals and plants, even those that are wild, has taken
small, slender, and scarce visible things for principles of
generation to the greatest. For it does not only from a grain of
wheat produce an ear-bearing stalk, or a vine from the stone of a
grape; but from a small berry or acorn which has escaped being
eaten by the bird, kindling and setting generation on fire (as it
were) from a little spark, it sends forth the stock of a bush, or
the tall body of an oak, palm, or pine tree. Whence also they say
that seed is in Greek called [Greek omitted], as it were, the
[Greek omitted] or the WINDING UP of a great mass in a little
compass; and that Nature has the name of [Greek omitted], as if it
were the INFLATION [Greek omitted] and diffusion of reason and
numbers opened and loosened by it. But now, in opposition to this,
they hold that fire is the seed of the world, which shall after the
conflagration change into seed the world, which will then have a
copious nature from a smaller body and bulk, and possess an
infinite space of vacuum filled by its increase; and the world
being made, the form again recedes and settles, the matter being
after the generation gathered and contracted into itself.

You may hear them and read many of their writings, in which they
jangle with the Academics, and cry out against them as confounding
all things with their paradox of indistinguishable identity, and as
vehemently contending that there is but one quality in two
substances. And yet there is no man who understands not this, and
would not on the contrary think it wonderful and extremely strange
if there should not in all time be found one kind of dove exactly
and in all respects like to another dove, a bee to a bee, a grain
of wheat to a grain of wheat, or (as the proverb has it) one fig to
another. But these things are plainly against common sense which
the Stoics say and feign,--that there are in one substance two
individual qualities, and that the same substance, which has
particularly one quality, when another quality is added, receives
and equally conserves them both. For if there may be two, there
may be also three, four, and five, and even more than you can name,
in one and the same substance; I say not in its different parts,
but all equally in the whole, though even infinite in number.
For Chrysippus says, that Jupiter and the world are like to man, as
is also Providence to the soul; when therefore the conflagration
shall be, Jupiter, who alone of all the gods is incorruptible, will
retire into Providence, and they being together, will both
perpetually remain in the one substance of the ether.

But leaving now the gods, and beseeching them to give these Stoics
common sense and a common understanding, let us look into their
doctrines concerning the elements. It is against the common
conceptions that one body should be the place of another, or that a
body should penetrate through a body, neither of them containing
any vacuity, but the full passing into the full, and in which there
is no vacuity--but is full and has no place by reason of its
continuity--receiving the mixture. But these men, not thrusting
one thing into one, nor yet two or three or ten together, but
jumbling all the parts of the world, being cut piecemeal, into any
one thing which they shall first light on, and saying that the very
least which is perceived by sense will contain the greatest that
shall come unto it, boldly frame a new doctrine, proving themselves
here, as in many other things, to be holding for their suppositions
things repugnant to common sense. And presently upon this they are
forced to admit into their discourse many monstrous and strange
positions, mixing whole bodies with whole; of which this also is
one, that three are four. For this others put as an example of
those things which cannot be conceived even in thought. But to the
Stoics it is a matter of truth, that when one cup of wine is mixed
with two of water, if it is not to disappear and if the mixture is
to be equalized, it must be spread through the whole and be
confounded therewith, so as to make that which was one two by the
equalization of the mixture. For the one remains, but is extended
as much as two, and thus is equal to the double of itself. Now if
it happens in the mixture with two to take the measure of two in
the diffusion, this is together the measure both of three and
four,--of three because one is mixed with two, and of four because,
being mixed with two, it has an equal quantity with those with
which it is mixed. Now this fine subtilty is a consequence of
their putting bodies into a body, and so likewise is the
unintelligibleness of the manner how one is contained in the other.
For it is of necessity that, of bodies passing one into another by
mixture, the one should not contain and the other be contained, nor
the one receive and the other be received within; for this would
not be a mixture, but a contiguity and touching of the superficies,
the one entering in, and the other enclosing it without, and the
rest of the parts remaining unmixed and pure, and so it would be
merely many different things. But there being a necessity,
according to their axiom of mixture, that the things which are
mixed should be mingled one within the other, and that the same
things should together be contained by being within, and by
receiving contain the other, and that neither of them could
possibly exist again as it was before, it comes to pass that both
the subjects of the mixture mutually penetrate each other, and that
there is not any part of either remaining separate, but that they
are necessarily all filled with each other.

Here now that famed leg of Arcesilaus comes in, with much laughter
insulting over their absurdities; for if these mixtures are through
the whole, what should hinder but that, a leg being cut off and
putrefied and cast into the sea and diffused, not only Antigonus's
fleet (as Arcesilaus said) might sail through it, but also Xerxes's
twelve hundred ships, together with the Grecians' three hundred
galleys, might fight in it? For the progress will not henceforth
fail, nor the lesser cease to be in the greater; or else the
mixture will be at an end, and the extremity of it, touching where
it shall end, will not pass through the whole, but will give over
being mingled. But if the mixture is through the whole, the leg
will not indeed of itself give the Greeks room for the sea-fight,
for to this there is need of putrefaction and change; but if one
glass or but one drop of wine shall fall from hence into the Aegean
or Cretan Sea, it will pass into the Ocean or main Atlantic Sea,
not lightly touching its superficies, but being spread quite
through it in depth, breadth, and length. And this Chrysippus
admits, saying immediately in his First Book of Natural Questions,
that there is nothing to hinder one drop of wine from being mixed
with the whole sea. And that we may not wonder at this, he says
that this one drop will by mixtion extend through the whole world;
than which I know not anything that can appear more absurd.

And this also is against sense, that there is not in the nature of
bodies anything either supreme or first or last, in which the
magnitude of the body may terminate; but that there is always some
phenomenon beyond the body, still going on which carries the
subject to infinity and undeterminateness. For one body cannot be
imagined greater or less than another, if both of them may by their
parts proceed IN INFINITUM; but the nature of inequality is taken
away. For of things that are esteemed unequal, the one falls short
in its last parts, and the other goes on and exceeds. Now if there
is no inequality, it follows that there is no unevenness nor
roughness of bodies; for unevenness is the inequality of the same
superficies with itself, and roughness is an unevenness joined with
hardness; neither of which is left us by those who terminate no
body in its last part, but extend them all by the multitude of
their parts unto an infinity. And yet is it not evident that a man
consists of more parts than a finger, and the world of more than a
man? This indeed all men know and understand, unless they become
Stoics; but if they are once Stoics, they on the contrary say and
think that a man has no more parts than a finger, nor the world
than a man. For division reduces bodies to an infinity; and of
infinites neither is more or less or exceeds in multitude, or the
parts of the remainder will cease to be divided and to afford a
multitude of themselves.

LAMPRIAS. How then do they extricate themselves out of
these difficulties?

DIADUMENUS. Surely with very great cunning and courage.
For Chrysippus says: "If we are asked, if we have any parts, and
how many, and of what and how many parts they consist, we are to
use a distinction, making it a position that the whole body is
compacted of the head, trunk, and legs, as if that were all which
is inquired and doubted of. But if they extend their interrogation
to the last parts, no such thing is to be undertaken, but we are to
say that they consist not of any certain parts, nor yet of so many,
nor of infinite, nor of finite." And I seem to myself to have used
his very words, that you may perceive how he maintains the common
notions, forbidding us to think of what or how many parts every
body is compacted, and whether of infinite or finite. For if there
were any medium between finite and infinite, as the indifferent is
between good and evil, he should, by telling us what that is, have
solved the difficulty. But if--as that which is not equal is
presently understood to be unequal, and that which is not mortal to
be immortal--we also understand that which is not finite to be
immediately infinite, to say that a body consists of parts neither
finite nor infinite is, in my opinion, the same thing as to affirm
that an argument is compacted of positions neither true
nor false. ...

To this he with a certain youthful rashness adds, that in a pyramid
consisting of triangles, the sides inclining to the juncture are
unequal, and yet do not exceed one another in that they are
greater. Thus does he keep the common notions. For if there is
anything greater and not exceeding, there will be also something
less and not deficient, and so also something unequal which neither
exceeds nor is deficient; that is, there will be an unequal thing
equal, a greater not greater, and a less not less. See it yet
farther, in what manner he answered Democritus, inquiring
philosophically and to the point, if a cone is divided by a plane
parallel with its base, what is to be thought of the superficies of
its segments, whether they are equal or unequal; for if they are
unequal, they will render the cone uneven, receiving many steplike
incisions and roughnesses; but if they are equal, the sections will
be equal, and the cone will seem to have the same qualities as the
cylinder, to wit, to be composed not of unequal but of equal
circles; which is most absurd. Here, that he may convince
Democritus of ignorance, he says, that the superficies are neither
equal or unequal, but that the bodies are unequal, because the
superficies are neither equal nor unequal. Indeed to assert this
for a law, that bodies are unequal while the superficies are not
unequal, is the part of a man who takes to himself a wonderful
liberty of writing whatever comes into his head. For reason and
manifest evidence, on the contrary, give us to understand, that the
superficies of unequal bodies are unequal, and that the bigger the
body is, the greater also is the superficies, unless the excess, by
which it is the greater, is void of a superficies. For if the
superficies of the greater bodies do not exceed those of the less,
but sooner fail, a part of that body which has an end will be
without an end and infinite. For if he says that he is compelled
to this. For those rabbeted incisions, which he suspects in a
cone, are made by the inequality of the body, and not of the
superficies. It is ridiculous therefore not to reckon the
superficies, and to leave the inequality in the bodies themselves.
But to persist still in this matter, what is more repugnant to
sense than the imagining of such things? For if we admit that one
superficies is neither equal nor unequal to another, we may say
also of magnitude and of number, that one is neither equal nor
unequal to another; and this, not having anything that we can call
or think to be a neuter or medium between equal and unequal.
Besides, if there are superficies neither equal nor unequal, what
hinders but there may be also circles neither equal nor unequal?
For indeed these superficies of conic sections are circles. And if
circles, why may not also their diameters be neither equal nor
unequal? And if so, why not also angles, triangles,
parallelograms, parallelopipeds, and bodies? For if the longitudes
are neither equal nor unequal to one another, so will the weight,
percussion, and bodies be neither equal nor unequal. How then dare
these men inveigh against those who introduce vacuums, and suppose
that there are indivisible atoms, and who say that motion and rest
are not incompatible with each other, when they themselves affirm
such axioms as these to be false: If any things are not equal to
one another, they are unequal to one another; and the same things
are not equal and unequal to one another? But when he says that
there is something greater and yet not exceeding, it were worth the
while to ask, whether these things quadrate with one another.
For if they quadrate, how is either the greater? And if they do
not quadrate, how can it be but the one must exceed and the other
fall short? For if neither of these are true, the other both will
and will not quadrate with the greater. For those who keep not the
common conceptions must of necessity fall into such perplexities.

It is moreover against sense to say that nothing touches another;
nor is this less absurd, that bodies touch one another, but touch
by nothing. For they are necessitated to admit these things, who
allow not the least parts of a body, but assume something before
that which appears to touch, and never ceases to proceed still
farther. What, therefore, these men principally object to the
patrons of those indivisible bodies called atoms is this, that
there is neither a touching of the whole by the whole, nor of the
parts by the parts; for that the one makes not a touching but a
mixture, and that the other is not possible, these individuals
having no parts. How then do not they themselves fall into the
same inconvenience, leaving no first or last part, whilst they say,
that whole bodies mutually touch one another by a term or extremity
and not by a part? But this term is not a body; therefore one body
shall touch one another by that which is incorporeal, and again
shall not touch, that which is incorporeal coming between them.
And if it shall touch, the body shall both do and suffer something
by that which is incorporeal. For it is the nature of bodies
mutually to do and suffer, and to touch. But if the body has a
touching by that which is incorporeal, it will have also a contact,
and a mixture, and a coalition. Again, in these contacts and
mixtures the extremities of the bodies must either remain, or not
remain but be corrupted. Now both of these are against sense.
For neither do they themselves admit corruptions and generations of
incorporeal things; nor can there be a mixture and coalition of
bodies retaining their own extremities. For the extremity
determines and constitutes the nature of the body; and mixtions,
unless the mutual laying of parts by parts are thereby understood,
wholly confound all those that are mixed. And, as these men say,
we must admit the corruption of extremities in mixtures, and their
generation again in the separation of them. But this none can
easily understand. Now by what bodies mutually touch each other,
by the same they press, thrust, and crush each other. Now that
this should be done or take place in things that are incorporeal,
is impossible and not so much as to be imagined. But yet this they
would constrain us to conceive. For if a sphere touch a plane by a
point, it is manifest that it may be also drawn over the plane upon
a point; and if the superficies of it is painted with vermilion, it
will imprint a red line on the plane; and if it is fiery hot, it
will burn the plane. Now for an incorporeal thing to color, or a
body to be burned by that which is incorporeal, is against sense.
But if we should imagine an earthen or glassy sphere to fall from
on high upon a plane of stone, it were against reason to think it
would not be broken, being struck against that which is hard and
solid; but it would be more absurd that it should be broken,
falling upon an extremity or point that is incorporeal. So that
the presumptions concerning things incorporeal and corporeal are
wholly disturbed, or rather taken away, by their joining to them
many impossibilities.

It is also against common sense, that there should be a time future
and past, but no time present; and that EREWHILE and LATELY
subsist, but NOW is nothing at all. Yet this often befalls the
Stoics, who admit not the least time between, nor will allow the
present to be indivisible; but whatsoever any one thinks to take
and understand as present, one part of that they say to be future,
and the other part past; so that there is no part remaining or left
of the present time: but of that which is said to be present, one
part is distributed to the future, the other to the past.
Therefore one of these two things follows: either that, holding
there was a time and there will be a time, we must deny there is a
time; or we must hold that there is a time present, part of which
has already been and part will be, and say that of that which now
is, one part is future and the other past; and that of NOW, one
part is before and the other behind; and that now is that which is
neither yet now nor any longer NOW; for that which is past is no
longer now, and that which is to come is not yet NOW. And dividing
thus the present, they must needs say of the year and of the day,
that part of it was of the year or day past, and part will be of
the year or day to come; and that of what is together, there is a
part before and a part after. For no less are they perplexed,
confounding together these terms, NOT YET and ALREADY and NO LONGER
and NOW and NOT NOW. But all other men suppose, esteem, and think
EREWHILE and AWHILE HENCE to be different parts of time from NOW,
which is followed by the one and preceded by the other.
But Archedemus, saying that now is the beginning and juncture of
that which is past and that which is near at hand, has (as it
seems) without perceiving it thereby destroyeth all time.
For if NOW is no time, but only a term or extremity of time, and if
every part of time is such as now, all time seems to have no parts,
but to be wholly dissolved into terms, joints, and beginnings.
But Chrysippus, desiring to show more artifice in his division, in
his book of Vacuity and some others, says, that the past and future
time are not, but have subsisted (or will subsist), and that the
present only is; but in his third, fourth, and fifth books
concerning Parts, he asserts, that of the present time one part is
past, the other to come. Thus it comes to pass, that he divides
subsisting time into non-subsisting parts of a subsisting total, or
rather leaves nothing at all of time subsisting, if the present has
no part but what is either future or past.

These men's conception therefore of time is not unlike the grasping
of water, which, the harder it is held, all the more slides and
runs away. As to actions and motions, all evidence is utterly
confounded. For if NOW is divided into past and future, it is of
necessity that what is now moved partly has been moved and partly
shall be moved, that the end and beginning of motion have been
taken away, that nothing of any work has been done first, nor shall
anything be last, the actions being distributed with time. For as
they say that of present time, part is past and part to come; so of
that which is doing, it will be said that part is done and part
shall be done. When therefore had TO DINE, TO WRITE, TO WALK, a
beginning, and when shall they have an end, if every one who is
dining has dined and shall dine, and every one who is walking has
walked and shall walk? But this is, as it is said, of all
absurdities the most absurd, that if he who now lives has already
lived and shall live, then to live neither had beginning nor shall
have end; but every one of us, as it seems, was born without
commencing to live, and shall die without ceasing to live. For if
there is no last part, but he who lives has something of the
present still remaining for the future, to say "Socrates shall
live" will never be false so long as it shall be true to say
"Socrates lives"; and so long also will it be false to say
"Socrates is dead." So that, if "Socrates shall live" is true in
infinite parts of time, it will in no part of time be true to say
"Socrates is dead." And verily what end will there be of a work,
and where will you terminate an action, if, as often as it is true
to say "This is doing," it is likewise true to say "This shall be
doing"? For he will lie who shall say, there will be an end of
Plato's writing and disputing; since Plato will never give over
writing and disputing, if it is never false to say of him who
disputes that he shall dispute, and of him who writes that he shall
write. Moreover, there will be no part of that which now is, but
either has been or is to be, and is either past or future; but of
what has been and is to be, of past and future, there is no sense;
wherefore there is absolutely no sense of anything. For we neither
see what is past and future, nor do we hear or have any other sense
of what has been or is to be. Nothing, then, even what is present,
is to be perceived by sense, if of the present, part is always
future and part past,--if part has been and part is to be.

Now they indeed say, that Epicurus does intolerable things and
violates the conceptions, in moving all bodies with equal celerity,
and admitting none of them to be swifter than another. And yet it
is much more intolerable and farther remote from sense, that
nothing can be overtaken by another:--

Not though Adrastus's swift-footed steed
Should chase the tortoise slow,

as the proverb has it. Now this must of necessity fall out, if
things move according to PRIUS and POSTERIUS, and the intervals
through which they pass are (as these men's tenet is) divisible IN
INFINITUM; for if the tortoise is but a furlong before the horse,
they who divide this furlong in infinitum, and move them both
according to PRIUS and POSTERIUS, will never bring the swiftest to
the slowest; the slower always adding some interval divisible into
infinite spaces. Now to affirm that, water being poured from a
bowl or cup, it will never be all poured out, is it not both
against common sense, and a consequence of what these men say?
For no man can understand the motion according to PRIUS of things
infinitely divisible to be consummated; but leaving always somewhat
divisible, it will make all the effusion, all the running and flux
of a liquid, motion of a solid, and fall of an heavy
thing imperfect.

I pass by many absurdities of theirs, touching only such as are
against sense. The dispute concerning increase is indeed ancient;
for the question, as Chrysippus says, was put by Epicharmus.
Now, whereas those of the Academy think that the doubt is not very
easy and ready all of a sudden to be cleared, these men have
mightily exclaimed against them, and accused them of taking away
the fixed ideas, and yet themselves are so far from preserving the
common notions, that they pervert even sense itself. For the
discourse is simple, and these men grant the suppositions,--that
all particular substances flow and are carried, some of them
emitting forth somewhat from themselves, and others receiving
things coming from elsewhere; and that the things to which there is
made an accession or from which there is a decession by numbers and
multitudes, do not remain the same, but become others by the said
accessions, the substance receiving a change; and that these
changes are not rightly called by custom increasings or
diminutions, but it is fitter they should be styled generations and
corruptions, because they drive by force from one state to another,
whereas to increase and be diminished are passions of a body that
is subject and permanent. These things being thus in a manner said
and delivered, what would these defenders of evidence and canonical
masters of common conceptions have? Every one of us (they say) is
double, twin-like, and composed of a double nature; not as the
poets feigned of the Molionidae, that they in some parts grow
together and in some parts are separated,--but every one of us has
two bodies, having the same color, the same figure, the same weight
and place. ... These things were never before seen by any man;
but these men alone have discerned this composition, doubleness,
and ambiguity, how every one of us is two subjects, the one
substance, the other quality; and the one is in perpetual flux and
motion, neither increasing nor being diminished nor remaining
altogether; the other remains and increases and is diminished, and
suffers all things contrary to the former, with which it is so
concorporated, conjoined, and confounded, that it exhibits not any
difference to be perceived by sense. Indeed, Lynceus is said to
have penetrated stones and oaks with his sight; and a certain man
sitting on a watch-tower in Sicily beheld the ships of the
Carthaginians setting forth from their harbor, which was a day and
a night's sail from thence. Callicrates and Myrmecides are said to
have made chariots that might be covered with the wings of a fly,
and to have engraved verses of Homer on a sesame seed. But none
ever discerned or discovered this diversity in us; nor have we
perceived ourselves to be double, in one part always flowing, and
in the other remaining the same from our birth even to our death.
But I make the discourse more simple, since they make four subjects
in every one, or rather every one of us to be four. But two are
sufficient to show their absurdity. For if, when we hear Pentheus
in the tragedy affirm that he sees two suns and two cities of
Thebes, (Euripides, "Bacchae," 918.) we say that he does not see,
but that his sight is dazzled, he being transported and troubled in
his head; why do we not bid those farewell, who assert not one city
alone, but all men and animals, and all trees, vessels,
instruments, and clothes, to be double and composed of two, as men
who constrain us to dote rather than to understand? But this
feigning other natures of subjects must perhaps be pardoned them;
for there appears no other invention by which they can maintain and
uphold the augmentations of which they are so fond.

But by what cause moved, or for the adorning of what other
suppositions, they frame in a manner innumerable differences and
forms of bodies in the soul, there is none can say, unless it be
that they remove, or rather wholly abdicate and destroy, the common
and usual notions, to introduce other foreign and strange ones.
For it is very absurd that, making all virtues and vices--and with
them all arts, memories, fancies, passions, impulses, and assents
--to be bodies, they should affirm that they neither lie nor
subsist in any subject, leaving them for a place one only hole,
like a prick in the heart, where they crowd the principal part of
the soul, enclosed with so many bodies, that a very great number of
them lie hid even from those who think they can spare and
distinguish them one from another. Nay that they should not only
make them bodies, but also intelligent beings, and even a swarm of
such creatures, not friendly or mild, but a multitude rebellious
and having a hostile mind, and should so make of each one of us a
park or menagerie or Trojan horse, or whatever else we may call
their inventions,--this is the very height of contempt and
contradiction to evidence and custom. But they say, that not only
the virtues and vices, not only the passions, as anger, envy,
grief, and maliciousness, not only comprehensions, fancies, and
ignorances, not only arts, as shoemaking and working in brass, are
animals; but besides these, also they make even the operations
bodies and animals, saying that walking is an animal, as also
dancing, supposing, saluting, and railing. The consequence of this
is that laughing and weeping are also animals; and if so, then also
are coughing, sneezing, groaning, spitting, blowing the nose, and
other such like things sufficiently known. Neither have they any
cause to take it ill that they are by reason, proceeding leisurely,
reduced to this, if they shall call to mind how Chrysippus, in his
First Book of Natural Questions, argues thus: "Is not night a body?
And are not then the evening, dawning, and midnight bodies? Or is
not a day a body? Is not then the first day of the month a body?
And the tenth, the fifteenth, and the thirtieth, are they not
bodies? Is not a month a body? Summer, autumn, and the year, are
they not bodies?"

These things they maintain against the common conceptions;
but those which follow they hold also against their own,
engendering that which is most hot by refrigeration, and that which
is most subtile by condensation. For the soul, to wit, is a
substance most hot and most subtile. But this they make by the
refrigeration and condensation of the body, changing, as it were,
by induration the spirit, which of vegetative is made animal.
Moreover, they say that the sun became animated, his moisture
changing into intellectual fire. Behold how the sun is imagined to
be engendered by refrigeration! Xenophanes indeed, when one told
him that he had seen eels living in hot water, answered, We will
boil them then in cold. But if these men engender heat by
refrigeration and lightness by condensation, it follows, they must
also generate cold things by heat, thick things by dissolution, and
heavy things by rarefaction, that so they may keep some proportion
in their absurdity.

And do they not also determine the substance and generation of
conception itself, even against the common conceptions?
For conception is a certain imagination, and imagination an
impression in the soul. Now the nature of the soul is an
exhalation, in which it is difficult for an impression to be made
because of its tenuity, and for which it is impossible to keep an
impression it may have received. For its nutriment and generation,
consisting of moist things, have continual accession and
consumption. And the mixture of respiration with the air always
makes some new exhalation which is altered and changed by the flux
of the air coming from abroad and again going out. For one may
more easily imagine that a stream of running water can retain
figures, impressions, and images, than that a spirit can be carried
in vapors and humors, and continually mingled with another idle and
strange breath from without. But these men so far forget
themselves, that, having defined the conceptions to be certain
stored-up intelligences, and memoirs to be constant and habitual
impressions, and having wholly fixed the sciences, as having
stability and firmness, they presently place under them a basis and
seat of a slippery substance, easy to be dissipated and in
perpetual flux and motion.

Now the common conception of an element and principle, naturally
imprinted in almost all men, is this, that it is simple, unmixed,
and uncompounded. For that is not an element or principle which
is mixed; but those things are so of which it is mixed. But these
men, making God, who is the principle of all things, to be an
intellectual body and a mind seated in matter, pronounce him to be
neither simple nor uncompounded, but to be composed of and by
another; matter being of itself indeed without reason and void of
quality, and yet having simplicity and the propertv of a
principle. If, then, God is not incorporeal and immaterial, he
participates of matter as a principle. For if matter and reason
are one and the same thing, they have not rightly defined matter
to be reasonless; but if they are different things, then is God
constituted of them both, and is not a simple but compound thing,
having to the intellectual taken the corporeal from matter.

Moreover, calling these four bodies, earth, water, air, and fire,
the first elements, they do (I know not how) make some of them
simple and pure, and others compound and mixed. For they maintain
that earth and water hold together neither themselves nor other
things, but preserve their unity by the participation of air and
force of fire; but that air and fire do both fortify themselves by
their own strength, or being mixed with the other two, give them
force, permanence, and subsistence. How, then, is either earth or
water an element, if neither of them is either simple, or first or
self-sufficient, but if each one wants somewhat from without to
contain and keep it in its being? For they have not left so much
as a thought of their substance; but this discourse concerning the
earth has much confusion and uncertainty, when they say that it
subsists of itself; for if the earth is of itself, how has it need
of the air to fix and contain it? But neither the earth nor water
can any more be said to be of itself; but the air, drawing
together and thickening the matter, has made the earth, and again
dissolving and mollifying it, has produced the water. Neither of
these then is an element, since something else has contributed
being and generation to them both.

Moreover, they say that subsistence and matter are subject to
qualities, and do so in a manner define them; and again, they make
the qualities to be also bodies. But these things have much
perplexity. For if qualities have a peculiar substance, for which
they both are and are called bodies, they need no other substance;
for they have one of their own. But if they have under them in
common only that which the Stoic school calls essence and matter,
it is manifest they do but participate of the body; for they are
not bodies. But the subject and recipient must of necessity
differ from those things which it receives and to which it is
subject. But these men see by halves; for they say indeed that
matter is void of quality, but they will not call qualities
immaterial. Now how can they make a body without quality, who
understand no quality without a body? For the reason which joins
a body to all quality suffers not the understanding to comprehend
any body without some quality. Either, therefore, he who oppugns
incorporeal quality seems also to oppugn unqualified matter;
or separating the one from the other, he mutually parts them both.
As for the reason which some pretend, that matter is called
unqualified not because it is void of all quality, but because it
has all qualities, it is most of all against sense. For no man
calls that unqualified which is capable of every quality, nor that
impassible which is by nature always apt to suffer all things, nor
that immovable which is moved every way. And this doubt is not
solved, that, however matter is always understood with quality,
yet it is understood to be another thing and differing
from quality.

END OF SIX-------------

CONTRADICTIONS OF THE STOICS.

I first lay this down for an axiom, that there ought to be seen in
men's lives an agreement with their doctrines. For it is not so
necessary that the pleader (as Aeschines has it) and the law speak
one and the same thing, as that the life of a philosopher be
consonant to his speech. For the speech of a philosopher is a law
of his own and voluntarily imposed on himself, unless they esteem
philosophy to be a game, or an acuteness in disputing invented for
the gaining of applause, and not--what it really is--a thing
deserving our greatest study.

Since, then, there are in their discourses many things written by
Zeno himself, many by Cleanthes, and most of all by Chrysippus,
concerning policy, governing, and being governed, concerning
judging and pleading, and yet there is not to be found in any of
their lives either leading of armies, making of laws, going to
parliament, pleading before the judges, fighting for their country,
travelling on embassies, or making of public gifts, but they have
all, feeding (if I may so say) on rest as on the lotus, led their
whole lives, and those not short but very long ones, in foreign
countries, amongst disputations, books, and walkings; it is
manifest that they have lived rather according to the writings and
sayings of others than their own professions, having spent all
their days in that repose which Epicurus and Hieronymus so
much commend.

Chrysippus indeed himself, in his Fourth Book of Lives, thinks
there is no difference between a scholastic life and a voluptuous
one. I will set down here his very words: "They who are of opinion
that a scholastic life is from the very beginning most suitable to
philosophers seem to me to be in an error, thinking that men ought
to follow this for the sake of some recreation or some other thing
like to it, and in that manner to spin out the whole course of
their life; that is, if it may be explained, to live at ease.
For this opinion of theirs is not to be concealed, many of them
delivering it clearly, and not a few more obscurely." Who therefore
did more grow old in this scholastic life than Chrysippus,
Cleanthes, Diogenes, Zeno, and Antipater, who left their countries
not out of any discontent but that they might quietly enjoy their
delight, studying, and disputing at their leisure. To verify
which, Aristocreon, the disciple and intimate friend of Chrysippus,
having erected his statue of brass upon a pillar, engraved on it
these verses:--

This brazen statue Aristocreon
To's friend Chrysippus newly here has put,
Whose sharp-edged wit, like sword of champion,
Did Academic knots in sunder cut.

Such a one then was Chrysippus, an old man, a philosopher, one who
praised the regal and civil life, and thought there was no
difference between a scholastic and voluptuous one.

But those others of them who intermeddle in state affairs act yet
more contradictorily to their own doctrines. For they govern,
judge, consult, make laws, punish, and honor, as if those were
indeed cities in the government of which they concern themselves,
those truly counsellors and judges who are at any time allotted to
such offices, those generals who are chosen by suffrages, and those
laws which were made by Clisthenes, Lycurgus, and Solon, whom they
affirm to have been vicious men and fools. Thus even over the
management of state affairs are they at variance with themselves.

Indeed Antipater, in his writings concerning the difference between
Cleanthes and Chrysippus, has related that Zeno and Cleanthes would
not be made citizens of Athens, lest they might seem to injure
their own countries. I shall not much insist upon it, that, if
they did well, Chrysippus acted amiss in suffering himself to be
enrolled as a member of that city. But this is very contradictory
and absurd, that, removing their persons and their lives so far off
amongst strangers, they reserved their names for their countries;
which is the same thing as if a man, leaving his wife, and
cohabiting and bedding with another, and getting children on her,
should yet refuse to contract marriage with the second, lest he
might seem to wrong the former.

Again, Chrysippus, writing in his treatise of Rhetoric, that a wise man will so plead and so act in the management of a commonwealth, as if riches, glory, and health were really good, confesses that his speeches are inextricable and impolitic, and his doctrines unsuitable for the uses and actions of human life.

It is moreover a doctrine of Zeno's, that temples are not to be
built to the gods; for that a temple is neither a thing of much
value nor holy; since no work of carpenters and handicrafts-men can
be of much value. And yet they who praise these things as well and
wisely said are initiated in the sacred mysteries, go up to the
Citadel (where Minerva's temple stands), adore the shrines, and
adorn with garlands the sacraries, being the works of carpenters
and mechanical persons. Again, they think that the Epicureans, who
sacrifice to the gods and yet deny them to meddle with the
government of the world, do thereby refute themselves; whereas they
themselves are more contrary to themselves, sacrificing on altars
and in temples, which they affirm ought not to stand nor to have
been built.

Moreover, Zeno admits (as Plato does) several virtues having
various distinctions--to wit, prudence, fortitude, temperance, and
justice--as being indeed inseparable, but yet divers and different
from one another. But again, defining every one of them, he says
that fortitude is prudence in executing, justice prudence in
distributing, as being one and the same virtue, but seeming to
differ in its relation to different affairs when it comes to
action. Nor does Zeno alone seem to contradict himself in these
matters; but Chrysippus also, who blames Ariston for saying that
the other virtues are different habits of one and the same virtue,
and yet defends Zeno, who in this manner defines every one of the
virtues. And Cleanthes, having in his Commentaries concerning
Nature said, that vigor is the striking of fire, which, if it is
sufficient in the soul to perform the duties presented to it, is
called force and strength; subjoins these very words: "Now this
force and strength, when it is in things apparent and to be
persisted in, is continence; when in things to be endured, it is
fortitude; when about worthiness, it is justice; and when about
choosing or refusing, it is temperance." Against him, who said,

Give not thy judgment till both sides are heard,
(In the "Pseudo-Phocylidea," vs. 87 (Bergk).)

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