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Authorized Doctrine 5

5. It is not possible to live pleasantly without living wisely, honorably, and justly. Nor can one live wisely, honorably, and justly without living pleasantly. But those who for any reason do not live wisely, honorably, and justly cannot possibly live pleasantly.

Alternate Translations: Bailey: It is not possible to live pleasantly without living prudently and honorably and justly, [nor again to live a live of prudence, honor, and justice] without living pleasantly. And the man who does not possess the pleasant life is not living prudently and honorably and justly, [and the man who does not possess the virtuous life] cannot possibly live pleasantly. Yonge: It is not possible to live pleasantly without living prudently and honorably and justly, [nor again to live a life of prudence, honor, and justice] without living pleasantly. And the man who does not possess the pleasant life, is not living prudently and honorably and justly, [and the man who does not possess the virtuous life] cannot possibly live pleasantly.

Letter to Menoeceus: Now, the beginning and the greatest good of all these things is wisdom. Wisdom is something more valuable even than philosophy itself, inasmuch as all the other virtues spring from it. Wisdom teaches us that it is not possible to live happily unless one also lives wisely, and honestly, and justly; and that one cannot live wisely and honestly and justly without also living happily. For these virtues are by nature bound up together with the happy life, and the happy life is inseparable from these virtues.

Cicero’s Defense of Epicurus: Here indeed is the renowned road to happiness — open, simple, and direct! For clearly man can have no greater good than complete freedom from pain and sorrow coupled with the enjoyment of the highest bodily and mental pleasures. Notice then how the theory embraces every possible enhancement of life, every aid to the achievement of that chief good – a life of happiness – which is our object. Epicurus, the man whom you denounce as given to excessive sensuality, cries aloud that no one can live pleasantly without living wisely, honorably and justly, and no one can live wisely, honorably and justly without living pleasantly.

Cicero’s Defense of Epicurus: Or look again at men who are petty, narrow-minded, confirmed pessimists, or others who are spiteful, envious, ill-tempered, unsociable, abusive, cantankerous. Look at those who are enslaved to the follies of love, or those who are impudent, reckless, wanton, headstrong and yet irresolute, always changing their minds. Such failings render their lives one unbroken round of misery. The result is that no foolish man can be happy, nor any wise man fail to be happy. This is a truth that we establish far more conclusively than do the Platonic philosophers, who maintain that nothing is good save that vague phantom which they entitle “Moral Worth,” a title more splendid in sound than it is substantial in reality. Such men are gravely mistaken when, resting on this vague idea of “Moral Worth” they allege that Virtue has no need of pleasure, and that Virtue is sufficient for itself. At the same time, this view can be stated in a form to which we do not object, and can indeed endorse. For Epicurus tells us that the Wise Man is always happy. The Wise Man’s desires are kept within Nature’s bounds, and he disregards death. The wise man has a true conception, untainted by fear, of the Divine Nature. If it be expedient to depart from life, the wise man does not hesitate to do so. Thus equipped, the wise man enjoys perpetual pleasure, for there is no moment when the pleasures he experiences do not outbalance his pains, since he remembers the past with delight, he grasps the present with a full realization of its pleasantness, and he does not rely wholly upon the future. The Wise Man looks forward to the future, but finds his true enjoyment in the present. Also, the wise man is entirely free from the vices that I referenced a few moments ago, and he derives considerable pleasure from comparing his own existence with the life of the foolish. Any pains that the Wise Man may encounter are never so severe but that he has more cause for gladness than for sorrow.

Letter to Pythocles: Imprint all these precepts in your memory, Pythocles, and you will easily escape fables, and it will be easy for you to discover other truths that are analogous to these. Above all, apply yourself to the study of general principles of the infinite, and of questions of this kind, and to the investigation of the different criteria of knowledge, and of the principles of choice and avoidance, and to the study of the chief good, keeping in mind the purpose of all our researches. When the general questions are once resolved in your mind, the means to resolve all particular difficulties will become clear to you. As to those who will not apply themselves to these principles, such men will neither be able to give a good explanation for these same matters, nor to reach that end to which all our researches tend, [a life of happiness].

pd_05.txt · Last modified: 2018/08/30 14:54 by cassius