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Section 15

15. But suppose two wise men, one of them possessing all that is supposed to be naturally welcome, while the other meets only with the very reverse: do we assert that they have an equal happiness?

We do, if they are equally wise.

What though the one be favoured in body and in all else that does not help towards wisdom, still less towards virtue, towards the vision of the noblest, towards being the highest, what does all that amount to? The man commanding all such practical advantages cannot flatter himself that he is more truly happy than the man without them: the utmost profusion of such boons would not help even to make a flute-player.

We discuss the happy man after our own feebleness; we count alarming and grave what his felicity takes lightly: he would be neither wise nor in the state of happiness if he had not quitted all trifling with such things and become as it were another being, having confidence in his own nature, faith that evil can never touch him. In such a spirit he can be fearless through and through; where there is dread, there is not perfect virtue; the man is some sort of a half-thing.

As for any involuntary fear rising in him and taking the judgement by surprise, while his thoughts perhaps are elsewhere, the Sage will attack it and drive it out; he will, so to speak, calm the refractory child within him, whether by reason or by menace, but without passion, as an infant might feel itself rebuked by a glance of severity.

This does not make the Sage unfriendly or harsh: it is to himself and in his own great concern that he is the Sage: giving freely to his intimates of all he has to give, he will be the best of friends by his very union with the Intellectual-Principle.

Next: Section 16