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diogenes_of_sinope:plutarch_how_a_man_may_receive_advantage_and_profit_from_his_enemies

Diogenes of Sinope | Plutarch, How a Man May Receive Advantage and Profit from his Enemies

There are many things which, when we have obtained them by much labor and sweat, become nauseous, ungrateful, and directly contrary to our inclinations; but there are some (you know) who can turn the very indispositions of their bodies into an occasion of rest and freedom from business. And hard pains that have fallen upon many men have rendered them only the more robust through vigorous exercise. There are others who, as Diogenes and Crates did, have made banishment from their native country and loss of all their goods a means to pass out of a troublesome world into the quiet and serene state of philosophy and mental contemplation. So the Stoic Zeno welcomed the good fortune, when he heard the ship was broken wherein his adventures were, because she had reduced him to a torn coat, to the safety and innocence of a mean and low condition. For as some creatures of strong constitutions eat serpents and digest them well, — nay, there are some whose stomachs can by a strange powerful heat concoct shells or stones, — while on the contrary, there are the weak and diseased, who loathe even bread and wine, the most agreeable and best supports of human life; so the foolish and inconsiderate spoil the very friendships they are engaged in, but the wise and prudent make good use of the hatred and enmity of men.

Source: Plutarch’s Morals. Translated from the Greek by Several Hands. Corrected and Revised by William W. Goodwin, with an Introduction by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 5 Volumes. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878).

And here may be inserted that wise and facetious answer of Diogenes to one that asked him how he might be revenged of his enemy: The only way, says he, to gall and fret him effectually is for yourself to appear a good and honest man. The common people are generally envious and vexed in their minds, as oft as they see the cattle of those they have no kindness for, their dogs, or their horses, in a thriving condition; they sigh, fret, set their teeth, and show all the tokens of a malicious temper, when they behold their fields well tilled, or their gardens adorned and beset with flowers. If these things make them so restless and uneasy, what dost thou think they would do, what a torment would it be to them, if thou shouldst demonstrate thyself in the face of the world to be in all thy carriage a man of impartial justice, a sound understanding, unblamable integrity, of a ready and eloquent speech, sincere and upright in all your dealings, sober and temperate in all that you eat or drink;

  While from the culture of a prudent mind,
  Harvests of wise and noble thought you reap.



Source: Plutarch’s Morals. Translated from the Greek by Several Hands. Corrected and Revised by William W. Goodwin, with an Introduction by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 5 Volumes. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878).

diogenes_of_sinope/plutarch_how_a_man_may_receive_advantage_and_profit_from_his_enemies.txt · Last modified: 2014/01/14 23:19 (external edit)