Wednesday

December 31

WHERE, then, is the great good or evil of man?

Where his difference is. If this is preserved, and remains well fortified, and neither honour, fidelity, nor judgment is destroyed, then he himself is preserved likewise; but when any of these are lost and demolished, he himself is lost also. In this do all great events consist. Paris, they say, was undone, because the Greeks invaded Troy and laid it waste, and his family were slain in battle. By no means; for no one is undone by an action not his own. All that was only laying waste the nests of storks. But his true undoing was, when he lost the modest, the faithful, the hospitable, and the decent character. When was Achilles undone? When Patroclus died? By no means. But when he gave himself up to rage; when he wept over a girl; when he forgot that he came there not to get mistresses, but to fight. This is human undoing; this is the siege; this the overthrow: our right principles are ruined, when these are destroyed.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book i. §15. ¶2.

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