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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Plato Bilingual Anthology : NO MAN IS VOLUNTARILY EVIL

from Timaeus, * 86.b-87.b, translated by B. Jowett

Greek Fonts / Plato Complete works / Plato Concept


XCESSIVE pains and pleasures are justly to be regarded as the greatest diseases to which the soul is liable. For a man who is in great joy or in great pain, in his unseasonable eagerness to attain the one and to avoid the other, is not able to see or to hear anything rightly; but he is mad, and is at the time utterly incapable of any participation in reason. He who has the seed about the spinal marrow too plentiful and overflowing, like a tree overladen with fruit, has many throes, and also obtains many pleasures in his desires and their offspring, and is for the most part of his life deranged, because his pleasures and pains are so very great; his soul is rendered foolish and disordered by his body; yet he is regarded not as one diseased, but as one who is voluntarily bad, which is a mistake. The truth is that the intemperance of love is a disease of the soul due chiefly to the moisture and fluidity which is produced in one of the elements by the loose consistency of the bones.

κακὸς ἑκὼν οὐδείς

ἡδονὰς δὲ καὶ λύπας ὑπερβαλλούσας τῶν νόσων μεγίστας θετέον τῇ ψυχῇ· περιχαρὴς γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ὢν ἢ καὶ τἀναντία ὑπὸ λύπης πάσχων͵ σπεύδων τὸ μὲν ἑλεῖν ἀκαίρως͵ τὸ δὲ φυγεῖν͵ οὔθ΄ ὁρᾶν οὔτε ἀκούειν ὀρθὸν οὐδὲν δύναται͵ λυττᾷ δὲ καὶ λογισμοῦ μετασχεῖν ἥκιστα τότε δὴ δυνατός. τὸ δὲ σπέρμα ὅτῳ πολὺ καὶ ῥυῶδες περὶ τὸν μυελὸν γίγνεται καὶ καθαπερεὶ δένδρον πολυκαρπότερον τοῦ συμμέτρου πεφυκὸς ᾖ͵ πολλὰς μὲν καθ΄ ἕκαστον ὠδῖνας͵ πολλὰς δ΄ ἡδονὰς κτώμενος ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις καὶ τοῖς περὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα τόκοις͵ ἐμμανὴς τὸ πλεῖστον γιγνόμενος τοῦ βίου διὰ τὰς μεγίστας ἡδονὰς καὶ λύπας͵ νοσοῦσαν καὶ ἄφρονα ἴσχων ὑπὸ τοῦ σώματος τὴν ψυχήν͵ οὐχ ὡς νοσῶν ἀλλ΄ ὡς ἑκὼν κακὸς δοξάζεται· τὸ δὲ ἀληθὲς ἡ περὶ τὰ ἀφροδίσια ἀκολασία κατὰ τὸ πολὺ μέρος διὰ τὴν ἑνὸς γένους ἕξιν ὑπὸ μανότητος ὀστῶν ἐν σώματι ῥυώδη καὶ ὑγραίνουσαν νόσος ψυχῆς γέγονεν.

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