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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Physis : World Creation  

Plato's TIMAEUS : Pleasure and pain

Timaeus 64a - 69a  * Greek Fonts


Page 2

On the other hand the impression of sense which is most easily produced is most readily felt, but is not accompanied by Pleasure or pain; such, for example, are the affections of the sight, which, as we said above, is a body naturally uniting with our body in the day-time; for cuttings and burnings and other affections which happen to the sight do not give pain, nor is there pleasure when the sight returns to its natural state; but the sensations are dearest and strongest according to the manner in which the eye is affected by the object, and itself strikes and touches it; there is no violence either in the contraction or dilation of the eye. But bodies formed of larger particles yield to the agent only with a struggle; and then they impart their motions to the whole and cause pleasure and pain-pain when alienated from their natural conditions, and pleasure when restored to them. Things which experience gradual withdrawings and emptyings of their nature, and great and sudden replenishments, fail to perceive the emptying, but are sensible of the replenishment; and so they occasion no pain, but the greatest pleasure, to the mortal part of the soul, as is manifest in the case of perfumes. But things which are changed all of a sudden, and only gradually and with difficulty return to their own nature, have effects in every way opposite to the former, as is evident in the case of burnings and cuttings of the body.

τὸ δὲ μετ΄ εὐπετείας γιγνόμενον ἅπαν αἰσθητὸν μὲν ὅτι μάλιστα͵ λύπης δὲ καὶ ἡδονῆς οὐ μετέχον͵ οἷον τὰ περὶ τὴν ὄψιν αὐτὴν παθήματα͵ ἣ δὴ σῶμα ἐν τοῖς πρόσθεν ἐρρήθη καθ΄ ἡμέραν συμφυὲς ἡμῶν γίγνεσθαι. ταύτῃ γὰρ τομαὶ μὲν καὶ καύσεις καὶ ὅσα ἄλλα πάσχει λύπας οὐκ ἐμποιοῦσιν͵ [64e] οὐδὲ ἡδονὰς πάλιν ἐπὶ ταὐτὸν ἀπιούσης εἶδος͵ μέγισται δὲ αἰσθήσεις καὶ σαφέσταται καθ΄ ὅτι τ΄ ἂν πάθῃ καὶ ὅσων ἂν αὐτή πῃ προσβαλοῦσα ἐφάπτηται· βία γὰρ τὸ πάμπαν οὐκ ἔνι τῇ διακρίσει τε αὐτῆς καὶ συγκρίσει. τὰ δ΄ ἐκ μειζόνων μερῶν σώματα μόγις εἴκοντα τῷ δρῶντι͵ διαδιδόντα δὲ εἰς ὅλον τὰς κινήσεις͵ ἡδονὰς ἴσχει καὶ λύπας͵ [65a] ἀλλοτριούμενα μὲν λύπας͵ καθιστάμενα δὲ εἰς τὸ αὐτὸ πάλιν ἡδονάς. ὅσα δὲ κατὰ σμικρὸν τὰς ἀποχωρήσεις ἑαυτῶν καὶ κενώσεις εἴληφεν͵ τὰς δὲ πληρώσεις ἁθρόας καὶ κατὰ μεγάλα͵ κενώσεως μὲν ἀναίσθητα͵ πληρώσεως δὲ αἰσθητικὰ γιγνόμενα͵ λύπας μὲν οὐ παρέχει τῷ θνητῷ τῆς ψυχῆς͵ μεγίστας δὲ ἡδονάς· ἔστιν δὲ ἔνδηλα περὶ τὰς εὐωδίας. ὅσα δὲ ἀπαλλοτριοῦται μὲν ἁθρόα͵ [65b] κατὰ σμικρὰ δὲ μόγις τε εἰς ταὐτὸν πάλιν ἑαυτοῖς καθίσταται͵ τοὐναντίον τοῖς ἔμπροσθεν πάντα ἀποδίδωσιν· ταῦτα δ΄ αὖ περὶ τὰς καύσεις καὶ τομὰς τοῦ σώματος γιγνόμενά ἐστιν κατάδηλα.

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