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The profligate therefore desires all pleasures, or those that are the most pleasant, and is led by his desire to pursue these in preference to everything else. He consequently feels pain not only when he fails to get them, but also from his desire for them, since desire is accompanied by pain; paradoxical though it seems that pain should be caused by pleasure. [7]

Men erring on the side of deficiency as regards pleasures, and taking less than a proper amount of enjoyment in them, scarcely occur; such insensibility is not human. Indeed, even the lower animals discriminate in food, and like some kinds and not others; and if there be a creature that finds nothing pleasant, and sees no difference between one thing and another, it must be very far removed from humanity. As men of this type scarcely occur, we have no special name for them. [8]

The temperate man keeps a middle course in these matters. He takes no pleasure at all in the things that the profligate enjoys most, on the contrary, he positively dislikes them; nor in general does he find pleasure in wrong things, nor excessive pleasure in anything of this sort; nor does he feel pain or desire when they are lacking, or only in a moderate degree, not more than is right, nor at the wrong time, et cetera. But such pleasures as conduce to health and fitness he will try to obtain in a moderate and right degree; as also other pleasures so far as they are not detrimental to health and fitness, and not ignoble, nor beyond his means. The man who exceeds these limits cares more for such pleasures than they are worth. Not so the temperate man; he only cares for them as right principle enjoins.12.

Profligacy seems to be more voluntary than Cowardice. For the former is caused by pleasure, the latter by pain, and pleasure is a thing we choose, pain a thing we avoid. [2] Also pain makes us beside ourselves: it destroys the sufferer's nature; whereas pleasure has no such effect. Therefore Profligacy is the more voluntary vice. And consequently it is the more reprehensible; since moreover it is easier to train oneself to resist the temptations of pleasure, because these occur frequently in life, and to practise resistance to them involves no danger, whereas the reverse is the case with the objects of fear. [3]

On the other hand, the possession of a cowardly character would seem to be more voluntary than particular manifestations of cowardice: for cowardliness in itself is not painful, but particular accesses of cowardice are so painful as to make a man beside himself, and cause him to throw away his arms or otherwise behave in an unseemly manner; so that cowardly actions actually seem to be done under compulsion. [4] But with the profligate on the contrary the particular acts are voluntary, for they are done with desire and appetite, but the character in general is less so, since no one desires to be a profligate. [5]

The word Profligacy1 or wantonness we also apply to the naughtiness of children,

1 ἀκολασία, literally ‘the result of not being punished,’ seems to have been used of spoiled children as well as of vicious adults.

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