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Hence the sense to which Profligacy is related is the most universal of the senses; and there appears to be good ground for the disrepute in which it is held, because it belongs to us not as human beings but as animals. Therefore it is bestial to revel in such pleasures, and to like them better than any others. We do not refer to the most refined of the pleasures of touch, such as the enjoyment of friction and warm baths in the gymnasia; the tactual pleasures of the profligate have to do with certain parts only, not with the whole of the body.11.

Desires seem to be of two kinds, one common to all men, the other peculiar to special peoples, and adventitious. For instance, the desire for food is natural, since everyone desires solid or liquid nourishment, and sometimes both, when in need of them; and also sexual intercourse, as Homer says,1 when young and lusty. But not everybody desires this or that particular sort of nourishment, any more than everyone desires the same particular portion of food;2 hence a taste for this or that sort of food seems to be an individual peculiarity. [2] Not but what there is also something natural in such tastes; for different things are pleasant to different people, and there are some special delicacies which all men like better than ordinary food.3 [3]

In the case of the natural desires, then, few men err, and in one way only, that of excess in quantity; for to eat or drink to repletion of ordinary food and drink is to exceed what is natural in amount, since the natural desire is only to satisfy one's wants. Hence people who over-eat are called ‘mad-bellies,’

1 A reminiscence of Hom. Il. 24.130.

2 The text should perhaps be amended to run ‘nor desires the same food always.’

3 Preferences are natural because (1) men's natures vary and therefore their tastes vary, (2) some preferences are universal.

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