To those who fear want.1 ARE you not ashamed at being more cowardly and more mean than fugitive slaves? How do they when they run away leave their masters? on what estates do they depend, and what domestics do they rely on? Do they not after stealing a little which is enough for the first days, then afterwards move on through land or through sea, contriving one method after another for maintaining their lives? And what fugitive slave ever died of hunger?2 But you are afraid lest necessary things should fail you, and are sleepless by night. Wretch, are you so blind, and don't you see the road to which the want of necessaries leads?—Well, where does it lead?—To the same place to which a fever leads, or a stone that falls on you, to death. Have you not often said this yourself to your companions? have you not read much of this kind, and written much? and how often have you boasted that you were easy as to death? Yes: but my wife and children also suffer hunger.3—Well then, does their hunger lead to any other place? Is there not the same descent to some place for them also? Is not there the same state below for them? Do you not choose then to look to that place full of boldness against every want and deficiency, to that place to which both the richest and those who have held the highest offices, and kings themselves and tyrants must descend? or to which you will descend hungry, if it should so happen, but they burst by indigestion and drunkenness. What beggar did you hardly ever see who was not an old man, and even of extreme old age? But chilled with cold day and night, and lying on the ground, and eating only what is absolutely necessary they approach near to the impossibility of dying.4 Cannot you write? Cannot you teach (take care of) children? Cannot you be a watchman at another person's door?—But it is shameful to come to such a necessity.—Learn then first what are the things which are shameful, and then tell us that you are a philosopher: but at present do not, even if any other man call you so, allow it. Is that shameful to you which is not your own act, that of which you are not the cause, that which has come to you by accident, as a headache, as a fever? If your parents were poor, and left their property to others, and if while they live, they do not help you at all, is this shameful to you? Is this what you learned with the philosophers? Did you never hear that the thing which is shameful ought to be blamed, and that which is blameable is worthy of blame? Whom do you blame for an act which is not his own, which he did not do himself? Did you then make your father such as he is, or is it in your power to improve him? Is this power given to you? Well then, ought you to wish the things which are not given to you, or to be ashamed if you do not obtain them? And have you also been accustomed awhile you were studying philosophy to look to others and to hope for nothing from yourself? Lament then and groan and eat with fear that you may not have food to-morrow. Tremble about your poor slaves lest they steal, lest they run away, lest they die. So live, and continue to live, you who in name only have approached philosophy, and have disgraced its theorems as far as you can by showing them to be useless and unprofitable to those who take them up; you who have never sought constancy, freedom from perturbation, and from passions: you who have not sought any person for the sake of this object, but many for the sake of syllogisms; you who have never thoroughly examined any of these appearances by yourself, Am I able to bear, or am I not able to bear? What remains for me to do? But as if all your affairs were well and secure, you have been resting on the third topic,5 that of things being unchanged, in order that you may possess unchanged—what? cowardice, mean spirit, the admiration of the rich, desire without attaining any end, and avoidance (ἔκκλισιν) which fails in the attempt? About security in these things you have been anxious. Ought you not to have gained something in addition from reason, and then to have protected this with security? And whom did you ever see building a battlement all round and not encircling it with a wall?6 And what door-keeper is placed with no door to watch? But you practise in order to be able to prove—what? You practise that you may not be tossed as on the sea through sophisms,7 and tossed about from what? Shew me first what you hold, what you measure, or what you weigh; and shew me the scales or the medimnus (the measure); or how long will you go on measuring the dust8? Ought you not to demonstrate those things which make men happy, which make things go on for them in the way as they wish, and why we ought to blame no man, accuse no man, and acquiesce in the administration of the universe? Shew me these. 'See, I shew them: I will resolve syllogisms for you.'—This is the measure, slave; but it is not the thing measured. Therefore you are now paying the penalty for what you neglected, philosophy: you tremble, you lie awake, you advise with all persons; and if your deliberations are not likely to please all, you think that you have deliberated ill. Then you fear hunger, as you suppose: but it is not hunger that you fear, but you are afraid that you will not have a cook, that you will not have another to purchase provisions for the table, a third to take off your shoes, a fourth to dress you, others to rub you, and to follow you, in order that in the bath, when you have taken off your clothes and stretched yourself out like those who are crucified you may be rubbed on this side and on that, and then the aliptes (rubber) may say (to the slave), Change his position, present the side, take hold of his head, shew the shoulder; and then when you have left the bath and gone home, you may call out, Does no one bring something to eat? And then, Take away the tables, sponge them: you are afraid of this, that you may not be able to lead the life of a sick man. But learn the life of those who are in health, how slaves live, how labourers, how those live who are genuine philosophers; how Socrates lived, who had a wife and children; how Diogenes lived, and how Cleanthes9 who attended to the school and drew water. If you choose to have these things, you will have them every where, and you will live in full confidence. Confiding in what? In that alone in which a man can confide, in that which is secure, in that which is not subject to hindrance, in that which cannot be taken away, that is, in your own will. And why have you made yourself so useless and good for nothing that no man will choose to receive you into his house, no man to take care of you?: but if a utensil entire and useful were cast abroad, every man who found it, would take it up and think it a gain; but no man will take you up, and every man will consider you a loss. So cannot you discharge the office even of a dog, or of a cock? Why then do you choose to live any longer, when you are what you are? Does any good man fear that he shall fail to have food? To the blind it does not fail, to the lame it does not: shall it fail to a good man? And to a good soldier there does not fail to be one who gives him pay, nor to a labourer, nor to a shoemaker: and to the good man shall there be wanting such a person?10 Does God thus neglect the things that he has established, his ministers, his witnesses, whom alone he employs as examples to the uninstructed, both that he exists, and administers well the whole, and does not neglect human affairs, and that to a good man there is no evil either when he is living or when he is dead? What then when he does not supply him with food? What else does he do than11 like a good general he has given me the signal to retreat? I obey, I follow, assenting to the words of the commander,12 praising his acts: for I came when it pleased him, and I will also go away when it pleases him; and while I lived, it was my duty to praise God both by myself, and to each person severally and to many.13 He does not supply me with many things, nor with abundance, he does not will me to live luxuriously; for neither did he supply Hercules who was his own son; but another (Eurystheus) was king of Argos and Mycenae, and Hercules obeyed orders, and laboured, and was exercised. And Eurystheus was what he was, neither king of Argos nor of Mycenae, for he was not even king of himself; but Hercules was ruler and leader of the whole earth and sea, who purged away lawlessness, and introduced justice and holiness;14 and he did these things both naked and alone. And when Ulysses was cast out shipwrecked, did want humiliate him, did it break his spirit? but how did he go off to the virgins to ask for necessaries, to beg which is considered most shameful?15
As a lion bred in the mountains trusting in his strength.— Od. vi. 130.Relying on what? Not on reputation nor on wealth nor on the power of a magistrate, but on his own strength, that is, on his opinions about the things which are in our power and those which are not. For these are the only things which make men free, which make them escape from hindrance, which raise the head (neck) of those who are depressed, which make them look with steady eyes on the rich and on tyrants. And this was (is) the gift given to the philosopher. But you will not come forth bold, but trembling about your trifling garments and silver vessels. Unhappy man, have you thus wasted your time till now? What then, if I shall be sick? You will be sick in such a way as you ought to be.—Who will take care of me?— God; your friends—I shall lie down on a hard bed—But you will lie down like a man—I shall not have a convenient chamber—You will be sick in an inconvenient chamber—Who will provide for me the necessary food?— Those who provide for others also. You will be sick like Manes.16—And what also will be the end of the sickness? Any other than death?—Do you then consider that this the chief of all evils to man and the chief mark of mean spirit and of cowardice is not death, but rather the fear of death? Against this fear then I advise you to exercise yourself: to this let all your reasoning tend, your exercises, and reading; and you will know that thus only are men made free.