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Yet, suppose someone among us should say that the act of seeing is chance and not vision nor the use of ‘light-bringing orbs,’ as Plato 1 calls the eyes, and that the act of hearing is chance and not a faculty apperceptive of a vibration in the air which is carried onward through ear and brain.2 If such were the case, it were well for us, as it appears, to beware of trusting our senses ! But, as a matter of fact, Nature has conferred upon us sight, hearing, taste, smell, and our other members and their faculties to be ministers of sagacity and intelligence, and
Mind has sight and mind has hearing ; all the rest is deaf and blind.3
Precisely as would be our case if the sun did not exist, and we, for all the other stars, should be passing our life in a continual night, as Heracleitus 4 affirms, so man, for all his senses, had he not mind and reason, would not differ at all in his life from the brutes. [p. 81] But as it is, we excel them and have power over them, not from chance or accidentally, but the cause thereof is Prometheus, or, in other words, the power to think and reason,
Which gives the foal of horse and ass, and get Of bull, to serve us and assume our tasks,
as Aeschylus 5 puts it. Certainly, in so far as chance and nature's endowment at birth are concerned, the great majority of brute animals are better off than man. For some are armed with horns, or teeth, or stings, and Empedocles says,
But as for hedgehogs Growing upon their backs sharp darts of spines stand bristling,6
and still others are shod and clad with scales or hair, with claws or horny hoofs. Man alone, as Plato 7 says, ‘naked, unarmed, with feet unshod, and with no bed to lie in,’ has been abandoned by Nature.
Yet by one gift all this she mitigates,8
the gift of reasoning, diligence, and forethought.
Slight, of a truth, is the strength of man ; and yet By his mind's resourcefulness Doth he subjugate the monsters Of the deep, and the purposes Of the denizens of earth and air.9
Horses are the lightest and swiftest of foot, yet they run for man. The dog is pugnacious and [p. 83] spirited, yet it watches over man. Fish is most savoury, and the pig very fat, yet for man they are nourishing and appetizing food. What is bigger than an elephant or more terrible to behold ? But even this creature has been made the plaything of man, and a spectacle at public gatherings, and it learns to posture and dance and kneel.10 Such presentations are not without their use ; indeed, they serve a purpose in that we may learn to what heights man's intelligence raises him, above what it places him, and how he is master of all things, and in every way superior.
No, we are not invincible either in boxing or wrestling, Nor are we swift in the race.11
Indeed, in all these matters we are not so fortunate as the animals ; yet we make use of experience, memory, wisdom, and skill, as Anaxagoras 12 says, which are ours, and ours only, and we take their honey, and milk them, and carry and lead them at will, taking entire control over them. In all this, therefore, there is no element of chance at all, but solely and wholly sagacity and forethought.

1 In the Timaeus, p. 45 B.

2 Cf. Plato, Timaeus, p. 67 B.

3 From Epicharmus; cited by Plutarch also in Moralia, 33 B and 961 A. Cf. Diels, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, i. p. 123.

4 Diels, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, i, p. 97; Bywater, p. 13. A slightly different version of the saying is given by Plutarch, Moralia, 957 A.

5 From the Prometheus Unbound of Aeschylus; Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag., Aeschylus, No. 194. The lines are again quoted by Plutarch Moralia, 964 F.

6 Diels, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, i. p. 252.

7 Protagoras, 321 C.

8 Author unknown, but perhaps Euripides; cf.Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag.,Adespota, No. 367; cited again by Plutarch, Moralia, 959 D.

9 From the Aeolus of Euripides; Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag., Euripides, No. 27.

10 Plutarch has several good stories about elephants in Moralia, 968 ff.

11 Adapted from Homer, Od. viii. 246.

12 Cf. Diels, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, i. p. 409.

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