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That the happiness of the dead is not influenced at all by the fortunes of their descendants and their friends in general seems too heartless a doctrine, and contrary to accepted beliefs. [2] But the accidents of life are many and diverse, and vary in the degree in which they affect us. To distinguish between them in detail would clearly be a long and indeed endless undertaking, and a general treatment in outline may perhaps be enough. [3] Even our own misfortunes, then, though in some cases they exercise considerable weight and influence upon the course of our lives, in other cases seem comparatively unimportant; and the same is true of the misfortunes of our friends of all degrees. [4] Also it makes a great difference whether those who are connected with any occurrence are alive or dead, much more so than it does in a tragedy whether the crimes and horrors are assumed to have taken place beforehand or are enacted on the stage. [5] We ought therefore to take this difference also into account, and still more perhaps the doubt that exists whether the dead really participate in good or evil at all. For the above considerations seem to show that even if any good or evil does penetrate to them, the effect is only small and trifling, either intrinsically or in relation to them, or if not trifling, at all events not of such magnitude and kind as to make the unhappy happy or to rob the happy of their blessedness. [6]

It does then appear that the dead are influenced in some measure by the good fortune of their friends, and likewise by their misfortunes, but that the effect is not of such a kind or degree as to render the happy unhappy or vice versa.

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