Tying a noose, sheer-hung, from the high roof.5[p. 479] But we, while treating our own affairs with considerable laxity and ignorance and neglect, pry into the pedigrees of the rest of the world : our neighbour's grandfather was a Syrian and his grandmother a Thracian6; so-and-so owes three talents and has not paid the interest. We inquire also into such matters as where so-and-so's wife was coming back from,7 and what A and B's private conversation in the corner was about. Yet Socrates went about seeking to solve the question of what arguments Pythagoras used to carry conviction ; and Aristippus, when he met Ischomachus at Olympia, asked him by what manner of conversation Socrates succeeded in so affecting the young men. And when Aristippus had gleaned a few odd seeds and samples of Socrates' talk, he was so moved that he suffered a physical collapse and became quite pale and thin. Finally he sailed for Athens and slaked his burning thirst with draughts from the fountain-head, and engaged in a study of the man and his words and his philosophy, of which the end and aim was to come to recognize one's own vices and so rid oneself of them.
This text is part of:
But as it is, like the Lamia in the fable, who, they say, when at home sleeps in blindness with her eyes stored away in a jar, but when she goes abroad puts in her eyes and can see, so each one of us, in our dealings with others abroad, puts his meddlesomeness, like an eye, into his maliciousness ; but we are often tripped up by our own faults and vices by reason of our ignorance of them, since we provide ourselves with no sight or light by which to inspect them. Therefore the busybody is also more useful to his enemies than to himself,1 for he rebukes and drags out their faults and demonstrates to them what they should avoid or correct, but he neglects the greater part of his own domestic errors through his passionate interest in those abroad. So Odysseus2 refused to converse even with his mother until he had learned from the seer3 the matters by reason of which he had come to the House of Hades ; and when he had his answer, he both turned to his mother and also made inquiries of the other women,4 asking who was Tyro, who the beautiful Chloris, why Epicaste met her death