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[491b] for the perfect philosopher is a rare growth among men and is found in only a few. Don't you think so?” “Most emphatically.” “Observe, then, the number and magnitude of the things that operate to destroy these few.” “What are they?” “The most surprising fact of all is that each of the gifts of nature which we praise tends to corrupt the soul of its possessor and divert it from philosophy. I am speaking of bravery, sobriety, and the entire list.1” “That does sound like a paradox,” said he.

1 Cf. Burton, Anatomy, i. 1 “This St. Austin acknowledgeth of himself in his humble confessions, promptness of wit, memory, eloquence, they were God's good gifts, but he did not use them to his glory.” Cf. Meno 88 A-C, and Seneca, Ep. v. 7 “multa bona nostra nobis nocent.”

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