posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 06:58 AM
"But I don't want you to think I am rigidly opposed to Fortune, for there are times whens he stops deceiving and helps man. I mean when she reveals
herself, when she throws off her disguise and admits her game. Perhaps you still don't understand what I'm saying. What I want to say is a paradox,
and so I am hardly able to put it into words. For bad fortune, I think, is more use to a man than good fortune. Good fortune always seems to bring
happiness, but deceives you with her smiles, whereas bad fortune is always truthful because by change she shows her true fickleness. Good fortune
deceives, but bad fortune enlightens."
"In all the care with which they toil at countless enterprises, mortal men travel by different paths, though all are striving to reach one and the
same goal, namely, happiness, beatitude, which is a good which once obtained leaves nothing more to be desired. It is the perfection of all good
things and contains in itself all that is good; and if anything were missing from it, it couldn't be perfect, because something would remain outside
it, which could still be wished for. It is clear, therefore, that happiness is a state made perfect by the presence of everything that is good, a
state, which, as we said, all mortal men are striving to reach though by different paths."
"So you have before you the general pattern of human happiness: Wealth, position, power, fame, pleasure."
"So first I will ask you a few questions, since you yourself were a wealthy man not long ago. In the midst of all that great store of wealth, was
your mind never troubled by worry arising from a feeling that something was wrong?
'Yes, it was,' I replied. 'In fact I can't remember when my mind was ever free from some sort of worry.'
'And that was either because something was missing which you didn't want to be missing, or because something was present which you would have
preferred not to have been present.'
'You wanted the presence of one thing and the absence of another?'
'Now a man must be lacking something if he misses it, mustn't he?'
'And if a man lacks something he is not in every way self-sufficient."
'And so you felt this insufficiency even though you were supplied with wealth?'
'yes, I did.'
'So that wealth cannot make a man free of want and self-sufficient, though this was the very promise we saw it offering.'"
"So, if so far from being able to remove want, riches create a want of their own, there is no reason for you to believe that they confer
"But it is said, when a man comes to high office, that makes him worthy of honor and respect. Surely such offices don't hold the power of planting
virtue in the minds of those who hold them, do they? Or removing vices? No: the opposite is true. More often than removing wickedness, high offices
brings it to light, and this is the reason why we are angry at seeing how often high office has devolved upon the most wicked of men."
"Can being a king or being the friend of a king give a man power? What is this power, then, which cannot banish the nagging of worry or avoid the
pin-prick of fear? Kings would like to live free from worry, but they can't. And then they boast of their power! Do you think of a man as powerful
when you see him lacking something which he cannot achieve? A man who goes about with bodyguards because he is more afraid than the subjects he
terrorizes, and whose claim to power depends on the will of those who serve him?"
"Fame, in fact, is a shameful thing, and so often deceptive."
"Many, indeed are the men who have wrongly acquired fame through the false opinions of the people. There is nothing more conceivably shameful than
that. And even if the praise is deserved, it cannot add anything to the philosopher's feelings: he measures happiness not by popularity, but by the
true voice of his own conscience."
"Of bodily pleasures I can think of little to say. Its pursuit is full of anxiety and its fulfillment full of remorse. Frequently, like a kind of
reward for wickedness, it causes great illness and unbearable pain for those who make it their source of enjoyment."
"I have said enough to give a picture of false happiness, and if you can see that clearly, the next thing is to show what true happiness is
"Do you consider self-sufficiency as a state deficient in power?'
'Not at all.'
'Of course not; for if a being had some weakness in some respect, it would necessarily need the help of something else. So that sufficiency and power
are of one and the same nature."
"If a man pursues only power, he expends wealth, despises pleasures, and honor with power, and holds glory of no account. But you can see how much
this man also lacks. At any one time he lacks the necessaries of life and is consumed by worry, from which he cannot free himself, so he ceases to be
what he most of all wants to be, that is, powerful."
"But supposed someone should want to obtain them all at once and the same time?'
'Then he would be seeking the sum of happiness. But do you think he would find it among these things which we have shown to be unable to confer what
"Then there you have both the nature and the cause of false happiness. Now turn your mind in the opposite direction and you will immediately see the
true happiness that I promised.
'Even a blind man could see it, and you revealed it just now when you were trying to show the cause of false happiness."
"Grant, Father, that our minds thy august seat may scan,
Grant us sight of true good's source, and grant us light
That we may fix on Thee our mind's unblinded eye.
Disperse the clouds of earthly matters cloying weight;
Shine out in all thy Glory, for Thou art rest and peace
To those who worship thee; to see thee is our end,
Who art our source and maker, lord and path and goal."
[edit on 7-1-2010 by ancient_wisdom]