Monday, November 7, 2011

Xenophon, Socrates

Xenophon, Socrates:

"Do not be surprised at my plain speaking; the wine helps to incite me, and the kind of Love [Eros] that ever dwells with me spurs me on to say what I think about its opposite.

For, to my way of thinking, the man whose attention is attracted only by his beloved's appearance is like one who has rented a farm; his aim is not to increase its value but to gain from it as much of a harvest as he can for himself. On the other hand, the man whose goal is friendship is more like one possessing a farm of his own; at any rate he utilizes all sources to enhance his loved one's worth.

Furthermore, the favourite who realizes that he who lavishes physical charms will be the lover's sovereign will in all likelihood be loose in his general conduct; but the one who feels that he cannot keep his lover faithful without nobility of character [kalokagathia] will more probably give heed to virtue [areté].

But the greatest blessing that befalls the man who yearns to render his favourite a good friend is the necessity of himself making virtue [areté] his habitual practice. For one cannot produce goodness [agathos] in his companion while his own conduct is evil, nor can he himself exhibit shamelessness and incontinence and at the same time render his beloved self-controlled and reverent."

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