Doctrine 8

8. No pleasure is intrinsically bad; but that which is necessary to achieve some pleasures brings with it disturbances many times greater than those same pleasures.

Alternate Translations: Bailey: No pleasure is a bad thing in itself, but the means which produce some pleasures bring with them disturbances many times greater than the pleasures. Yonge: No pleasure is a bad thing in itself: but the means which produce some pleasures bring with them disturbances many times greater than the pleasures.

Cicero’s Defense of Epicurus: No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure on its own account. Those who reject pleasure do so because men who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally suffer consequences that are extremely painful. Nor does anyone love or pursue or desire to obtain pain on its own account. Those who pursue pain do so because on occasion toil and pain can produce some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with those men who choose to enjoy pleasures that have no annoying consequences, or those who avoid pains that produce no resulting pleasures? On the other hand, we denounce with righteous indignation men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of the pleasure of the moment, who are so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble that are bound to follow. Equal blame belongs to those who fail in their duties because their will is weak, which is the same as saying that they fail because they shrink back from toil and pain. These cases are simple and easy to understand. In a free hour, when our power of choice is unrestrained and when nothing prevents us from doing what we like best, every pleasure is to be welcomed and every pain is to be avoided. But in certain circumstances, such as because of the claims of duty or the obligations of business, it will frequently occur that pleasures have to be put aside and annoyances accepted. The wise man always holds in these matters to this principle of selection: he rejects some pleasures in order to secure other and greater pleasures, or else he endures some pains to avoid worse pains.

Lucretius De Rerum Natura Book III: Nor do birds eat away into the breast of Tityos in Hell nor could they find during eternity enough food to peck from his large breast. However huge the bulk of his body, even if with outspread limbs he took up the space not of nine acres, as the story goes, but of the whole earth – even so he would not be able to endure everlasting pain and supply food from his body forever. But in our own world we know men such as Tityos: those who, groveling in love, or torn by troubled thoughts from any other passion, are eaten up by bitter anguish as if by vultures.

  • texts/principaldoctrines/pd_08.txt
  • Last modified: 2023/07/04 16:54
  • by cassiusamicus