Vatican Saying 37

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Template:Vatican Saying 37


The "weakness of human nature" is a recurrent theme in Hellenistic philosophy, appearing with equal frequency in the writings of Stoics, Epicureans, and post-Aristoteleans. In this Saying, Epicurus distills and simplifies the whole issue into a plain, uncomplicated, perhaps homely truism: human nature is not weak in general, simply so; it is weak and vulnerable before what can actually harm it, not before what benefits it.

Our natural condition is thus said to be "preserved", strengthened, enhanced by the enjoyment of pleasures-- modest ones, of course, Epicurus would have hastened to add; it is au contraire "dissolved", weakened, damaged by various pains. Those who have witnessed the growth of healthy, lusty toddlers, or the gradual demise of aging loved ones from near proximity will have no difficulty visualizing the two opposites vividly.

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