Vatican Saying 71

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Template:Vatican Saying 71


This Saying articulates in the simplest, most direct terms, the quotidian application of Epicurean prudence. Before we embark on the quest of gratifying this or that desire, we ought to ask ourselves what the outcome(s) could possibly be. What will happen to us if we actually reach the goal that our desires direct us to? What if it we don't?

The implicit message is that desires are often overrated, precisely because of most people's inability to apply this simple, logical standard to their choices and avoidances. People tend instead to rush madly after the object(s) of their desires, whatsoever those might be, either overestimating the pleasure they will derive if they reach them, or dreading (equally overestimated) negative results if they do not.

The Epicurean, however, knows to judge both possible outcomes in advance of embarking on such pursuits. If, in fact, nothing of any importance will happen to us if our desires are not gratified, perhaps the great effort involved in the pursuit is best spared, or directed towards other, more worthwhile goals.

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