Saturday, 19 October 2013

370 BC, Phaedrus, Plato.

We must realize that in each one of us there are two ruling and impelling principles whose guidance we follow, a desire for pleasure, which is innate, and an acquired conviction which causes us to aim at excellence. [...] The conviction which impels us towards excellence is rational, and the power by which it masters us we call self-control; the desire which drags us towards pleasure is irrational, and when it gets the upper hand in us its dominion is called excess. Excess has many categories and takes many forms and goes by a variety of names. Whichever of these forms is most in evidence confers upon its possessor its own peculiar name, an acquisition which is far from being honourable or valuable.

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