Enchiridion XLI


It is a mark of want of intellect to spend much time in things relating to the body, as to be immoderate in exercises, in eating and drinking, and in the discharge of other animal functions. These things should be done incidentally and our main strength be applied to our reason.

Calls to moderation are a regular feature of Greek philosophy, and all philosophies strongly informed by them. It is interesting that 'exercise' is included, here, though; remember in XXIX striving to win the Olympic Games was offered as an analogy to philosophy. Here we seem to be counseled against Olympic ambitions, but to seek philosophy with our real strength.

There is a counterpoint in Aristotle, where he offers an account of the soul that also summons us to philosophy as the main and most proper human pursuit. Yet we should strive to master our lesser faculties, just because it makes it easier to be good at philosophy. A healthy body will think clearer thoughts, and not being distracted with illness and medications and treatments of various sorts, the pursuit of health is wise just because it improves our ability to philosophize. 

No comments: