You must do everything according to rule, eat according
to strict orders, abstain from delicacies, exercise
yourself as you are bid at appointed times, in heat,
in cold, you must not drink cold water, nor wine as
you choose; in a word, you must deliver yourself up
to the exercise master as you do to the physician,
and then proceed to the contest. And sometimes
you will strain the hand, put the ankle out of joint,
swallow much dust, sometimes be flogged, and after
all this be defeated. When you have considered
all this, if you still choose, go to the contest:
if you do not you will behave like children, who at
one time play at wrestlers, another time as flute
players, again as gladiators, then as trumpeters,
then as tragic actors. So you also will be at
one time an athlete, at another a gladiator, then a
rhetorician, then a philosopher, but with your whole
soul you will be nothing at all; but like an ape you
imitate everything that you see, and one thing after
another pleases you. For you have not undertaken
anything with consideration, nor have you surveyed
it well; but carelessly and with cold desire.
Thus some who have seen a philosopher and having heard
one speak, as Euphrates speaks—and who
can speak as he does?—they wish to be philosophers
themselves also. My man, first of all consider
what kind of thing it is; and then examine your own
nature, if you are able to sustain the character.
Do you wish to be a pentathlete or a wrestler?
Look at your arms, your thighs, examine your loins.
For different men are formed by nature for different
things. Do you think that if you do these things,
you can eat in the same manner, drink in the same manner,
and in the same manner loathe certain things?
You must pass sleepless nights, endure toil, go away
from your kinsmen, be despised by a slave, in everything
have the inferior part, in honor, in office, in the
courts of justice, in every little matter. Consider
these things, if you would exchange for them, freedom
from passions, liberty, tranquillity. If not,
take care that, like little children, you be not now
a philosopher, then a servant of the publicani, then
a rhetorician, then a procurator (manager) for Caesar.
These things are not consistent. You must be one
man, either good or bad. You must either cultivate
your own ruling faculty, or external things.
You must either exercise your skill on internal things
or on external things; that is you must either maintain
the position of a philosopher or that of a common person.
Duties are universally measured by relations ([Greek:
tais schsesi]). Is a man a father? The precept
is to take care of him, to yield to him in all things,
to submit when he is reproachful, when he inflicts
blows. But suppose that he is a bad father.
Were you then by nature made akin to a good father?
No; but to a father. Does a brother wrong you?
Maintain then your own position towards him, and do
not examine what he is doing, but what you must do
that your will shall be conformable to nature.
For another will not damage you, unless you choose:
but you will be damaged then when you shall think
that you are damaged. In this way then you will
discover your duty from the relation of a neighbor,
from that of a citizen, from that of a general, if
you are accustomed to contemplate the relations.