The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 298 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).

But, thus this pathway is lost through error, even as in the roads of the earth; for as from one city to another there is of necessity an excellent direct road, and often another which branches from that, the branch road goes into another part, and of many others some do not go all the way, and some go farther round; so in Human Life there are different roads, of which one is the truest, and another the most misleading, and some are less right, and some less wrong.  And as we see that the straightest road to the city satisfies desire and gives rest after toil, and that which goes in the opposite direction never satisfies and never can give rest, so it happens in our Life.  The man who follows the right path attains his end, and gains his rest.  The man who follows the wrong path never attains it, but with much fatigue of mind and greedy eyes looks always before him.

Wherefore, although this argument does not entirely reply to the question asked above, at least it opens the way to the reply, which causes us to see that each desire of ours does not proceed in its expansion in one way alone.  But because this chapter is somewhat prolonged, we will reply in a new chapter to the question, wherein may be ended the whole disputation which it is our intention to make against riches.


In reply to the question, I say that it is not possible to affirm properly that the desire for knowledge does increase, although, as has been said, it does expand in a certain way.  For that which properly increases is always one; the desire for knowledge is not always one, but is many; and one desire fulfilled, another comes; so that, properly speaking, its expansion is not its increase, but it is advance of a succession of smaller things into great things.  For if I desire to know the principles of natural things, as soon as I know these, that desire is satisfied and there is an end of it.  If I then desire to know the why and the wherefore of each one of these principles, this is a new desire altogether.  Nor by the advent of that new desire am I deprived of the perfection to which the other might lead me.  Such an expansion as that is not the cause of imperfection, but of new perfection.  That expansion of riches, however, is properly increased which is always one, so that no succession is seen therein, and therefore no end and no perfection.

And if the adversary would say, that if the desire to know the first principles of natural things is one thing, and the desire to know what they are is another, so is the desire for a hundred marks one thing, and the desire for a thousand marks is another, I reply that it is not true; for the hundred is part of the thousand and is related to it, as part of a line to the whole of the line along which one proceeds by one impulse alone; and there is no succession there, nor completion of motion in any part.  But to know what the principles of natural things are is

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The Banquet (Il Convito) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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