The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 214 pages of information about The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates.
some trades, but the persons I have with me have had a liberal education and follow none.”  “May not he,” replied Socrates, “who knows how to do anything that is useful be said to know a trade?” “Yes, certainly.”  “And are not,” continued Socrates, “oatmeal, bread, the clothes of men and women, cassocks, coats, and other the like manufactures, things very useful?” “Without doubt.”  “And do not the persons at your house know how to make any of these things?” “On the contrary,” said Aristarchus, “I believe they know how to make all of them.”  “What are you then afraid of,” added Socrates?  “Why do you complain of poverty, since you know how to get rich?  Do not you observe how wealthy Nausicides is become, what numerous herds he is master of, and what vast sums he lends the Republic?  Now what made this man so rich?  Why, nothing but one of those manufactures we mentioned, that of making oatmeal.  You see, too, that Cirthes keeps all his family, and lives at his ease upon what he has got by being a baker.  And how doth Demeas, of the village of Colyttus, get his livelihood?  By making cassocks.  What makes Menon live so comfortably?  His cloak manufacture.  And are not most of the inhabitants of Megara in good circumstances enough by the trade which they drive of coats and short jackets?” “I grant all this,” said Aristarchus, “but still there is a difference betwixt these persons and me:  for, whereas, they have with them some barbarians whom they have bought, and compel to work what brings them in gain; I, for my part, keep only ladies and gentlemen at my house, persons who are free, and some of them my own relations.  Now would you have me to set them to work?” “And because they are free and your relations,” said Socrates, “do you think they ought to do nothing but eat and sleep?  Do you observe that they, who live thus idle and at their ease, lead more comfortable lives than others?  Do you think them more content, more cheerful, that is to say, more happy than those who employ themselves in any of those manufactures we have mentioned, or in whatever else tends to the utility or convenience of life?  Do you imagine that idleness and laziness contribute toward our learning things necessary; that they can enable us to retain those things we have already learnt; that they help to strengthen the body or keep it in health; that they can assist us to get riches, or keep what we have got already; and do you believe that labour and industry are good for nothing?  Why did your ladies learn what you say they know.  Did they believe them to be useless things, and had they resolved never to put them in practice?  Or, on the contrary, was it with design to employ themselves in those matters, and to get something by them?  Is it a greater piece of wisdom to sit still and do nothing, than to busy oneself in things that are of use in life, and that turn to account?  And is it not more reasonable for a man to work than to be with his arms across, thinking how he shall
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The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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