9. How to be Self-Sufficient ?

‘If you would be loved, love.’

The Wise One is in want of nothing, & yet needs many things.

On Philosophy & Friendship

Epicurus rebukes those who hold that the wise person is self-sufficient & for that reason does not stand in need of friendships.

This is the objection raised by Epicurus against Stilbo & those who believe that the Supreme Good is a soul which is insensible to feeling.

For it may be understood in the meaning the opposite to that which we wish it to have. What we mean to express is, a soul which rejects any sensation of evil; but people will interpret the idea as that of a soul which can endure no evil.

There is this difference between ourselves & the other school: our ideal wise person feels their troubles, but overcomes them; their wise person does not even feel them.

We & they alike hold this idea, – that the wise person is self-sufficient; Nevertheless, One desires friends, neighbours, & associates, no matter how much one is sufficient unto oneself.

Mark how self-sufficient One is; for on occasion one can be content with a part of oneself. If one lose a hand through disease, or if some accident puts out their eyes, one will be satisfied with what is left, taking as much pleasure in their impaired & maimed body as one took when it was sound.

While one does not pine for these parts if they are missing, one prefers not to lose them. In this sense the wise person is self-sufficient, that they can do without friends, not that they desire to do without them.

When I say “can,” I mean this: One endures the loss of a friend with equanimity. They need never lack friends, for it lies in their own control how soon they shall make good a loss.

Hecato, says: :

‘If you would be loved, love.’

Now there is great pleasure, not only in maintaining old & established friendships, but also in beginning & acquiring new ones. There is the same difference between winning a new friend & having already won them, as there is between the farmer who sows & the farmer who reaps.

Philosopher Attalus used to say: “It is more pleasant to make than to keep a friend, as it is more pleasant to the artist to paint than to have finished painting.”

When one is busy & absorbed in one’s work, the very absorption affords great delight; but when one has withdrawn their hand from the completed masterpiece, the pleasure is not so keen.

Henceforth it is the fruits of one’s art that one enjoys; it was the art itself that one enjoyed while one was painting.

In the case of our children, their young adulthood yields the more abundant fruits, but their infancy was sweeter.

One who regards oneself only, & enters upon friendships for this reason, reckons wrongly. The end will be like the beginning: One has made friends with one who might assist them out of bondage; at the first rattle of the chain such a friend will desert them.

These are the so-called “fair-weather” friendships; one who is chosen for the sake of utility will be satisfactory only so long as one is useful.

The beginning & the end cannot but harmonize. One who begins to be your friend because it pays will also cease because it pays.

For what purpose, then, do I make a person my friend? In order to have someone for whom I may die, whom I may follow into exile?

The friendship which you portray is a bargain & not a friendship; it regards convenience only, & looks to the results.

Beyond question the feeling of a lover has in it something akin to friendship; one might call it friendship run mad. But, though this is true, does anyone love for the sake of gain, or renown?

Pure love, careless of all other things, kindles the soul with desire for the beautiful object, not without the hope of a return of the affection.

You may retort: “We are not now discussing the question whether friendship is to be cultivated for its own sake.” On the contrary, nothing more urgently requires demonstration; for if friendship is to be sought for its own sake, one may seek it who is self-sufficient.

“How, then,” you ask, “does one seek it?” Precisely as one seeks an object of great beauty, not attracted to it by desire for gain, nor yet frightened by the instability of Fortune.

One who seeks friendship for favourable occasions, strips it of all its nobility.

“The wise person is self-sufficient.” This phrase, my dear Lucilius, is incorrectly explained by many; for they withdraw the wise person from the world, & force them to dwell within their own skin.

We must mark with care what this sentence signifies & how far it applies; the wise person is sufficient unto themselves for a happy existence, but not for mere existence.

I should like also to state to you one of the distinctions of Chrysippus who declares that,

The Wise One is in want of nothing, & yet needs many things.

“On the other hand,” they say, “nothing is needed by the fool, for they do not understand how to use anything, but they are in want of everything.”

Wise people need hands, eyes, & many things that are necessary for their daily use; but they are in want of nothing. For want implies a necessity, & nothing is necessary to the wise Ones.

Therefore, although one is self-sufficient, yet one has need of friends. One craves as many friends as possible, not, however, that one may live happily; for one will live happily even without friends.

Supreme Good calls for no practical aids from outside; it is developed at home, & arises entirely within itself. If the good seeks any portion of itself from without, it begins to be subject to the play of Fortune.

People may say: “But what sort of existence will the wise person have, if they be left friendless when thrown into prison, or when stranded in some foreign nation?”

One’s life will be like that of Jupiter, who, amid the dissolution of the world, when the gods are confounded together & Nature rests for a space from its work, can retire into oneself & give themselves over to their own thoughts.

In some such way as this the sage will act; they will retreat into themselves, & live with themselves.

As long as one is allowed to order their affairs according to their judgment, one is self-sufficient – & marries a partner; one is self-sufficient – & brings up children; one is self-sufficient – & yet could not live if one had to live without the society of people.

Natural promptings, & not, one’s own selfish needs, draw one into friendships. For just as other things have for us an inherent attractiveness, so has friendship.

As we hate solitude & crave society, as nature draws people to each other, so in this matter also there is an attraction which makes us desirous of friendship.

For Stilbo, after his country was captured & his children & his wife lost, as he emerged from the general desolation alone & yet happy, spoke as follows to Demetrius, called Sacker of Cities because of the destruction he brought upon them, in answer to the question whether he had lost anything: “I have all my goods with me!”

Here is indeed, a brave & stout-hearted person for you! The enemy conquered, but Stilbo conquered his conqueror. “I have lost nothing!” Aye, he forced Demetrius to wonder whether he himself had conquered after all. “My goods are all with me!” In other words, he deemed nothing that might be taken from him to be a good.

Do you understand now how much easier it is to conquer a whole tribe than to conquer one man?

This saying of Stilbo makes common ground with Stoicism; the Stoic also can carry their goods unimpaired through cities that have been burned to ashes; for they are self-sufficient. Such are the bounds which they set to their own happiness.

You must not think that our school alone can utter noble words; Epicurus himself, the reviler of Stilbo, spoke similar language;

“Whoever does not regard what one has as most ample wealth, is unhappy, though one be master of the whole world.”

Or, if the following seems to you a more suitable phrase, – for we must try to render the meaning & not the mere words:
“A person may rule the world & still be unhappy, if one does not feel that one is supremely happy.”

In order, however, that you may know that these sentiments are universal, suggested, of course, by Nature, you will find in one of the comic poets this verse:

Unblest is one who thinks oneself unblest.

For what does your condition matter, if it is bad in your own eyes?

You may say: “What then? If yonder people, rich by base means, shall call themselves happy, will their own opinion make them happy?”

It matters not what one says, but what one feels; also, not how one feels on one particular day, but how one feels at all times.

There is no reason, however, why you should fear that this great privilege will fall into unworthy hands; only the wise one is pleased with one’s own.

Folly is ever troubled with weariness of itself.

Farewell.

Seneca, StoicTaoist.

如何-自立自足?

“如果你想被爱,就去爱。”

智者什么都不缺,但需要很多东西。

论哲学与友谊

伊壁鸠鲁谴责那些认为智者是自立自足的人&因此不需要友谊。

这就是伊壁鸠鲁对斯蒂尔博提出的反对意见&那些认为至高无上的善是一个对感觉不敏感-灵魂的人。

因为它可能被理解为与我们所希望-相反的意思。我们要表达的意思是,一个拒绝任何邪恶感觉的灵魂;但是人们会把这个想法理解为一个不能忍受邪恶的灵魂。

我们和其他学派之间有这样的区别:我们理想中的智者能感受到他们的烦恼,但能克服它们;他们的智者甚至感觉不到烦恼。

我们&他们都持有这样的观点,即智者是自立自足的;然而,一个人渴望朋友、邻居和伙伴,无论他自己有多充足。

标记一个人的自立自足程度;因为有时候一个人可以满足于自己任何的一部分。如果一个人因为疾病失去了一只手,或者某次事故使他失去了眼睛,他会对剩下的部份感到满意,对他受损和残废的身体享受的快乐与他健全时一样多。

如果这些部份不见了,人们不会怀念它们,但人们更愿意不失去它们。从这个意义上说,智者是自立自足的,他们可以没有朋友,而不是他们想没有朋友。

当我说“可以”时,我的意思是:一个人平静地忍受失去朋友的痛苦。他们永远不需要缺少朋友,因为他们能控制如何弥补损失。

赫卡托说:

“如果你想被爱,就去爱。”

极大的乐趣,不仅是维持旧有的友谊,又如开始和获得新的友谊。赢得一个新朋友和已经赢得他们之间有着相同的区别,就像播种的农民和收割的农民之间有着相同的区别。

哲学家阿塔罗斯曾经说过:“交朋友比守护朋友更令人愉快,如同画家画画时比完成画画更令人愉快。”

当一个人忙着全神贯注于自己的工作时,全神贯注就能带来极大的快乐;但当一个人从完成的杰作中抽出手来时,快乐就不那么强烈了。

从今往后,你所享受的是你的艺术成果;当一个人在绘画时,他喜欢的是艺术本身。

就我们的孩子而言,他们年轻&成年期结出了更多的果实,但他们的幼年期更甜美。

一个只考虑自己的人,因为这个原因而建立友谊的人,估计是错误的。结局会像开始一样:一个人与一个可以帮助他们摆脱束缚的人交上了朋友;这种朋友一听到牢铐的响声就会抛弃他们。

这就是所谓的“晴天霹雳”友谊;为了实用而选择的人只有在有用的情况下才会令人满意。

开始和结束不能不协调。一个因为付出而开始成为你朋友的人也会因为付出而停止。

那么,我把一个人当作朋友是出于什么目的呢?为了有一个人,我可以为他而死,我可以跟随他流亡?

你所描绘的友谊是一种交易&不是友谊;它只考虑方便性,并期待结果。

毫无疑问,恋人的感觉有点类似于友谊;有人可能会称之为“友谊疯了”。但是,尽管这是真的,有没有人为了利益或名誉而爱呢?

纯洁的爱,不在乎其他一切,点燃了灵魂对美好事物的渴望,而不是有没有爱的回报的希望。

你可以反驳说:“我们现在不是在讨论是否应该为了友谊而培养友谊的问题。”相反,没有什么比这更迫切需要证明的了;因为如果为了友谊而寻求友谊,那么谁能自足,谁就可以寻求友谊。

“那么,”你会问,“一个人是如何寻找它的呢?”这正是一个人寻找一个伟大的美的对象,而不是被利益的欲望所吸引,也不是被命运的不稳定所吓倒。

在有利的场合寻求友谊的人,会剥夺友谊的高贵。

“智者是自立自足的。”这句话,我亲爱的卢西柳斯,被许多人错误地解释了;因为他们把智者从世界上撤回,迫使他们住在自己的皮肤里。

我们必须小心地标明这句话的含义&它适用的范围有多广;聪明的人能够满足自己的幸福生活,但不仅仅是生存。

我还想向你们说明克里西普的一个特点,他宣称,

智者什么都不缺,但需要很多东西。

“另一方面,”他们说,“愚人不需要任何东西,因为他们不知道如何使用任何东西,但他们却一切都要。”

聪明的人需要手、眼睛和许多日常所需的东西;但他们什么都不缺。因为匮乏意味着需要,聪明人什么都不需要。

因此,虽然一个人是自立自足的,但他需要朋友。一个人渴望尽可能多的朋友,然而,这并不意味着一个人就应此幸福;因为一个人即使没有朋友也会幸福地生活。

至善不需要外界的实际援助;它是在从内发起来的,完全是在自身内部产生的。如果善需从外部寻求,它就开始受制于命运的摆布。

人们可能会说:“但是,如果智者被关进监狱或被困在某个异国时没有朋友,他们会有什么样的生活呢?”

一个人的生活将像‘住庇特’一样,在世界解体的过程中,当众神混杂在一起&大自然从中休息了,他可以隐退到自己中,让自己进入自己的思想中。

圣人会以这样的方式行事;他们会隐退,与自己生活在一起。

只要一个人被允许根据自己的判断来安排自己的事务,他就可以自立自足&与伴侣结婚;一个是自立自足&抚养孩子;一个人是自立自足的&然而,如果一个人不得不离开人的社会生活,他就无法生存。

自然的刺激,而不是个人的自私需要,会把人吸引到友谊中来。正如其他事物对我们具有内在的吸引力一样,友谊也是如此。

正如我们讨厌孤独,渴望社交,就像大自然吸引人们彼此一样,在这件事上,也有一种吸引力使我们渴望友谊。

因为斯蒂尔博,在他的国家被俘、他的孩子和他的妻子已失后,当他独自一人从普遍的荒凉中走出来时,却很高兴,他对德米特里厄斯说了以下话,德米特里厄斯因给城市带来的破坏而被称为城市的萨克尔,回答他是否丢失了任何东西的问题:“我所有的一切都在身边!”

这的确是一个勇敢而坚强的人!敌人征服了,但史迪博征服了他的征服者。“我什么也没失去!”是的,他强迫德米特里厄斯怀疑他自己到底是否已经征服了。“我的一切都在我身边!”换句话说,他认为任何可能从他身上拿走的东西都不是好东西。

你现在明白征服整个部落比征服一个人容易多了吗?

斯蒂尔博的这句话与斯多葛主义有共同点;斯多葛派也可以在被烧成灰烬的城市中携带他们的已切,不受损害;因为他们是自立自足的。这就是他们为自己的幸福设定的界限。

你千万不要以为只有我们校派才能说出高尚的话语;伊壁鸠鲁本人,斯蒂尔博的诽谤者,也说了类似的言语;

“谁不把自己拥有的视为最丰富的财富,谁就不快乐,尽管他是全世界的主人。”

或者,如果你觉得下面这句话更合适的话,——因为我们必须努力表达意思&而不仅仅是文字:

“一个人可以统治世界&如果一个人不觉得自己非常幸福,他仍然不幸福。”

然而,为了让你知道这些情感是普遍的,自然地,你会在其中一位喜剧诗人的诗中发现:

没福的人,是因自认没福的人。

如果你自己认为情况不好,那么你的情况又有何关系呢?

你可能会说:“那怎么办?如果某些人,以卑鄙的手段富有,称自己幸福,他们自己的意见会使他们幸福吗?”

重要的不是说什么,而是感觉如何;而且,不是一个人在某一天的感受,而是一个人在任何时候的感受。

然而,你没有理由担心这一巨大的特权会落入不值得拥有的手中;只有聪明的人才喜欢自己的。

愚蠢总是因自身的厌倦而烦恼。

再会。

塞内卡,坚道学。

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