Monday, May 14, 2007

Mondays with Aristotle

I took a year+ of Classical Greek in college. It is unimpressive compared to 4 years of high school Latin, 1 semester of working with my college professor to translate Renaissance Latin (correspondence of Antonio Riccoboni, who seems obscure enough to not have a Wikipedia page in English), and 1 semester translating Lucrecius (Latin upper division course, which I tanked). But also impressive because ... well, it's Classical Greek. There is something both impressive and foolish about having studied two dead languages and the long-gone cultures from which they came.

I've lost most of my liberal arts education in Classics. As my dad would say, I have returned it to where I originally got it from. But I still love Aristotle, one of the greatest thinkers ever. My iGoogle page reminded me of this because #4 (below) appeared in my quotes of the day widget. Number 8 is the one I have been thinking about most lately.

Additional quotes from Aristotle:

1) A flatterer is a friend who is your inferior, or pretends to be so.

2) A friend is a second self.

3) All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire.

4) All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.

5) All virtue is summed up in dealing justly.

6) Dignity consists not in possessing honors, but in the consciousness that we deserve them.

7) Education is the best provision for the journey to old age.

8) Happiness depends upon ourselves.

9) Humor is the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor; for a subject which will not bear raillery is suspicious, and a jest which will not bear serious examination is false wit.

10) In the arena of human life the honors and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities.

11) It is in justice that the ordering of society is centered.

12) It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

13) It is unbecoming for young men to utter maxims.

14) Law is mind without reason.

15) Man perfected by society is the best of all animals; he is the most terrible of all when he lives without law, and without justice.

16) Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.

17) Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.

18) Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.

19) The Gods too are fond of a joke.

20) The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law.

21) To give a satisfactory decision as to the truth it is necessary to be rather an arbitrator than a party to the dispute.

22) To perceive is to suffer.

23) We are what we repeatedly do.

24) Young people are in a condition like permanent intoxication, because youth is sweet and they are growing.

25) It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.

26) Misfortune shows those who are not really friends.