Monday, April 24, 2017

Commentary on Meditations: B2.10

In his comparative ranking of sins, applying philosophy to the common man's distinctions, Theophrastus says that offences of lust are graver than those of anger: because it is clearly some sort of pain and involuntary spasm which drives the angry man to abandon reason, whereas the lust-led offender has given in to pleasure and seems somehow more abandoned and less manly in his wrongdoing. Rightly, then, and like a true philosopher, Theophrastus said that greater censure attaches to an offence committed under the influence of pleasure than to one under the influence of pain. And in general the one is more like an injured party, forced to anger by the pain of provocation: whereas the other is his own source of the impulse to wrong, driven to what he does by lust.

There is not much to this passage other than to show that from Marcus' mind, as well as other Stoics, there is a distinction between various offenses in virtue.

In the case of a violation of virtue involving pleasure and anger, Marcus held to the view that violations involving pleasure were worse than anger, due to the fact that in the case of pleasure, one has more control over the situation than anger.

This distinction is allowed so that people pursuing Stoicism can see progress on their personal journey.

For further reading on this passage, see p.57 Inner Citadel

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