Have you the leisure to search out others’ evils and to pass judgment upon anybody? (SENECA)

Have you the leisure to search out others’ evils and to pass judgment upon anybody? (SENECA)

But as for you, have you the leisure to search out others’ evils and to pass judgment upon anybody? “Why does this philosopher have such a spacious house?” “Why does this one dine so sumptuously?” you say. You look at the pimples of others when you yourselves are covered with a mass of sores. This is just as if someone who was devoured by a foul itch should mock at the moles and the warts on bodies that are most beautiful. Taunt Plato because he sought for money, Aristotle because he accepted it, Democritus because he disregarded it, Epicurus because he spent it; fling Alcibiades and Phaedrus in my own teeth — though it will prove your happiest time when you are so fortunate as to copy my vices! Why do you not rather look about you at your own sins that rend you on every side, some assailing you from without, others raging in your very vitals.

Human affairs — even if you have insufficient knowledge of your own position — have not yet reached the situation in which you may have such superfluity of spare time as to find leisure to wag your tongue in abusing your betters.

Τhis you do not understand, and you wear an air that ill accords with your condition — you are like the many who lounge in the Circus or in a theatre while their home is already wrapped in mourning and they have not yet heard the evil news. But I, looking from the heights, see the storms that threaten and a little later will burst upon you in a flood, or, already near, have drawn still closer to sweep away both you and yours. Why say more? Are not your minds even now — though you little know it — whirled and spun about as if some hurricane had seized them, while they flee and pursue the self-same things, and now are lifted to the skies, and now are dashed to the lowest depths? . . 

On the happy life
Seneca



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