Principal Doctrines

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The Principal Doctrines, [Κυρίαι Δόξαι, "Sovereign Doctrines"] are a catechism of Epicurean philosophy completely preserved for us in Laertius and partially preserved in other sources. Beginning with Usener, the doctrines are enumerated as forty individual sayings.

[edit] Reader's Guide

  • While Epicurus' literary style is decidedly prosaic and totally lacking in ornament, it is also extremely precise, with finely nuanced choice of words. On occasion, Epicurus (allegedly) coined entirely new terms (e.g. prolepses), or invested terms already in existence with his own, extraordinary meaning (e.g. ataraxia). These should be read in context with Epicurean philosophy in particular, and not in their "generic", dictionary definition.
  • Greek tends to preface each and every noun with a definite article; consequently, any verbatim translation to English yields numerous redundant articles that should, of course, be omitted in rendering the meaning in normal, English syntax.
  • Written Greek retains much of the character of a spoken, conversational language; philosophical writings of the classical and Hellenistic eras can easily be imagined as "crystallized dialogue". As a result, Epicurus' writing is sprinkled with countless all-purpose, "filler" words meaning "to be sure", "no doubt", "of course", etc. These short, casual words make the tone of the writing more approachable but, of course, add little to the argumentation.
  • Epicurus wrote in a language that was the immediate descendant of Attican dialect, by and large the lingua franca of Greek philosophy, centered in Athens as that was. Idiomatic traits of this dialect include the routine omission of the verb "to be" (especially in the third person), when it is self-evident; this practice is akin to such English phrases as "better later than never". The reader must naturally provide the verb in such verb-less sentences.
  • On the contrary, when Athenian writers did use the verb "to be" (especially in the third person conditional), they did so idiomatically, meaning "to be [possible]". The best English equivalents for this idiomatic implication of possibility are "could", "would", etc., depending on the overall context.
  • Normal, usual word-order in ancient Greek naturally differs from that of present-day English. The standard editorial practice in this Wiki has been to indicate (with arrows) that a word has been transposed to a phrase where it would normally belong in an English sentence, then (with brackets) its relocation.

[edit] The Forty Principal Doctrines

KD 1) Τὸ μακάριον καὶ ἄφθαρτον οὔτε αὐτὸ πράγματα ἔχει οὔτε ἄλλῳ παρέχει, ὥστε οὔτε ὀργαῖς οὔτε χάρισι συνέχεται· ἐν ἀσθενεῖ γαρ πᾶν τὸ τοιοῦτον. KD 1) A blessed and imperishable being neither has trouble itself nor does it cause trouble for anyone else; therefore, it does not experience feelings of anger or indebtedness, for such feelings signify weakness.
KD 2) Ὁ θάνατος οὐδὲν πρὸς ἡμᾶς· τὸ γὰρ διαλυθὲν ἀναισθητεῖ· τὸ δ’ ἀναισθητοῦν οὐδὲν πρὸς ἡμᾶς. KD 2) Death is nothing to us, because a body that has been dispersed into elements experiences no sensations, and the absence of sensation is nothing to us.
KD 3) Ὅρος τοῦ μεγέθους τῷν ἡδονῷν ἡ παντὸς τοῦ ἀλγοῦντος ὑπεξαίρεσις· ὅπου δ’ ἂν τὸ ἡδόμενον ἐνῇ, καθ’ ὅν ἂν χρόνον ᾖ, οὐκ ἔστι τὸ ἀλγοῦν ἢ τὸ λυπούμενον ἢ τὸ συναμφότερον. KD 3) Pleasure reaches its maximum limit at the removal of all sources of pain. When such pleasure is present, for as long as it lasts, there is no cause of physical nor mental pain present – nor of both together.
KD 4) Οὐ χρονίζει τὸ ἀλγοῦν συνεχῶς ἐν τῇ σαρκί, ἀλλὰ τὸ μὲν ἄκρον τὸν ἐλάχιστον χρόνον πάρεστι, τὸ δὲ μόνον ὑπερτεῖνον τὸ ἡδόμενον κατὰ σάρκα οὐ πολλάς ἡμέρας συμμένει· αἱ δὲ πολυχρόνιοι τῶν ἀρρωστιῶν πλεονάζον ἔχουσι τὸ ἡδόμενον ἐν τῆ σαρκί ἤπερ τὸ ἀλγοῦν. KD 4) Continuous physical pain does not last long. Instead, extreme pain lasts only a very short time, and even less-extreme pain does not last for many days at once. Even protracted diseases allow periods of physical comfort that exceed feelings of pain.
KD 5) Οὐκ ἒστιν ἡδέως ζῆν ἄνευ τοῦ φρονίμως καὶ καλῶς καὶ δικαίως, <οὐδὲ φρονίμως καὶ καλῶς καὶ δικαίως> ἄνευ τοῦ ἡδέως. ὅτῳ δέ τοῦτο μὴ ὑπάρχει ἐξ οὗ ζῆν φρονίμως καὶ καλῶς καὶ δικαίως, οὐκ ἔστι τοῦτον ἡδέως ζῆν. KD 5) It is impossible to live pleasantly without living prudently and honorably and justly, and it is impossible to live prudently and honorably and justly without living pleasantly. Whenever any one of these is lacking (when, for instance, one is not able to live wisely, though he lives honorably and justly) it is impossible for him to live a pleasant life.
KD 6) Ἓνεκα τοῦ θαρρεῖν ἐξ ἀνθρώπων, ἦν κατὰ φύσιν [ἀρχῆς καὶ βασιλείας] ἀγαθόν, ἐξ ὧν ἄν ποτε τοῦθ’ οἷός τ’ ᾖ παρασκευάζεσθαι. KD 6) That natural benefit of kingship and high office is (and only is) the degree to which they provide security from other men.
KD 7) Ἔνδοξοι καὶ περίβλεπτοί τινες ἐβουλήθησαν γενέσθαι, τὴν ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ἀσφάλειαν οὕτω νομίζοντες περιποιήσεσθαι. ᾥστ’ εἰ μὲν ἀσφαλὴς ὁ τῶν τοιούτων βίος, ἀπέλαβον τὸ τῆς φύσεως ἀγαθόν· εἰ δέ μὴ ἀσφαλὴς, οὐκ ἔχουσιν οὗ ἕνεκα ἐξ ἀρχῆς κατὰ τὸ τῆς φύσεως οἰκεῖον ὠρέχθησαν. KD 7) Some seek fame and status, thinking that they could thereby protect themselves against other men. If their lives really are secure, then they have attained a natural good; if, however, they're insecure, they still lack what they originally sought by natural instinct.
KD 8) Οὐδεμία ἡδονὴ καθ’ ἑαυτὸ κακόν· ἀλλὰ τὰ τινῶν ἡδονῶν ποιητικὰ πολλαπλασίους ἐπιφέρει τὰς ὀχλήσεις τῶν ἡδονῶν. KD 8) No pleasure is a bad thing in itself, but some pleasures are only obtainable at the cost of excessive troubles.
KD 9) Εἰ κατεπυκνοῦτο πᾶσα ἡδονὴ, καὶ χρόνῳ καὶ περὶ ὅλον τὸ ἄθροισμα ὑπῆρχεν ἢ τὰ κυριώτατα μέρη τῆς φύσεως, οὐκ ἂν ποτε διέφερον ἀλλήλων αἱ ἡδονaί. KD 9) If every pleasure could be prolonged to endure in both body or mind, pleasures would never differ from one another.
KD 10) Εἰ τὰ ποιητικὰ τῶν περὶ τοὺς ἀσώτους ἡδονῶν ἔλυε τοὺς φόβους τῆς διανοίας τοὺς τε περὶ μετεώρων καὶ θανάτου καὶ ἀλγηδόνων, ἔτι τε τὸ πέρας τῶν ἐπιθυμιῶν ἐδίδασκεν, οὐκ ἄν ποτε εἴχομεν ὅ,τι μεμψαίμεθα αὐτοῖς, πανταχόθεν εἰσπλερουμένοις τῶν ἡδονῶν καὶ οὐδαμόθεν οὔτε τὸ ἀλγοῦν οὔτε λυπούμενον ἔχουσιν, ὅπερ ἐστὶ τὸ κακόν. KD 10) If the things which debauched men find pleasurable put an end to all fears (such as concerns about the heavenly bodies, death, and pain) and if they revealed how we ought to limit our desires, we would have no reason to reproach them, for they would be fulfilled with pleasures from every source while experiencing no pain, neither in mind nor body, which is the chief evil of life.
KD 11) Εἰ μηθὲν ἡμᾶς αἱ τῶν μετεώρων ὑποψίαι ἠνώχλουν καὶ αἱ περὶ θανάτου, μή ποτε πρὸς ἡμᾶς ᾖ τι, ἔτι τε τὸ μὴ κατανοεῖν τοὺς ὅρους τῶν ἀλγηδόνων καὶ τῶν ἐπιθυμιῶν, οὐκ ἄν προσεδεόμεθα φυσιολογίας. KD 11) If we were never troubled by how phenomena in the sky or death might concern us, or by our failures to grasp the limits of pains and desires, we would have no need to study nature.
KD 12) Οὐκ ἦν τὸ φοβούμενον λύειν ὑπὲρ τῶν κυριωτάτων μὴ κατειδότα τίς ἡ τοῦ σύμπαντος φύσις, ἀλλ’ ὑποπτευόμενόν τι τῶν κατὰ τοὺς μύθους· ὥστε οὐκ ἦν ἄνευ φυσιολογίας ἀκεραίους τὰς ἡδονὰς ἀπολαμβάνειν. KD 12) One cannot rid himself of his primal fears if he does not understand the nature of the universe but instead suspects the truth of some mythical story. So without the study of nature, there can be no enjoyment of pure pleasure.
KD 13) Οὐθὲν ὄφελος ἦν τὴν κατ’ ἀνθρώπους ἀσφάλειαν κατασκευάζεσθαι τῶν ἄνωθεν ὑπόπτων καθεστώτων καὶ τῶν ὑπὸ γῆς καὶ ἁπλῶς τῶν ἐν τῷ ἀπείρῳ. KD 13) One gains nothing by securing protection from other men if he still has apprehensions about things above and beneath the earth and throughout the infinite universe.
KD 14) Τῆς ἀσφαλείας τῆς ἐξ ἀνθρώπων γενομένης μέχρι τινὸς δυνάμει τε ἐξερειστικῇ καὶ εὐπορίᾳ εἰλικρινεστάτη γίνεται ἡ ἐκ τῆς ἡσυχίας καὶ ἐκχωρήσεως τῶν πολλῶν ἀσφάλεια. KD 14) Supreme power and great wealth may, to some degree, protect us from other men; but security in general depends upon peace of mind and social detachment.
KD 15) Ὁ τῆς φύσεως πλοῦτος καὶ ὥρισται καὶ εὐπόριστός ἐστιν· ὁ δέ τῶν κενῶν δοξῶν εἰς ἄπειρον ἐκπίπτει. KD 15) Natural wealth is both limited and easily obtained, but vanity is insatiable.
KD 16) Βραχέα σοφῷ τύχη παρεμπίπτει, τὰ δὲ μέγιστα καὶ κυριώτατα ὁ λογισμὸς διῴκηκε καὶ κατὰ τὸν συνεχῆ χρόνον τοῦ βίου διοικεῖ καὶ διοικήσει. KD 16) Chance has little effect upon the wise man, for his greatest and highest interests are directed by reason throughout the course of life.
KD 17) Ὁ δίκαιος ἀταρακτότατος, ὁ δ’ ἄδικος πλείστης ταραχῆς γέμων. KD 17) The just man is the freest of anyone from anxiety; but the unjust man is perpetually haunted by it.
KD 18) Οὐκ ἐπαύξεται ἐν τῇ σαρκί ἡ ἡδονή, ἐπειδὰν ἅπαξ τὸ κατ’ ἔνδειαν ἀλγοῦν ἐξαιρεθῇ, ἀλλὰ μόνον ποικίλλεται. τῆς δὲ διανοίας τὸ πέρας τὸ κατὰ τὴν ἡδονήν ἀπεγέννησεν ἥ τε τούτων αὐτῶν ἐκλόγισις καὶ τῶν ὁμογενῶν τούτοις, ὅσα τούς μεγίστους φόβους παρεσκεύαζε τῇ διανοίᾳ. KD 18) When pain arising from need has been removed, bodily pleasure cannot increase – it merely varies. But the limit of mental pleasure is reached after we reflect upon these bodily pleasures and the related mental distress prior to fulfillment.
KD 19) Ὁ ἄπειρος χρόνος ἴσην ἔχει τὴν ἡδονὴν καὶ ὁ πεπερασμένος, ἐάν τις αὐτῆς τὰ πέρατα καταμετρήσῃ τῷ λογισμῷ. KD 19) Infinite and finite time afford equal pleasure, if one measures its limits by reason.
KD 20) Ἡ μὲν σὰρξ ἀπέλαβε τὰ πέρατα τῆς ἡδονῆς ἄπειρα, καὶ ἄπειρος αὐτὴν χρόνος παρεσκεύασεν· ἡ δὲ διάνοια τοῦ τῆς σαρκὸς τέλους καὶ πέρατος λαβοῦσα τὸν ἐπιλογισμὸν καὶ τοὺς ὑπὲρ τοῦ αἰῶνος φόβους ἐκλύσασα τὸν παντελῆ βίον παρεσκεύασεν, καὶ οὐθὲν ἔτι τοῦ ἀπείρου χρὸνου προσεδεήθημεν· ἀλλ’ οὔτ’ ἔφυγε τὴν ἡδονήν, οὔθ’ ἡνίκα τὴν ἐξαγωγήν ἐκ τοῦ ζῆν τὰ πράγματα παρεσκεύαζεν, ὡς ἐλλείπουσά τι τοῦ ἀρίστου βίου κατέστρεφεν. KD 20) Bodily pleasure seems unlimited, and to provide it would require unlimited time. But the mind, recognizing the limits of the body, and dismissing apprehensions about eternity, furnishes a complete and optimal life, so we no longer have any need of unlimited time. Nevertheless, the mind does not shun pleasure; moreover, when the end of life approaches, it does not feel remorse, as if it fell short in any way from living the best life possible.
KD 21) Ὁ τὰ πέρατα τοῦ βίου κατειδὼς οἶδεν, ὡς εὐπόριστόν ἐστι τὸ <τὸ> ἀλγοῦν κατ’ ἔνδειαν ἐξαιροῦν καὶ τὸ τὸν ὅλον βίον παντελῆ καθιστάν· ὥστε οὐδὲν προσδεῖται πραγμάτων ἀγῶνας κεκτημένων. KD 21) He who understands the limits of life knows that things which remove pain arising from need are easy to obtain, and furnish a complete and optimal life. Thus he no longer needs things that are troublesome to attain.
KD 22) Τὸ ὑφεστηκὸς δεῖ τέλος ἐπιλογίζεσθαι καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν ἐνάργειαν, ἐφ’ ἥν τὰ δοξαζόμενα ἀνάγομεν· εἰ δὲ μή, πάντα ἀκρισίας καὶ ταραχῆς ἔσται μεστά. KD 22) We must consider the ultimate goal to be real, and reconcile our opinions with sensory experience; otherwise, life will be full of confusion and disturbance.
KD 23) Εἰ μάχῃ πάσαις ταῖς αἰσθήσεσιν, οὐχ ἕξεις οὐδ’ ἅς ἄν φῇς αὐτῶν διαψεῦσθαι πρὸς τί ποιούμενος τὴν ἀναγωγὴν κρίνῃς. KD 23) If you argue against all your sensations, you will then have no criterion to declare any of them false.
KD 24) Εἴ τιν’ ἐκβαλεῖς ἁπλῶς αἴσθησιν καὶ μὴ διαιρήσεις τὸ δοξαζόμενον κατὰ τὸ προσμένον καὶ τὸ παρὸν ἤδη κατὰ τὴν αἴσθησιν καὶ τὰ πάθη καὶ πᾶσαν φανταστικὴν ἐπιβολὴν τῆς διανοίας, συνταράξεις καὶ τὰς λοιπὰς αἰσθήσεις τῇ ματαίῳ δόξῃ, ὥστε τὸ κριτήριον ἅπαν ἐκβαλεῖς· εἰ δὲ βεβαιώσεις καὶ τὸ προσμένον ἅπαν ἐν ταῖς δοξαστικαῖς ἐννοίαις καὶ τὸ μὴ τὴν ἐπιμαρτύρησιν, οὐκ ἐκλείψεις τὸ διεψευσμένον· ὡς τετηρηκὼς ἔσῃ πᾶσαν ἀμφισβήτησιν κατὰ πᾶσαν κρίσιν τοῦ ὀρθῶς ἤ μὴ ὀρθῶς. KD 24) If you arbitrarily reject any one sensory experience and fail to differentiate between an opinion awaiting confirmation and what is already perceived by the senses, feelings, and every intuitive faculty of mind, you will impute trouble to all other sensory experiences, thereby rejecting every criterion. And if you concurrently affirm what awaits confirmation as well as actual sensory experience, you will still blunder, because you will foster equal reasons to doubt the truth and falsehood of everything.
KD 25) Εἰ μὴ παρὰ πάντα καιρὸν ἐπανοίσεις ἕκαστον τῶν πραττομένων ἐπὶ τὸ τέλος τῆς φύσεως, ἀλλὰ προκαταστρέψεις εἴτε φυγὴν εἴτε δίωξιν ποιούμενος εἰς ἄλλο τι, οὐκ ἔσονταί σοι τοῖς λόγοις αἱ πράξεις ἀκόλουθοι. KD 25) If you do not reconcile your behavior with the goal of nature, but instead use some other criterion in matters of choice and avoidance, then there will be a conflict between theory and practice.
KD 26) Τῶν ἐπιθυμιῶν ὅσαι μὴ ἐπ’ ἀλγοῦν ἐπανάγουσιν ἐὰν μὴ συμπληρωθῶσιν οὐκ εἰσὶν ἀναγκαῖαι ἀλλ’ εὐδιάχυτον τὴν ὄρεξιν ἔχουσιν, ὅταν δυσπόριστοι ἤ βλάβης ἀπεργαστικαὶ δόξωσιν εἶναι. KD 26) All desires which create no pain when unfulfilled are not necessary; such desires may easily be dispelled when they are seen as difficult to fulfill or likely to produce harm.
KD 27) Ὧν ἡ σοφία παρασκευάζεται εἰς τὴν τοῦ ὅλου βίου μακαριότητα, πολὺ μέγιστόν ἐστιν ἡ τῆς φιλίας κτῆσις. KD 27) Of all things that wisdom provides for living one's entire life in happiness, the greatest by far is the possession of friendship.
KD 28) Ἡ αὐτὴ γνώμη θαρρεῖν τε ἐποίησεν ὑπὲρ τοῦ μηθὲν αἰώνιον εἶναι δεινὸν μηδὲ πολυχρόνιον, καὶ τὴν ἐν αὐτοῖς τοῖς ὡρισμένοις ἀσφάλειαν φιλίας μάλιστα κατεῖδε συντελουμένην. KD 28) The same conviction which inspires confidence that nothing terrible lasts forever, or even for long, also enables us to see that in the midst of life's limited evils, nothing enhances our security so much as friendship.
KD 29) Τῶν ἐπιθυμιῶν αἱ μὲν εἰσι φυσικαὶ καὶ <ἀναγκαῖαι· αἱ δὲ φυσικαὶ καὶ> οὐκ ἀναγκαῖαι· αἱ δὲ οὔτε φυσικαὶ οὔτ’ ἀναγκαῖαι ἀλλὰ παρὰ κενὴν δόξαν γινόμεναι. φυσικὰς καὶ ἀναγκαίας ἡγεῖται ὁ Ἐπίκουρος τὰς ἀλγηδόνος ἀπολυούσας, ὡς ποτὸν ἐπὶ δίψους. KD 29) Among desires some are natural and necessary, some natural but not necessary, and others neither natural nor necessary, but due to baseless opinion.
KD 30) Ἐν αἷς τῶν φυσικῶν ἐπιθυμιῶν, μὴ ἐπ’ ἀλγοῦν δὲ ἐπαναγουσῶν ἐάν μὴ συντελεσθῶσιν, ὑπάρχει ἡ σπουδὴ σὺντονος, παρὰ κενὴν δόξαν αὗται γίνονται καὶ οὐ παρὰ τὴν ἑαυτῶν φύσιν οὐ διαχέονται ἀλλὰ παρὰ τὴν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου κενοδοξίαν. KD 30) Those natural desires which create no pain when unfulfilled, though pursued with an intense effort, are also due to groundless opinion; and if they are not dispelled, it is not because of their own nature, but because of human vanity.
KD 31) Τὸ τῆς φύσεως δίκαιόν ἐστι σύμβολον τοῦ συμφέροντος εἰς τὸ μὴ βλάπτειν ἀλλήλους μηδὲ βλάπτεσθαι. KD 31) Natural justice is the advantage conferred by mutual agreements not to inflict nor allow harm.
KD 32) Ὅσα τῶν ζῴων μὴ ἐδύνατο συνθήκας ποιεῖσθαι τὰς ὑπὲρ τοῦ μὴ βλάπτειν ἄλληλα μηδὲ βλάπτεσθαι, πρὸς ταῦτα οὐθὲν ἦν δίκαιον οὐδὲ ἄδικον. ὡσαύτως δὲ καὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν ὅσα μὴ ἐδύνατο ἤ ἐβούλετο τὰς συνθήκας ποιεῖσθαι τὰς ὑπὲρ τοῦ μὴ βλάπτειν μηδὲ βλάπτεσθαι. KD 32) For all living creatures incapable of making agreements not to harm one another, nothing is ever just or unjust; and so it is likewise for all tribes of men which have been unable or unwilling to make such agreements.
KD 33) Οὐκ ἦν τι καθ’ ἑαυτὸ δικαιοσύνη, ἀλλ’ ἐν ταῖς μετ’ ἀλλήλων συστροφαῖς καθ’ ὁπηλίκους δή ποτε ἀεὶ τόπους συνθήκη τις ὑπὲρ τοῦ μὴ βλάπτειν μηδὲ βλάπτεσθαι. KD 33) Absolute justice does not exist. There are only mutual agreements among men, made at various times and places, not to inflict nor allow harm.
KD 34) Ἡ ἀδικία οὐ καθ’ ἑαυτὴν κακόν, ἀλλ’ ἐν τῷ κατὰ τὴν ὑποψίαν φόβῳ εἰ μὴ λήσει τοὺς ὑπὲρ τῶν τοιούτων ἐφεστηκότας κολαστάς. KD 34) Injustice is not an evil in itself, but only in consequence of the accompanying fear of being unable to escape those assigned to punish unjust acts.
KD 35) Οὐκ ἔστι τὸν λάθρᾳ τι ποιοῦντα ὧν συνέθεντο πρὸς ἀλλήλους εἰς τὸ μὴ βλάπτειν μηδὲ βλάπτεσθαι πιστεύειν ὅτι λήσει, κἂν μυριάκις ἐπὶ τοῦ παρόντος λανθάνῃ. μέχρι μὲν καταστροφῆς ἄδηλον εἰ καὶ λήσει. KD 35) It is not possible for one who secretly violates the provisos of the agreement not to inflict nor allow harm to be confident that he won't get caught, even if he has gotten away with it a thousand times before. For up until the time of death, there is no certainty that he will indeed escape detection.
KD 36) Κατὰ μὲν <τὸ> κοινὸν πᾶσι τὸ δίκαιον τὸ αὐτὸ, συμφέρον γάρ τι ἦν ἐν τῇ πρὸς ἀλλήλους κοινωνίᾳ· κατὰ δὲ τὸ ἴδιον χώρας καὶ ὅσων δή ποτε αἰτίων οὐ πᾶσι συνέπεται τὸ αὐτὸ δίκαιον εἶναι. KD 36) Justice is essentially the same for all peoples insofar as it benefits human interaction. But the details of how justice is applied in particular countries or circumstances may vary.
KD 37) Τὸ μὲν ἐπιμαρτυρούμενον ὅτι συμφέρει ἐν ταῖς χρείαις τῆς πρὸς ἀλλήλους κοινωνίας τῶν νομισθέντων εἶναι δικαίων ἔχει τὸ ἐν τοῦ δικαίου χώρᾳ εἶναι, ἐάν τε τὸ αὐτὸ πᾶσι γένηται ἐάν τε μὴ τὸ αὐτὸ, ἐάν δὲ νόμον θῆταί τις, μὴ ἀποβαίνῃ δὲ κατὰ τὸ συμφέρον τῆς πρὸς ἀλλήλους κοινωνίας, οὐκέτι τοῦτο τὴν τοῦ δικαίου φύσιν ἔχει. κἂν μεταπίπτῃ τὸ κατὰ τὸ δίκαιον συμφέρον χρόνον δὲ τινα εἰς τὴν πρόληψιν ἐναρμόττῃ, οὐδὲν ἧττον ἐκεῖνον τὸν χρόνον ἦν δίκαιον τοῖς μὴ φωναῖς κεναῖς ἑαυτοὺς συνταράττουσιν ἀλλ’ ἁπλῶς εἰς τὰ πράγματα βλέπουσιν. KD 37) Among actions legally recognized as just, that which is confirmed by experience as mutually beneficial has the virtue of justice, whether it is the same for all peoples or not. But if a law is made which results in no such advantage, then it no longer carries the hallmark of justice. And if something that used to be mutually beneficial changes, though for some time it conformed to our concept of justice, it is still true that it really was just during that time – at least for those who do not fret about technicalities and instead prefer to examine and judge each case for themselves.
KD 38) Ἔνθα μὴ καινῶν γενομένων τῶν περιεστώτων πραγμάτων ἀνεφάνη μὴ ἁρμόττοντα εἰς τὴν πρόληψιν τὰ νομισθέντα δίκαια ἐπ’ αὐτῶν ἔργων, οὐκ ἦν ταῦτα δίκαια. ἔνθα δὲ καινῶν γενομένων τῶν πραγμάτων οὐκ ἔτι συνέφερε τὰ αὐτὰ δίκαια κείμενα, ἐνταῦθα δὲ τότε μὲν ἦν δίκαια, ὅτε συνέφερεν εἰς τὴν πρὸς ἀλλήλους κοινωνίαν τῶν συμπολιτευομένων· ὕστερον δ’ οὐκ ἦν ἔτι δίκαια, ὅτε μὴ συνέφερεν. KD 38) Where, without any change in circumstances, things held to be just by law are revealed to be in conflict with the essence of justice, such laws were never really just. But wherever or whenever laws have ceased to be advantageous because of a change in circumstances, in that case or time the laws were just when they benefited human interaction, and ceased to be just only when they were no longer beneficial.
KD 39) Ὁ τὸ μὴ θαρροῦν ἀπὸ τῶν ἔξωθεν ἄριστα συστησάμενος οὗτος τὰ μὲν δυνατὰ ὁμόφυλα κατεσκευάσατο· τὰ δὲ μὴ δυνατὰ οὐκ ἀλλόφυλά γε· ὅσα δὲ μηδὲ τοῦτο δυνατὸς ἦν, ἀνεπίμεικτος ἐγένετο, καὶ ἐξωρίσατο ὅσα τοῦτ’ ἐλυσιτέλει πράττειν. KD 39) He who desires to live in tranquility with nothing to fear from other men ought to make friends. Those of whom he cannot make friends, he should at least avoid rendering enemies; and if that is not in his power, he should, as much as possible, avoid all dealings with them, and keep them aloof, insofar as it is in his interest to do so.
KD 40) Ὅσοι τὴν δύναμιν ἔσχον τοῦ τὸ θαρρεῖν μάλιστα ἐκ τῶν ὁμορούντων παρασκευάσασθαι, οὕτω καὶ ἐβίωσαν μετ’ ἀλλήλων ἥδιστα τὸ βεβαιότατον πίστωμα ἔχοντες, καὶ πληρεστάτην οἰκειότητα ἀπολαβόντες οὐκ ὠδύραντο ὡς πρὸς ἔλεον τὴν τοῦ τελευτήσαντος προκαταστροφήν. KD 40) The happiest men are those who enjoy the condition of having nothing to fear from those who surround them. Such men live among one another most agreeably, having the firmest grounds for confidence in one another, enjoying the benefits of friendship in all their fullness, and they do not mourn a friend who dies before they do, as if there was a need for pity.
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