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On Moral Virtue
by [?]

Sec. IV. As for those who wonder that what is unreasoning should obey reason, they do not seem to me to recognize the power of reason, how great it is, and how far-reaching its dominion is–a power not gained by harsh and repelling methods, but by attractive ones, as mild persuasion which always accomplishes more than compulsion or violence. For even the spirit and nerves and bones, and other parts of the body, though devoid of reason, yet at any instigation of reason, when she shakes as it were the reins, are all on the alert and compliant and obedient, the feet to run, and the hands to throw or lift, at her bidding. Right excellently has the poet set forth in the following lines the sympathy and accordance between the unreasoning and reason:–

“Thus were her beauteous cheeks diffused with tears,
Weeping her husband really present then.
But though Odysseus pitied her in heart,
His eyes like horn or steel impassive stood
Within their lids, and craft his tears repressed.”[222]

So completely under the control of judgement did he keep his spirit and blood and tears. The same is shown by the subsidence of our passions, which are laid to rest in the presence of handsome women or boys, whom reason and the law forbid us to touch; a case which most frequently happens to lovers, when they hear that they have unwittingly fallen in love with a sister or daughter. For at once passion is laid at the voice of reason, and the body exhibits its members as subservient to decorum. And frequently in the case of dainty food, people very much attracted by it, if they find out at the time or learn afterwards that they have eaten what is unclean or unlawful, not only suffer distress and grief in their imagination, but even their very body is upset by the notion, and violent retchings and vomitings follow.[223] I fear I should seem to be introducing merely novel and enticing arguments, if I were to enumerate stringed instruments and lyres, and harps and flutes, and other harmonious musical instruments, which, although inanimate, yet speak to man’s passions, rejoicing with him, and mourning with him, and chiming in with him, and rioting with him,–in a word, falling in with the vein and emotions and characters of those that play on them. And they say that Zeno on one occasion, going into the theatre when Amoebeus[224] was playing on the harp, said to the pupils, “Let us go and learn what music can be produced by guts and nerves and wood and bones, when they preserve proportion and time and order.” But passing these things over, I would gladly learn from them, if, when they see dogs and horses and birds domesticated, and by habit and training uttering sounds that can be understood, and making obedient movements and gestures, and acting quietly and usefully to us, and when they notice that Achilles in Homer cheers on horses as well as men to the fight,[225] they still wonder and doubt, whether the passionate and emotional and painful and pleasurable elements in us are by nature obedient to the voice of reason, and influenced and affected by it, seeing that those elements are not apart from us or detached from us, or formed from outside, or hammered into us by force, but are innate in us, and ever associate with us, and are nourished within us, and abound in us through habit. Accordingly moral character is well called by the Greeks [Greek: ethos], for it is, to speak generally, a quality of the unreasoning element in man, and is called [Greek: ethos] because the unreasoning element moulded by reason receives this quality and difference by habit, which is called [Greek: ethos].[226] Not that reason wishes to expel passion altogether (that is neither possible, nor advisable), but only to keep it within bounds and order, and to engender the moral virtues, which are not apathetic, but hold the due proportion and mean in regard to passion. And this she does by reducing the power of passion to a good habit. For there are said to be three things existing in the soul, power, passion, and habit. Power is the principle or matter of passion, as power to be angry, ashamed, or confident: and passion is the actual setting in motion of that power, being itself anger, confidence, or shame; and habit is the strong formation of power in the unreasoning element engendered by use, being vice if the passions are badly tutored by reason, virtue if they are well tutored.