Isoctates

What thou thyself hatest, do to no man.

Never hope to conceal any shameful thing which you have done; for even if you do conceal it from others, your own heart will know. … Pursue the enjoyments which are of good repute; for pleasure attended by honor is the best thing in the world, but pleasure without honor is the worst.

If you love knowledge, you will be a master of knowledge. What you have come to know, preserve by exercise; what you have not learned, seek to add to your knowledge; for it is as reprehensible to hear a profitable saying and not grasp it as to be offered a good gift by one’s friends and not accept it. Spend your leisure time in cultivating an ear attentive to discourse, for in this way you will find that you learn with ease what others have found out with difficulty.


Believe that many precepts are better than much wealth; for wealth quickly fails us, but precepts abide through all time; for wisdom alone of all possessions is imperishable. Do not hesitate to travel a long road to those who profess to offer some useful instruction; for it were a shame, when merchants cross vast seas in order to increase their store of wealth, that the young should not endure even journeys by land to improve their understanding.

Of all our possessions, wisdom alone is immortal.


Toil and wisdom

The greatest thing in the small compass is a sound mind in a human body. Strive with all your body to be a lover of toil, and with your soul to be a lover of wisdom, in order that with the one you may have the strength to carry out your resolves, and with the other the intelligence to foresee what is for your good.


Future wisdom

Do not be surprised that many things which I have said do not apply to your at your present age. For I also have not overlooked this fact, but I have deliberately chosen to employ this one treatise, not only to convey to you advice for your life now, but also to leave with you precepts for the years to come; for you will then readily perceive the application of my precepts, but you will not easily find a man who will give you friendly counsel. In order, therefore, that you may not seek the rest from another source, but that you may draw from this as from a treasure-house, I thought that I ought not to omit any of the counsels which I have to give you.


Sip the best pollen

acquaint yourself with the best things in the poets as well, and learn from the other wise men also any useful lessons they have taught. For just as we see the bee settling on all the flowers, and sipping the best from each, so also those who aspire to culture ought not to leave anything untasted, but should gather useful knowledge from every source.


a noble illustration of what I am telling you. For he did not belittle virtue nor pass his life in indolence; on the contrary, he trained his body by toil, and by his spirit he withstood dangers. Nor did he love wealth inordinately; but, although he enjoyed the good things at his hand as became a mortal, yet cared for his possessions as if he were immortal.


Conduct yourself toward your parents as you would have your children conduct themselves toward you.

Train your body, not by the exercises which conduce to strength, but by those which conduce to health. In this you will succeed if you cease your exertions while you still have energy to exert yourself.

Practice self-control in all the things by which it is shameful for the soul to be controlled, [Note] namely, gain, temper, pleasure, and pain.


Set not your heart on the excessive acquisition of goods, but on a moderate enjoyment of what you have.

Despise those who strain after riches, but are not able to use what they have; they are in like case with a man who, being but a wretched horseman, gets him a fine mount. 28Try to make of money a thing to use as well as to possess; it is a thing of use to those who understand how to enjoy it, and a mere possession to those who are able only to acquire it.

Be content with your present lot, but seek a better one.


Immortal thoughts

Cultivate the thoughts of an immortal by being lofty of soul, but of a
mortal by enjoying in due measure the good things which you possess.


Think about the end

47In all our tasks we are not so much mindful of the beginning as we are sensible of the end; for we do most things in life not for themselves; it is rather for the sake of what results from them that we carry on our labors.

What results do we wish to obtain from our labor?

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