Arduum

Cicerone

At quae stirpes sunt aegritudinis, quam multae, quam amarae! quae ipso trunco everso omnes eligendae sunt et, si necesse erit, singulis disputationibus. superest enim nobis hoc, cuicuimodi est, otium. Sed ratio una omnium est aegritudinum, plura nomina. nam et invidere aegritudinis est et aemulari et obtrectare et misereri et angi, lugere, maerere, aerumna adfici, lamentari, sollicitari, dolere, in molestia esse, adflictari, desperare. haec omnia definiunt Stoici, eaque verba quae dixi singularum rerum sunt, non, ut videntur, easdem res significant, sed aliquid differunt; quod alio loco fortasse tractabimus. haec sunt illae fibrae stirpium, quas initio dixi, persequendae et omnes eligendae, ne umquam ulla possit existere. magnum opus et difficile, quis negat? quid autem praeclarurn non idem arduum? Sed tamen id se effecturam philosophia profitetur, nos modo curationem eius recipiamus. verum haec quidem hactenus, cetera, quotienscumque voletis, et hoc loco et aliis parata vobis erunt.
(Cicero, Tusc. Disp. 3.83-84)

Yet how numerous are the roots of distress, and how bitter they are! The trunk itself may have been cast down, and still they must be pulled out, every one, by single disputations if need be. I have more than enough free time to do so—if “free time” it can be called. For although all forms of distress have the same explanation, they have many different names. Envy is a form of distress, and so are rivalry, jealousy, pity, anxiety, grief, sorrow, weariness, mourning, worry, anguish, sadness, affliction, and despair. The Stoics have definitions for all of these. For although it may appear that the terms I have listed all mean the same, they in fact refer to slightly different things, as I may perhaps explain later on. These are those root-fibers I mentioned at the start, the ones which must all be found and pulled out, so that none of them can ever arise again. No one would deny that this is a heavy and difficult task. Every great work is arduous, is it not? Yet philosophy promises that she will accomplish it, if only we take her for our physician. But this is enough for now. The rest I am ready to tell you, as many times as you like, both here and elsewhere. (tr. Margaret Graver)

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