Tuphloteron

Tiresias

Ἐγὼ δέ, οὗπερ ἀφίγμην ἕνεκα, τῷ Τειρεσίᾳ προσελθὼν ἱκέτευον αὐτὸν τὰ πάντα διηγησάμενος εἰπεῖν πρός με ποῖόν τινα ἡγεῖται τὸν ἄριστον βίον. ὁ δὲ γελάσας — ἔστι δὲ τυφλόν τι γερόντιον καὶ ὠχρὸν καὶ λεπτόφωνον — “ὦ τέκνον,” φησί, “τήν μὲν αἰτίαν οἶδά σοι τῆς ἀπορίας ὅτι παρὰ τῶν σοφῶν ἐγένετο οὐ ταὐτὰ γιγνωσκόντων ἑαυτοῖς· ἀτὰρ οὐ θέμις λέγειν πρὸς σέ· ἀπείρηται γὰρ ὑπὸ τοῦ Ῥαδαμάνθυος.” “μηδαμῶς,” ἔφην, “ὦ πατέριον, ἀλλ’ εἰπὲ καὶ μὴ περιίδῃς με σοῦ τυφλότερον περιιόντα ἐν τῷ βίῳ.” ὁ δὲ δή με ἀπαγαγὼν καὶ πολὺ τῶν ἄλλων ἀποσπάσας ἤρεμα προσκύψας πρὸς τὸ οὖς φησίν, “ὁ τῶν ἰδιωτῶν ἄριστος βίος, καὶ σωφρονέστερος παυσάμενος τοῦ μετεωρολογεῖν καὶ τέλη καὶ ἀρχὰς ἐπισκοπεῖν καὶ καταπτύσας τῶν σοφῶν τούτων συλλογισμῶν καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα λῆρον ἡγησάμενος τοῦτο μόνον ἐξ ἅπαντος θηράσῃ, ὅπως τὸ παρὸν εὖ θέμενος παραδράμῃς γελῶν τὰ πολλὰ καὶ περὶ μηδὲν ἐσπουδακώς.”
(Lucian, Menippos 21)

For my part, I did what I came to do. Going to Teiresias, I told him the whole story and besought him to tell me what sort of life he considered the best. He laughed (he is a blind little old gentleman, pale, with a piping voice) and said: “My son, I know the reason for your perplexity; it came from the wise men, who are not consistent with themselves. But it is not permissible to tell you, for Rhadamanthus has forbidden it.” “Don’t say that, gaffer,’ said I. “Tell me, and don’t allow me to go about in life blinder than you are.” So he took me aside, and after he had led me a good way apart from the others, he bent his head slightly toward my ear and said: “The life of the common sort is best, and you will act more wisely if you stop speculating about heavenly bodies and discussing final causes and first causes, spit your scorn at those clever syllogisms, and counting all that sort of thing nonsense, make it always your sole object to put the present to good use and to hasten on your way, laughing a great deal and taking nothing seriously.” (tr. Austin Morris Harmon)

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