Plunon

woman-about-to-brush-teeth

Ἀμήχανον ἦν μύξας μὴ ῥεῖν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τοιοῦτον ἔχοντος τὸ σύγκραμα· διὰ τοῦτο χεῖρας ἐποίησεν ἡ φύσις καὶ αὐτὰς τὰς ῥῖνας ὡς σωλῆνας πρὸς τὸ ἐκδιδόναι τὰ ὑγρά. ἂν οὖν ἀναρροφῇ τις αὐτάς, λέγω ὅτι οὐ ποιεῖ ἔργον ἀνθρωπικόν. ἀμήχανον ἦν μὴ πηλοῦσθαι τοὺς πόδας μηδὲ ὅλως μολύνεσθαι διὰ τοιούτων τινῶν πορευομένους· διὰ τοῦτο ὕδωρ παρεσκεύασεν, διὰ τοῦτο χεῖρας. ἀμήχανον ἦν ἀπὸ τοῦ τρώγειν μὴ ῥυπαρόν τι προσμένειν τοῖς ὀδοῦσι· διὰ τοῦτο “πλῦνον” φησίν “τοὺς ὀδόντας.” διὰ τί; ἵν’ ἄνθρωπος ᾖς καὶ μὴ θηρίον μηδὲ συίδιον. ἀμήχανον μὴ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἱδρῶτος καὶ τῆς κατὰ τὴν ἐσθῆτα συνοχῆς ὑπολείπεσθαί τι περὶ τὸ σῶμα ῥυπαρὸν καὶ δεόμενον ἀποκαθάρσεως· διὰ τοῦτο ὕδωρ, ἔλαιον, χεῖρες, ὀθόνιον, ξύστρα, νίτρον, ἔσθ’ ὅθ’ ἡ ἄλλη πᾶσα παρασκευὴ πρὸς τὸ καθῆραι αὐτό. οὔ· ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν χαλκεὺς ἐξιώσει τὸ σιδήριον καὶ ὄργανα πρὸς τοῦτο ἕξει κατεσκευασμένα καὶ τὸ πινάκιον αὐτὸς σὺ πλυνεῖς, ὅταν μέλλῃς ἐσθίειν, ἐὰν μὴ ᾖς παντελῶς ἀκάθαρτος καὶ ῥυπαρός· τὸ σωμάτιον δ’ οὐ πλυνεῖς οὐδὲ καθαρὸν ποιήσεις; — “διὰ τί;” φησίν. — πάλιν ἐρῶ σοι· πρῶτον μὲν ἵνα τὰ ἀνθρώπου ποιῇς, εἶτα ἵνα μὴ ἀνιᾷς τοὺς ἐντυγχάνοντας.
(Arrian, Epict. Diatr. 4.11.9-14)

It is impossible that there should not be some flow of mucus from a human being, since he is constituted in the way that he is. For that reason, nature has created hands, and has made our nostrils themselves like tubes to carry away the fluids. So if anyone sniffs them up again, I say that he isn’t acting as is appropriate for a human being. It was impossible that our feet should not get muddy, or dirty at all, when we pass through filth of that kind; nature has thus provided us with water and with hands. It was impossible that some dirt should not get left behind on our teeth when we’ve eaten; and so nature says to us, “Clean your teeth.” Why? So that you may be a human being, and not a wild beast or a pig. It was impossible that through our sweat and the rubbing of our clothes, some uncleanness should not be left behind on our body and need to be cleaned off; for this reason, we have water, oil, hands, a towel, a scraper, and everything else that is used for cleaning the body. Not in your case? But a smith will remove the rust from his iron, and has tools made for that purpose, and you yourself will wash your plate before you eat, unless you’re irredeemably dirty and unclean; and yet when it comes to your poor body, you don’t want to wash it and make it clean? “Why should I?”, the man says. I’ll tell you again: in the first place, to act as is appropriate for a human being, and secondly, so as not to disgust those whom you meet. (tr. Robin Hard)

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