“Everything is change; and you cannot step twice into the same river.”
“I saw death come for you, and I had no philosophy.”
“Nothing will change, Alexias. No, that is false; there is change whenever there is life, and already we are not the two who met in Taureas' palaestra. But what kind of fool would plant an apple-slip, to cut it down at the season when the fruit is setting? Flowers you can get every year, but only with time the tree that shades your doorway and grows into the house with each year's sun and rain.”
“We shall either find what we are seeking, or free ourselves from the persuasion that we know what we do not know.”
“What is democracy? It is what it says, the rule of the people. It is as good as the people are, or as bad.”
“Men are not born equal in themselves, so I think it beneath a man to postulate that they are. If I thought myself as good as Sokrates I should be a fool; and if, not really believing it, I asked you to make me happy by assuring me of it, you would rightly despise me. So why should I insult my fellow-citizens by treating them as fools and cowards? A man who thinks himself as good as everyone else will be at no pains to grow better. On the other hand, I might think myself as good as Sokrates, and even persuade other fools to agree with me; but under a democracy, Sokrates is there in the Agora to prove me wrong. I want a city where I can find my equals and respect my betters, whoever they are; and where no one can tell me to swallow a lie because it is expedient, or some other man's will.”
“Change is the sum of the universe, and what is of nature ought not to be feared. But one gives it hostages, and lays one's grief upon the gods. Sokrates is free, and would have taught me freedom. But I have yoked the immortal horse that draws the chariot with a horse of earth; and when the one falls, both are entangled in the traces.”
“WITHOUT LAUGHTER, WHAT MAN of sense could endure either politics or war?”
“You wished for me, Athenians; I am here. Do not question me, do not hurt me; I am the wish sprung from your heart, and if you wound me your heart will bleed for it. Your love made me. Do not take it away; for without love I am a temple forsaken by its god, where dark Alastor will enter. It was you, Athenians, who conjured me, a daimon whose food is love. Feed me, then, and I will clothe you with glory, and show you to yourselves in the image of your desire. I am hungry: feed me. It is too late to repent.”
“Go in peace," I said to him; "bear no ill-will to me, for Necessity yields to no man: and do not complain of me to our mother, for her blood is on your head as well as mine.
If the gods had not forbidden it, my brother, I would put you to sleep before I left you, for night comes on; this is an empty place, and the clouds look dark upon the mountains.
But the blood of kindred is not to be washed away; and when a man has once felt the breath of the Honoured Ones upon his neck, he will not bid them across the threshold. So forgive me, and suffer what must be. The clouds are heavy; if the gods love you, before morning there will be snow.”
“What is honour? In Athens it is one thing, in Sparta another; and among the Medes it is something else again. But go where you will, there is no land where the dead return across the river.”
“Fui felice di sfoggiare quel poco che sapevo; e poiché mi sentivo già a mio agio con lui, gli domandai perché mai un vecchio volesse frequentare la scuola. Non si risentì; rispose che per un vecchio non imparare ciò che avrebbe potuto renderlo migliore era assai più disonorevole che per i ragazzi, dato che aveva avuto tutto il tempo di comprenderne l’importanza”.”
“I looked at him, tipping down the coarse wine like a man who expects to put up with worse. I felt I was looking my last at the lad I still remembered. I was right. When I saw him again, it was five years later, and not in Athens. He was tanned like the thong of a javelin, and as tough as the shaft, a soldier who looked to have been cradled in a shield; but the oddest change, I think, was to see in one always so mindful of convention that careless outlandishness you find in irregular troops of great renown; men who seem to say, "Take it or leave it, you who never went where we have been. We are the only judges of one another.”
“Either we shall find what we are seeking, or at least we shall free ourselves from the persuasion that we know what we do not know.”
“His mouth felt cold to mine ; he neither opened his eyes, nor spoke, nor moved. I said in my heart, "Too late I am here within your cloak, I who never of my own will would have denied you anything. Time and death and change are unforgiving, and love lost in the time of youth never returns again.”
“Gli uomini non nascono eguali”, mi disse poi. “Perciò ritengo indegno di un uomo affermare che lo sono. Se credessi di valere quanto Socrate, sarei uno sciocco; e se, non credendolo veramente, ti chiedessi di farmi felice assicurandomi che lo sono, avresti motivo di disprezzarmi. Quindi, perché dovrei insultare i miei concittadini trattandoli come stolti e codardi? Un uomo che ritiene di valere quanto chiunque altro non si preoccuperà di migliorarsi. D’altra parte, potrei ritenere di valere quanto Socrate e convincere altri sciocchi a dichiararsi d’accordo; ma in una democrazia c’è Socrate nell’Agorà a provare che ho torto. Io voglio una città dove potrò trovare i miei eguali e rispettare chi è migliore di me, chiunque sia; e dove nessuno potrà ordinarmi di accettare una menzogna perché è utile o perché così vuole un altro”.”
“L’ho sentito dire che nessuno dovrebbe presumere di leggere l’universo se prima non ha capito e dominato la propria anima, altrimenti nulla potrà impedirgli di volgere al male tutta l’altra conoscenza”.”
“Stavano parlando della natura della verità. Non so in quale forma fosse emerso l’argomento. Poco dopo il nostro arrivo, Socrate disse che la verità non poteva essere servita come uno schiavo serve il padrone, il quale non spiega le ragioni del suo comando; dovevamo cercarla, piuttosto, come un innamorato sincero cerca di conoscere l’amato, per apprendere compiutamente che cos’è e di che cosa ha bisogno, non già come gli amanti spregevoli che aspirano a sapere solo che cosa possono volgere a loro vantaggio.”
“All’inizio andai da Socrate”, disse, “per il suo metodo negativo. Mi piaceva vederlo minare alla base la sicurezza degli stolti. Ecco, pensavo, un uomo che non addomestica la verità, ma la segue anche nel deserto. Perciò lo seguii a mia volta; e Socrate mi condusse dove non avevo pensato di andare”.”
“Il sacerdote notò il mio gesto e disse: “Hai corso molto a lungo; le tue vesti sono strappate, sei pesto e sanguinante e sporco di fango. Hai sparso sangue altrui e vieni a cercare rifugio? Se è così, entra nel sacro luogo, perché qui fuori Apollo non può proteggerti”. Si chinò per aiutarmi. Le sue erano le mani di un vecchio, ma asciutte e calde, e avevano una forza risanatrice. Io dissi: “Non ho sparso il sangue di nessuno. Sarebbe meglio se avessi sparso il mio, perché i miei occhi hanno visto il mio cuore e la sua luce s’è mutata per sempre in tenebra”. “Nel cuore di ogni uomo c’è un labirinto”, disse il sacerdote, “e per ciascuno viene il giorno in cui deve giungere al centro e affrontare il Minotauro. […]”.”
“Fate does not seek our consent.”
“A SOFT fall rain slips down through the trees and the smell of ocean is so strong that it can almost be licked off the air.”
“Mama just stepped back on the treadmill of worry and hopeless, and kept walking.”
“Be glad I don't have my gun because right now I'm considering the different ways I can get you to shut up. Let me scream and back off.”
“And all at once I had no one to trade looks with.”
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