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Lecture 50

PHIL 1F91 Lecture Notes - Lecture 50: House Mouse

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Brian Lightbody

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Fortune is used rather broadly by Marcus: it certainly denotes wealth but also includes
bodily pleasures and reputation
What is it about wealth that we crave? Is it security? The possibilities (our own, others,
etc?) that wealth opens up? Or do we see wealth out of avarice (a desire to accumulate
for the sake of accumulation
The first two uses are acceptable provided that one recognizes that wealth may have
value but is not absolute and certainly is not necessary when it comes to caring for the
But far more often, wealth prevents us from caring
Aesop’s Fables: The Miser and His Gold
What happens when we begin to become miserly and greedy?
Marcus Aurelius writes “mere things stand isolated outside out doors, with no
knowledge or report of themselves. What then reports on them? The directing mind”
“no thief can steal your will”
Fortune and Pleasure
“the hill (country) mouse and the house mouse – and the frightened scurrying of the
house mouse”
The above passage is from Aesop’s Fables. The Fable is of the country and town mouse
The fable counsels that if we must decide between these two courses then choose the
life of the country mouse
Do not be like the house mouse. Always afraid of what he or she might lose. The
pleasures of the body and fortunes are fleeting and usually come at a steep cost,
namely, tranquility
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