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And a proof that the term is thus applied is that the kindred term “Soft” is used in respect of these enjoyments but not in respect of any of those others. And for this reason we put into the same rank the man of Imperfect Self-Control, the man who has lost it entirely, the man who has it, and the man of Perfected Self-Mastery; but not any of those other characters, because the former have for their object-matter the same pleasures and pains: but though they have the same object-matter, they are not related to it in the same way, but two of them act upon moral choice, two without it. And so we should say that man is more entirely given up to his passions who pursues excessive pleasures, and avoids moderate pains, being either not at all, or at least but little, urged by desire, than the man who does so because his desire is very strong: because we think what would the former be likely to do if he had the additional stimulus of youthful lust and violent pain consequent on the want of those pleasures which we have denominated necessary?

Well then, since of desires and pleasures there are some which are in kind honourable and good (because things pleasant are divisible, as we said before, into such as are naturally objects of choice, such as are naturally objects of avoidance, and such as are in themselves indifferent, money, gain, honour, victory, for instance); in respect of all such and those that are indifferent, men are blamed not merely for being affected by or desiring or liking them, but for exceeding in any way in these feelings.

And so they are blamed, whosoever in spite of Reason are mastered by, that is pursue, any object, though in its nature noble and good; they, for instance, who are more earnest than they should be respecting honour, or their children or parents; not but what these are good objects and men are praised for being earnest about them: but still they admit of excess; for instance, if any one, as Niobe did, should fight even against the gods, or feel towards his father as Satyrus, who got therefrom the nickname of [Greek: philophator], [Sidenote: 1148b] because he was thought to be very foolish.

Now depravity there is none in regard of these things, for the reason assigned above, that each of them in itself is a thing naturally choiceworthy, yet the excesses in respect of them are wrong and matter for blame: and similarly there is no Imperfect Self-Control in respect of these things; that being not merely a thing that should be avoided but blameworthy.

But because of the resemblance of the affection to the Imperfection of Self-Control the term is used with the addition in each case of the particular object-matter, just as men call a man a bad physician, or bad actor, whom they would not think of calling simply bad. As then in these cases we do not apply the term simply because each of the states is not a vice, but only like a vice in the way of analogy, so it is plain that in respect of Imperfect Self-Control and Self-Control we must limit the names to those states which have the same object-matter as Perfected Self-Mastery and utter loss of Self-Control, and that we do apply it to the case of anger only in the way of resemblance: for which reason, with an addition, we designate a man of Imperfect Self-Control in respect of anger, as of honour or of gain.


As there are some things naturally pleasant, and of these two kinds; those, namely, which are pleasant generally, and those which are so relatively to particular kinds of animals and men; so there are others which are not naturally pleasant but which come to be so in consequence either of maimings, or custom, or depraved natural tastes: and one may observe moral states similar to those we have been speaking of, having respectively these classes of things for their object-matter.

I mean the Brutish, as in the case of the female who, they say, would rip up women with child and eat the foetus; or the tastes which are found among the savage tribes bordering on the Pontus, some liking raw flesh, and some being cannibals, and some lending one another their children to make feasts of; or what is said of Phalaris. These are instances of Brutish states, caused in some by disease or madness; take, for instance, the man who sacrificed and ate his mother, or him who devoured the liver of his fellow-servant. Instances again of those caused by disease or by custom, would be, plucking out of hair, or eating one’s nails, or eating coals and earth. ... Now wherever nature is really the cause no one would think of calling men of Imperfect Self-Control, ... nor, in like manner, such as are in a diseased state through custom.

149a] Obviously the having any of these inclinations is something foreign to what is denominated Vice, just as Brutishness is: and when a man has them his mastering them is not properly Self-Control, nor his being mastered by them Imperfection of Self-Control in the proper sense, but only in the way of resemblance; just as we may say a man of ungovernable wrath fails of Self-Control in respect of anger but not simply fails of Self-Control. For all excessive folly, cowardice, absence of Self-Control, or irritability, are either Brutish or morbid. The man, for instance, who is naturally afraid of all things, even if a mouse should stir, is cowardly after a Brutish sort; there was a man again who, by reason of disease, was afraid of a cat: and of the fools, they who are naturally destitute of Reason and live only by Sense are Brutish, as are some tribes of the far-off barbarians, while others who are so by reason of diseases, epileptic or frantic, are in morbid states.

So then, of these inclinations, a man may sometimes merely have one without yielding to it: I mean, suppose that Phalaris had restrained his unnatural desire to eat a child: or he may both have and yield to it. As then Vice when such as belongs to human nature is called Vice simply, while the other is so called with the addition of “brutish” or “morbid,” but not simply Vice, so manifestly there is Brutish and Morbid Imperfection of Self-Control, but that alone is entitled to the name without any qualification which is of the nature of utter absence of Self-Control, as it is found in Man.


It is plain then that the object-matter of Imperfect Self-Control and Self-Control is restricted to the same as that of utter absence of Self-Control and that of Perfected Self-Mastery, and that the rest is the object-matter of a different species so named metaphorically and not simply: we will now examine the position, “that Imperfect Self-Control in respect of Anger is less disgraceful than that in respect of Lusts.”

In the first place, it seems that Anger does in a way listen to Reason but mishears it; as quick servants who run out before they have heard the whole of what is said and then mistake the order; dogs, again, bark at the slightest stir, before they have seen whether it be friend or foe; just so Anger, by reason of its natural heat and quickness, listening to Reason, but without having heard the command of Reason, rushes to its revenge. That is to say, Reason or some impression on the mind shows there is insolence or contempt in the offender, and then Anger, reasoning as it were that one ought to fight against what is such, fires up immediately: whereas Lust, if Reason or Sense, as the case may be, merely says a thing is sweet, rushes to the enjoyment of it: and so Anger follows Reason in a manner, but Lust does not and is therefore more disgraceful: because he that cannot control his anger yields in a manner to Reason, but the other to his Lust and not to Reason at all. [Sidenote:1149b]

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