XLIX. untitled: “The Cynic to Aroueca…” (p. 181)
The allusion to the philosopher as “doctor for the soul” is an interesting one. Reminds of me of the stigma which is placed on mental health issues, or at least the ones in the DSM-5. We don’t see the same prejudice against folks with “diseases” of their desires and aversions, with their passions ruling their lives. In fact, a certain amount of this sort of suffering is viewed as normal, or even healthy. So, like the Cynic says, choose the doctor well.
L. To Charmides, greetings (p. 181)
“Those who propose to cure others of what they haven’t been able to cure themselves.” I saw a documentary about Buddhist hermits in China, and one of the interviewers asks the monk to teach something of Zen. He replies, ‘there’s nothing to say, it’s all in the text. I can’t save someone else if I haven’t been able to save myself.’ Or something along those lines.
LI. To Epimenedes, greetings (p. 183)
So, this and the previous letter both speak to appearances versus actual reality. The decorated but empty box, the promise of virtue, but laziness in the doing. This is a good thing to keep in mind.
This is part of the Cynic Epistles Reading Plan.