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The qualities which enabled Epicurus to compete successfully with much greater thinkers than himself as the founder of a lasting sect, were practical rather than theoretical. Others before him had taught that happiness was the end of life; none, like him, had cultivated the art of happiness, and pointed out the fittest methods for attaining it. The idea of such an art was a real and important addition to the resources of civilisation. No mistake is greater than to suppose that pleasure is lost by being made an object of pursuit. To single out the most agreeable course among many alternatives, and, when once found, steadily to pursue it, is an aptitude like any other, and is capable of being brought to a high degree of perfection by assiduous attention and self-discipline.211 No doubt the capacity for enjoyment117 is impaired by excessive self-consciousness, but the same is true of every other accomplishment during the earlier stages of its acquisition. It is only the beginner who is troubled by taking too much thought about his own proficiency; when practice has become a second nature, the professor of hedonism reaps his harvest of delight without wasting a thought on his own efforts, or allowing the phantom of pleasure in the abstract to allure him away from its particular and present realisation. And, granting that happiness as such can be made an object of cultivation, Epicurus was perfectly right in teaching that the removal of pain is its most essential condition, faulty as was (from a speculative point of view) his confusion of the condition with the thing itself. If the professed pleasure-seekers of modern society often fail in the business of their lives, it is from neglecting this salutary principle, especially where it takes the form of attention to the requirements of health. In assigning a high importance to friendship, he was equally well inspired. Congenial society is not only the most satisfying of enjoyments in itself, but also that which can be most easily combined with every other enjoyment. It is also true, although a truth felt rather than perceived by our philosopher, that speculative agreement, especially when speculation takes the form of dissent from received opinions, greatly increases the affection of friends for one another. And as theology is the subject on which unforced agreement seems most difficult, to eliminate its influence altogether was a valuable though purely negative contribution to unanimity of thought and feeling in the hedonistic sect.
She turned on him quickly. "Let me be," she commanded, and he obeyed humbly. Then she corked the bottle and shook it so that the animals rolled on top of each other, and laying it on the ground bent over it with the deepest interest. Brewster watched too, fascinated in spite of himself. It was so very ugly. The two wicked little creatures fought desperately. But after a time they withdrew to the sides of the bottle, and were quite still. The tarantula had left a leg lying loose.
"Have you got anything for me to eat?" I asked, not heeding his words.Theyre getting aheadgetting away from us! cried Sandy.
A few moments after they went away I went also, and entered the burning town once more. A Netherland family lived in Villa Rustica, and I had promised to make inquiries about them.
It is, at any rate, certain that the successors of Aenesidmus adhered to the standpoint of Pyrrho. One of them, Agrippa, both simplified and strengthened the arguments of the school by reducing the ten Tropes to five. The earlier objections to human certainty were summed up under two heads: the irreconcilable conflict of opinions on all subjects; and the essential relativity of consciousness, in which the percipient and the perceived are so intimately united that what things in themselves are cannot possibly be discovered. The other three Tropes relate to the baselessness of reasoning. They were evidently suggested by Aristotles remarks on the subject. The process of proof cannot be carried backwards ad infinitum, nor can it legitimately revolve in a circle. Thus much had already been admitted, or rather insisted on by the great founder of logic. But the Sceptics could not agree to Aristotles contention, that demonstration may be based on first principles of self-evident certainty. They here fell back on their main argument; that the absence of general agreement on every point is fatal to the existence of such pretended axioms. A still further simplification was effected by the reduction of the five Tropes to twothat all reasoning rests on intuition, and that mens intuitions are irreconcilably at variance with one another.300 As against true science, the sceptical Tropes are powerless, for the validity of its principles has nothing to do189 with their general acceptance. They are laid before the learner for his instruction, and if he chooses to regard them as either false or doubtful, the misfortune will be his and not theirs. But as against all attempts to constrain belief by an appeal to authority, the Tropes still remain invincible. Whether the testimony invoked be that of ancient traditions or of a supposed inward witness, there is always the same fatal objection that other traditions and other inward witnesses tell quite a different story. The task of deciding between them must, after all, be handed over to an impersonal reason. In other words, each individual must judge for himself and at his own risk, just as he does in questions of physical science.The names of many priests will be found in the register of Belgian martyrs. I have mentioned already some who, although innocent, gave their life for their country. During my week's stay at Louvain I heard of other cases. The priest of Corbeek-Loo, for example, was simply tortured to death on account of one of his sermons in which he said that the fight of the Belgian army was beauti142ful "because it lawfully resists an unlawful invasion," and further for announcing a Holy Requiem Mass for the souls of the "murdered" citizens.
Here we imagine an impatient reader exclaiming, How can Mr. Herbert Spencer, who knows, if possible, even less of Greek philosophy than of his own Unknowable, have derived that principle from the Greeks? Well, we have already traced the genealogy by which the two systems of agnosticism are connected. And some additional light will be thrown on the question if we consider that the form of Neo-Platonism was largely determined by the manner in which Plotinus brought the spiritualistic conceptualism of Plato and Aristotle into contact with the dynamic materialism of the Stoics; and that the form of Mr. Spencers philosophy has been similarly determined by bringing the idealism of modern German thought into contact with the mechanical evolutionism of modern science. Thus, under the influence of old associations, has pantheism been metamorphosed into a crude agnosticism, which faithfully reproduces the likeness of its original ancestors, the Plotinian Matter and the Plotinian One.