Meditations 5:12

Another way to grasp what ordinary people mean by "goods":

Suppose you took certain things as touchstones of goodness: prudence, self—control, justice, and courage, say. If you understood "goods" as meaning those, you wouldn't be able to follow that line about "so many goods. . . ." It wouldn't make any sense to you. Whereas if you'd internalized the conventional meaning, you'd be able to follow it perfectly. You'd have no trouble seeing the author's meaning and why it was funny.

Which shows that most people do acknowledge a distinction. Otherwise we wouldn't recognize the first sense as jarring and reject it automatically, whereas we accept the second—the one referring to wealth and the benefits of celebrity and high living—as amusing and apropos.

Now go a step further. Ask yourself whether we should accept as goods—and should value—the things we have to think of to have the line make sense—the ones whose abundance leaves their owner with ". . . no place to shit."

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June 27, 2020 12:12 PM
book 5 section 12
June 27, 2020 11:11 AM

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