Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (Three Types of Men)

One man, when he has done a service to another, is ready to set it down to his account as a favor conferred. Another is not ready to do this, but still thinks of the man as his debtor, and he knows what he has done. A third in a manner does not even know what he has done, but he is like a vine that has produced grapes and seeks for nothing more after it has once produced its proper fruit. As a horse when he has run, a dog when he has tracked the game, a bee when it has made the honey, so a man when he has done a good act, does not call out for others to come and see, but he goes on to another act, as a vine goes on to produce again the grapes in season. Must a man then be one of these, who in a manner act thus without observing it? Yes. But this very thing is necessary, the observation of what a man is doing: for, it may be said, it is characteristic of the social animal to perceive that he is working in a social manner and, indeed, to wish that his social partner also should perceive it. It is true what you say, but you do not rightly understand what is now said: and for this reason you will become one of those of whom I spoke before, for even they are misled by a certain show of reason. But if you will choose to understand the meaning of what is said, do not fear that for this reason you will omit any social act. – Book V, VI

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s