Cicero on Reason’s Guidance

“To sum up: when undertaking any action, we must hold fast to three things. First, impulse must obey reason; nothing is more suited to ensuring the observance of one’s duties than that. Secondly, we must keep in mind the importance of the thing we wish to achieve, so that we employ neither more nor less care and effort than the case requires. The third thing is that we should be careful to moderate all things that may affect our appearance and standing as a gentleman.  The best limit, moreover, is to maintain seemliness itself, which we have discussed already, and not to step beyond it. However, of these three things, the most important is for impulse to obey reason.” Cicero, On Duties I. 141. eds. and trans. M.T. Griffin and E.M. Atkins (Cambridge 1991), pp. 54-55.


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