"Against the Charlatans" Philodemus quote

Men who are charlatans, too, divert many, seizing them after some stress and enchanting them with their subtle kindness.”

— Philodemus, On Frank Criticism, Fragment 60

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Comment by Daniel W on August 2, 2014 at 3:41pm

Hiram, than you for the quote.  I have noticed that manipulative style in other interactions, such as in work settings.  I bet it can happen in schools and families too.

I wonder if Machiavelli thought on the same lines.  I've learned a lot about behavior of priests, pastors, politicians, coworkers, and others by reading what Machiavelli had to advise.  Not about afterlife, but about daily life.   Sometimes I need for the ancients to tell me, there is nothing new under the sun.

Comment by Hiram on August 1, 2014 at 4:22pm

Jack Denoo says:

Hiram, do you know of any quotable statement made by some person that captures the notion of agency, of being able to think and take action for resolution? 

Precisely Epicurus, Philodemus and the other masters in our philosophical tradition argued that we should take care of the health of our souls. These vulnerabilities are real, it's pointless to deny them, but we have to accept our natural limits.

If you read the quoted article you'll see the entire context and acknowledgement of how people need love, etc. In my book I also discuss a chapter on autarchy, or self-sufficiency, but this is not mutually exclusive from having a strong circle of caring friends.

But the key thing in Epicureanism is that we don't give people false hopes about the afterlife and so on: one MUST accept one's natural limits. Nature gives us no choice. And so the consolations and insights must always be derived from the study of nature and never be supernatural.

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 1, 2014 at 2:24pm

Religious charlatans come with care and compassion for those who feel inadequate, or afraid, or without meaning, of alone, or unable to accomplish their goals, or emotions that overwhelm them.

The attention, followed by promises of someone who cares, who offers feelings of self-worth, a protector and savior, a meaning life, a community, strength to be somebody based on stories from nothing more than delusions. Easy grace with cheap stories. 

The dependencies were never healthy, but they were attractive to people who wanted dominion over wives, children, slaves, society. It gave them authority to do what they wanted to do and justify their means. "I am doing god's work" as they exploit and manipulate others to their benefit 

Well, we don't make empty promises based on denial and delusion. There are serious challenges facing us and we need people who can think, and plan, and work with others, and do those things that are necessary to solve problems and resolve conflicts. 

Hiram, do you know of any quotable statement made by some person that captures the notion of agency, of being able to think and take action for resolution? 

Comment by Michael Penn on July 30, 2014 at 7:26pm

That quote fits most relgionists who came out of the Abrahamic faith. I doubt they will recognize it as such, and they still want to fight about which one is right.


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