Home » Excerpts » Why Choose Sickness Over Indulgence?

How much better is it
to be known for
doing well by many
than for living extravagantly?


— Musonius Rufus

[From ‘On Furnishings’]: I would choose sickness rather than luxury, for sickness harms only the body, but luxury destroys both body and soul [i.e. mind], causing weakness and impotence in the body and lack of self-control and cowardice in the soul.

Furthermore, luxury begets covetousness. For no man of extravagant tastes can avoid being lavish in expenditure, nor being lavish can he wish to spend little; but in his desire for many things, he cannot refrain from acquiring them, nor again in his effort to acquire can he fail to be grasping and unjust; for no man would succeed in acquiring much by just methods.

In still another way, the man of luxurious habits would be unjust, for he would hesitate to undertake the necessary burdens for his city without abandoning his extravagant life, and if it seemed necessary to suffer deprivation on behalf of his friends or relatives, he would not submit to it, for his love of luxury would not permit it.

Musonius Rufus:
That One Should Disdain Hardships: The Teachings Of A Roman Stoic
Translated By Cora E. Lutz

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