When a man drinks water, or does anything for the sake of practice, whenever there is an opportunity he tells it to all: "I drink water." Is it for this that you drink water, for the purpose of drinking water? Man, if it is good for you to drink, drink; but if not, you are acting ridiculously. But if it is good for you and you do drink, say nothing about it to those who are displeased with water-drinkers. What then, do you wish to please these very men?
Of things that are done some are done with a final purpose, some according to occasion, others with a certain reference to circumstances, others for the purpose of complying with others. and some according to a fixed scheme of life.
You must root out of men these two things, arrogance and distrust. Arrogance, then, is the opinion that you want nothing: but distrust is the opinion that you cannot be happy when so many circumstances surround you. Arrogance is removed by confutation; and Socrates was the first who practiced this. And, that the thing is not impossible, inquire and seek. This search will do you no harm; and in a manner this is philosophizing, to seek how it is possible to employ desire and aversion without impediment.
"I am superior to you, for my father is a man of consular rank." Another says, "I have been a tribune, but you have not." If we were horses, would you say, "My father was swifter?" "I have much barley and fodder, or elegant neck ornaments." If, then, while you were saying this, I said, "Be it so: let us run then." Well, is there nothing in a man such as running in a horse, by which it will he known which is superior and inferior? Is there not modesty, fidelity, justice? Show yourself superior in these, that you may be superior as a man. If you tell me that you can kick violently, I also will say to you that you are proud of that which is the act of an ass.