Thus Epicurus also, when he designs to destroy the natural fellowship of mankind, at the same time makes use of that which he destroys.For what does he say? ‘Be not deceived, men, nor be led astray, nor be mistaken: there is no natural fellowship among rational animals; believe me. But those who say otherwise, deceive you and seduce you by false reasons.’—What is this to you? Permit us to be deceived.Will you fare worse, if all the rest of us are persuaded that there is a natural fellowship among us and that it ought by all means to be preserved? Nay, it will be much better and safer for you.Man, why do you trouble yourself about us? Why do you keep awake for us? Why do you light your lamp? Why do you rise early? Why do you write so many books, that no one of us may be deceived about the gods and believe that they take care of men; or that no one may suppose the nature of good to be other than pleasure?For if this is so, lie down and sleep and lead the life of a worm, of which you judged yourself worthy: eat and drink and enjoy women and ease yourself and snore.And what is it to you, how the rest shall think about these things, whether right or wrong? For what have we to do with you?You take care of sheep because they supply us with wool and milk and last of all with their flesh. Would it not be a desirable thing if men could be lulled and enchanted by the Stoics and sleep and present themselves to you and to those like you to be shorn and milked?For this you ought to say to your brother Epicureans: but ought you not to conceal it from others and particularly before every thing to persuade them, that we are by nature adapted for fellowship, that temperance is a good thing; in order that all things may be secured for you?Or ought we to maintain this fellowship with some and not with others? With whom then ought we to maintain it?With such as on their part also maintain it, or with such as violate this fellowship?And who violate it more than you who establish such doctrines?What then was it that waked Epicurus from his sleepiness and compelled him to write what he did write?
Epictetus