At one point in Freedom Evolves Daniel Dennett quotes a description of Cato, from Sallust, that captures one of the most important and difficult goals in life:

Esse quam videri bonus malebat.

In English:

He preferred to be good rather than seem so.

It's rather like auditing a class and learning all the material but not getting any credit for it. Which is more important --- the knowledge, or the diploma? The act, or the applause?

(see also RememberMe (21 May 1999), Cardinal Newman (4 Oct 2001), MissedManners (4 Oct 2001), FreedomEvolves (3 Jul 2003), ...)

TopicPhilosophy - TopicLiterature - TopicLife - 2003-08-02

(correlates: ComplexSimplicity, WhyStudyScience, ProdesseQuamConspici, ...)