Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/972

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it affords are included in the chain of causation. Even here, however, the bent of the system is apparent. They were at pains to insist upon purity of heart and life as an indispensable condition for success in prophesying and to enlist piety in the service of morality.

When Chrysippus died (Ol. 143 = 208-204 B.C.) the structure of Stoic doctrine was complete. With the Middle Stoa we enter upon a periodMiddle Stoa. at first of comparative inaction, afterwards of internal reform. Chrysippus's immediate successors were Zeno of Tarsus, Diogenes of Seleucia (often called the Babylonian) and Antipater of Tarsus, men of no originality, though not without ability; the two last-named, however, had all their energies taxed to sustain the conflict with Carneades (q.v.). This was the most formidable assault the school ever encountered; that it survived was due more to the foresight and elaborate precautions of Chrysippus than to any efforts of that “pen-doughty” pamphleteer, Antipater (καλαμοβόας), who shrank from opposing himself in person to the eloquence of Carneades. The subsequent history testified to the importance of this controversy. The special objects of attack were the Stoic theory of knowledge, their theology and their ethics. The physical basis of the system remained unchanged but neglected; all creative force or even original research in the departments of physics and metaphysics vanished. Yet problems of interest bearing upon psychology and natural theology continued to be discussed. Thus the cycles of the world's existence, and the universal conflagration which terminates each of them, excited some doubt. Diogenes of Seleucia is said to have wavered in his belief at last; Boethus, one of his pupils, flatly denied it. He regarded the Deity as the guide and upholder of the world, watching over it from the outside, not as the immanent soul within it, for according to him the world was as soulless as a plant. We have here a compromise between Zeno's and Aristotle's doctrines. But in the end the universal conflagration was handed down without question as an article of belief. It is clear that the activity of these teachers was chiefly directed to ethics: they elaborated fresh definitions of the chief good, designed either to make yet clearer the sense of the formulas of Chrysippus or else to meet the more urgent objections of the New Academy. Carneades had emphasized one striking apparent inconsistency: it had been laid down that to choose what is natural is man's highest good, and yet the things chosen, the “first objects according to nature,” had no place amongst goods. Antipater may have met this by distinguishing “the attainment” of primary natural ends from the activity directed to their attainment (Plut. De Comm. Not. 27, 14, p. 1072 F); but, earlier still, Diogenes had put forward his gloss, viz. “The end is to calculate rightly in the selection and rejection of things according to nature.” Archedemus, a contemporary of Diogenes, put this in plainer terms still: “The end is to live in the performance of all fitting actions” (πάντα τὰ καθήκοντα ἐπιτελοῦντας ζῆν). Now it is highly improbable that the earlier Stoics would have sanctioned such interpretations of their dogmas. The mere performance of relative or imperfect duties, they would have said, is something neither good nor evil; the essential constituents of human good is ignored. And similar criticism is actually passed by Posidonius: “This is not the end, but only its necessary concomitant; such a mode of expression may be useful for the refutation of objections put forward by the Sophists” (Carneades and the New Academy?), “but it contains nothing of morality or well-being” (Galen, De Plac. Hipp. et Plat. p. 470 K). There is every ground, then, for concluding that we have here one concession extorted by the assaults of Carneades. For a similar compromise there is express testimony: “good repute” (εὐδοξία) had been regarded as a thing wholly indifferent in the school down to and including Diogenes. Antipater was forced to assign to it “positive value,” and to give it a place amongst “things preferred” (Cic. De fin. iii. 57). These modifications were retained by Antipater's successors. Hence come the increased importance and fuller treatment which from this time forward fall to the lot of the “external duties” (καθήκοντα). The rigour and consistency of the older system became sensibly modified.

To this result another important factor contributed. In all that the older Stoics taught there breathes that enthusiasm for righteousnessThe Sage. in which has been traced the earnestness of the Semitic spirit; but nothing presents more forcibly the pitch of their moral idealism than the doctrine of the Wise Man. All mankind fall into two classes—the wise or virtuous, the unwise or wicked—the distinction being absolute. He who possesses virtue possesses it whole and entire; he who lacks it lacks it altogether. To be but a hand's-breadth below the surface of the sea ensures drowning as infallibly as to be five hundred fathoms deep. Now the wise man is drawn as perfect. All he does is right, all his opinions are true; he alone is free, rich, beautiful, skilled to govern, capable of giving or receiving a benefit. And his happiness, since length of time cannot increase it, falls in nothing short of that of Zeus. In contrast with all this, we have a picture of universal depravity. Now, who could claim to have attained to the sage's wisdom? Doubtless, at the first founding of the school Zeno himself and Zeno's pupils were inspired with this hope; they emulated the Cynics Antisthenes and Diogenes, who never shrank out of modesty from the name and its responsibilities. But the development of the system led them gradually and reluctantly to renounce this hope as they came to realize the arduous conditions involved. Zeno indeed could hardly have been denied the title conferred upon Epicurus. Cleanthes, the “second Hercules,” held it possible for man to attain to virtue. From anecdotes recorded of the tricks played upon Aristo and Sphaerus (Diog. Laër. vii. 162, 117) it may be inferred that the former deemed himself infallible in his opinions, i.e. set up for a sage; Persaeus himself, who had exposed the pretensions of Aristo, is twitted with having failed to conform with the perfect generalship which was one trait of the wise man when he allowed the citadel of Corinth to be taken by Aratus (Athen. iv. 102 D). The trait of infallibility especially proved hard to establish when successive heads of the school seriously differed in their doctrine. The prospect became daily more distant, and at length faded away. Chrysippus declined to call himself or any of his contemporaries a sage. One or two such manifestations there may have been—Socrates and Diogenes?—but the wise man was rarer, he thought, than the phoenix. If his successors allowed one or two more exceptions, to Diogenes of Seleucia at any rate the sage was an unrealized ideal, as we learn from Plutarch (De comm. not. 33, 1076 B), who does not fail to seize upon this extreme view. Posidonius left even Socrates, Diogenes and Antisthenes in the state of progress towards virtue. Although there was in the end a reactionModifications in Practice. from this extreme, yet it is impossible to mistake the bearing of all this upon a practical system of morals. So long as dialectic subtleties and exciting polemics afforded food for the intellect, the gulf between theory and practice might be ignored. But once let this system be presented to men in earnest about right living, and eager to profit by what they are taught, and an ethical reform is inevitable. Conduct for us will be separated from conduct for the sage. We shall be told not always to imitate him. There will be a new law, dwelling specially upon the “external duties” required of all men, wise or unwise; and even the sufficiency of virtue for our happiness may be questioned. The introducer and expositor of such a twofold morality was a remarkable man. Born at Rhodes c. 185 B.C., a citizen of the most flourishing of Greek states and almost the only one which yet retained vigour and freedom, Panaetius lived for years in the house of Scipio Africanus the younger at Rome, accompanied him on embassies and campaigns, and was perhaps the first Greek who in a private capacity had any insight into the working of the Roman state or the character of its citizens. Later in life, as head of the Stoic school at Athens, he achieved a reputation second only to that of Chrysippus. He is the earliest Stoic author from whom we have, even indirectly, any considerable piece of work, as books i. and ii. of the De officiis are a réchaufé, in Cicero's