Translation Cons. Phil. Book 1 Prosa 6
1 `First then,' she continued, ' will you let me find out and make trial of the state of your mind by a few small questions, that so I may understand what should be the method of your treatment?'
2 `Ask,' said I, `what your judgment would have you ask, and I will answer you.'
3 Then said she, `Think you that this universe is guided only at random and by mere chance? or think you there is any rule of reason constituted in it?'
4 `No, never would I think it could be so, nor believe that such sure motions could be made at random or by chance. I know that God, the founder of the universe, does overlook His work; nor ever may that day come which shall drive me to abandon this belief as untrue.'
5 `So is it,' she said, 'and even so you cried just now, and only mourned that mankind alone has no part in this divine guardianship: you were fixed in your belief that all other things are ruled by reason.
6 Yet, how strange! how much I wonder how it is that you can be so sick though you are set in such a health-giving state of mind! But let us look deeper into it: I cannot but think there is something lacking.
7 Since you are not in doubt that the universe is ruled by God, tell me by what method you think that government is guided?'
8 `I scarcely know the meaning of your question; much less can I answer it.'
9 `Was I wrong,' said she, `to think that something was lacking, that there was some opening in your armour, some way by which this distracting disease has crept into your soul?
10 But tell me, do you remember what is the aim and end of all things ? what the object to which all nature tends?' --`I have heard indeed, but grief has blunted my memory.' --`But do you not somehow know whence all things have their source?'
11 `Yes,' I said; `that source is God.'
12 `Is it possible that you, who know the beginning of all things, should not know their end?
13 But such are the ways of these distractions, such is their power, that though they can move a man's position, they cannot pluck him from himself or wrench him from his roots.
14 But this question would I have you answer: do you remember that you are a man?'
15 --`How can I but remember that?' --`Can you then say what is a man?' --`Need you ask? I know that he is an animal, reasoning and mortal; that I know, and that I confess myself to be.'
16 --`Know you naught else that you are?' asked Philosophy. --`Naught,' said I.
17 --`Now,' said she, `I know the cause, or the chief cause, of your sickness. You have forgotten what you are. Now therefore I have found out to the full the manner of your sickness, and how to attempt the restoring of your health.
18 You are overwhelmed by this forgetfulness of yourself: hence you have been thus sorrowing that you are exiled and robbed of all your possessions.
19 You do not know the aim and end of all things; hence you think that if men are worthless and wicked, they are powerful and fortunate. You have forgotten by what methods the universe is guided; hence you think that the chances of good and bad fortune are tossed about with no ruling hand. These things may lead not to disease only, but even to death as well. But let us thank the Giver of all health, that your nature has not altogether left you.
20 We have yet the chief spark for your health's fire, for you have a true knowledge of the hand that guides the universe: you do believe that its government is not subject to random chance, but to divine reason. Therefore have no fear. From this tiny spark the fire of life shall forthwith shine upon you.
21 But it is not time to use severer remedies, and since we know that it is the way of all minds to clothe themselves ever in false opinions as they throw off the true, and these false ones breed a dark distraction which confuses the true insight, therefore will I try to lessen this darkness for a while with gentle applications of easy remedies, that so the shadows of deceiving passions may be dissipated, and you may have power to perceive the brightness of true light.'