My dear Kacvey,

Here is something philosophical and humoristic to take your mind off from depressing daily news. What you are going to know is some anecdotes about Aristotle and his happy sayings as related by Diogenes Laertius.

Aristotle was Plato’s most genuine disciple, but he left the Academy while Plato was still alive; on this Plato commented: “Aristotle spurns me, as colts kick out at the mother who bore them.”

Aristotle was called a “Peripatetic” because, after his return to Athens from Philip’s court in Macedonia, instead of going to Plato’s Academy, he made choice of the Lyceum where he would walk up and down discussing philosophy with his pupils until it was time to rub themselves with oil.

It is said that Lyco (a head of Aristotle’s Lyceum) mentioned that Aristotle bathed in warm oil, and then sold the oil.

Other people related that he placed a skin of warm oil on his stomach, and that, when he went to sleep, a bronze ball was placed in his hand with a vessel under it, in order that, when the ball dropped from his hand into the vessel, he might be waked up by the sound.

Someone asked Aristotle: “What do people gain by telling lies?” His answer was: “Just this, that when they speak the truth they are not believed.”

Being once reproached for giving alms to a bad man, he rejoined, “It was the man and not his character that I pitied.” Also when some one accused him of having given a subscription to a dishonest man, he said “It was not the man that I assisted, but humanity.”

He used constantly to say to his friends and pupils, whenever or wherever he happened to lecturing, “As sight takes in light from the surrounding air, so does the soul from mathematics.”

Frequently and at some length he would say that the Athenians were the discoverers of wheat and laws; but though they used wheat, they had no use of laws.

He said: “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”

Being asked, “What is it that soon grows old?” he answered, “Gratitude.”

He was asked to define hope , and he replied, ” It is a waking dream.”

When Diogenes (the Dog) offered him dried figs, he saw that he had prepared something caustic to say if he did not take them; so he took them and said Diogenes had lost his figs and his jest into the bargain. And on another occasion he took them when they were offered, lifted them up aloft, as you do babies, and returned them with the exclamation, “Great is Diogenes.”

Three things he declared to be indispensable for education: natural endowment, study and constant practice.

On hearing that some one abused him, he rejoined, “He may even scourge me so it be in my absence.”

Beauty he declared to be a greater recommendation that any letter of introduction. He also defined good looks as the gift of the god.

Being asked how the educated differ from the uneducated, “As much,” he said, “as the living from the dead.”

He used to declare education to be an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity. Teachers who educated children deserved, he said, more honour than parents who merely gave them birth; for bare life is furnished by the one, the other ensures a good life. He also declared that “Education is the best provision for old age.”

To one who boasted that he belonged to a great city his reply was, “That is not the point to consider, but who it is that is worthy of a great country.”

To the query, “What is a friend?” his reply was, “A single soul dwelling in two bodies.” To the question how we should behave to friends, he answered, “As we should wish them to behave to us.”

Mankind, he used to say, were divided into those who were as thrifty as if they would live for ever, and those who were extravagant as if they were going to die the next day.

When some one inquired why we spend much time with the beautiful, “That,” he said, “is a blind man question.”

When asked what advantage he had ever gained from philosophy, he replied, “This, that I do without being ordered what some are constrained to do by their fear of the law.”

The question being put, how can students make progress, he replied, “by pressing hard on those in front, and not waiting for those behind.”

To the chatterbox who poured out a flood of talk upon him and then inquired, “Have I bored you to death with my character?” Aristotle replied, “No, indeed; for I was not attending to you.”