The Enchiridion - Part 25

Everything comes at a cost. If you don't pay that cost, you can't expect to recieve the thing.

Has any man been preferred before you at a banquet, or in being saluted, or in being invited to a consultation? If these things are good, you ought to rejoice that he has obtained them; but if bad, be not grieved because you have not obtained them.

A nice mental trick to avoid jealousy: if something is good, be happy for those who receive it. If not, be glad that you avoided it.

And remember that you cannot, if you do not the same things in order to obtain what is not in our own power, be considered worthy of the same things. For how can a man obtain an equal share with another when he does not visit a man's door as that oher man does; when he does not attend him when he goes abroad, as the other man does; when he does not praise him as another does? You will be unjust then and insatiable, if you do not part with the price, in return for which those things are sold, and if you wish to obtain them for nothing.

If someone is paying the social cost of attempting to secure externals (such as social standing) and you are not, it's unreasonable to expect that you would receive the same level of standing as they do.

Well, what is the price of lettuces? An obolus perhaps. If then a man gives up the obolus, and receives the lettuces, and if you do not give up the obolus and do not obtain the lettuces, do not suppose that you receive less than he who has got the lettuces; for as he has the lettuces, so you have the obolus which you did not give. In the same way then in the the other matter also you have not been invited to a man's feast, for you did not give to the host the price at which the supper is sold; but he sells it for praise, he seels it for personal attention. Give then the price, if it is for your interest, for which it is sold. But if you wish both not to give the price and to obtain the things, you are insatiable and silly.

This is a subtle extension of the previous statement. Not only can you not expect to receive when you have not paid, but you also retain something by witholding payment.

Have you nothing then in place of the supper? You have indeed, you have the not flattering of him, whom you did not choose to flatter; you have the not enduring of the man when he enters the room.

And what is it that you have? The dignity of being honest and true to yourself.

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