Cicero and the utility of the human beings for human beings. Reading notes

Worship and purity of character will win the favour of the gods; and next to the gods, and a close second to them, men can be most helpful to men

Cicero, De Officiis, II, 11. In the edition Loeb that I have.

Videos placatos pietas efficiet et sanctitas, proxime autem et secundum deos men hominibus maxime useful esse posunt

And the same text in its original Latin, according to the same edition

By the way that Cicero (who writes this text as it flees from those who pursue him) knew very well that human beings may well be the worst damage on each other (and says so explicitly in (II, 16). But what I want to emphasize is that human life is human only through others, that it becomes possible only among others.

One can find traces of this idea in other authors (Spinoza, by the way, and now that I’m reading the Persian Letters of Montesquieu, there too), but modernity in general has operated since the opposite assumption, that human beings are wolves to each other (Hobbes); or in general, the social life what that does is to limit and oppress the individual and to the people (Touraine has emphasized that in recent years, to show that this is not an attitude exclusive to the angry liberal).

The social life is problematic in modern thought, and it does not ceases to be something strange. And is among the reasons why, despite all the admiration for the classical world, modernity is very far from it. Indeed, as we have stressed Castoriadis, Arendt, or Agamben, the modern world is not the world of the city of the classical civilization, neither has she as a paradigm.

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