XVI. On which account we have been compelled to have recourse to such signs as are given by the voices, that is nouns and verbs, which ought by all means to be universally known, in order that our neighbours might clearly and evidently comprehend our meaning; and, in the next place, to utter them at all times with truth. (121) For of what advantage would it be to make our assertions clear and distinct, but nevertheless false? For it follows inevitably that if this were allowed the hearer would be deceived, and would reap the greatest possible injury with ignorance and delusion. For what would be the advantage of my speaking to a boy distinctly and clearly, and telling him, when I show him the letter A, that it is G, or that the letter E is O? Or what would be the good of a musician pointing out to a pupil whom comes to him to learn the rudiments of his art that the harmonic scale was the chromatic; or the chromatic, the diatonic; or that the highest string was the middle one; or that conjoined sounds were separated; or that the highest tone in the tetrachord scale was a supernumerary note? (122) No doubt, a man who said this might speak clearly and distinctly, but he would not be speaking truly, but by such assertions he would be implanting wickedness in language. But when he joins both distinctness and truth, then he makes his language profitable to him who is seeking information, employing both its virtues, which in fact are nearly the only ones of which language is capable.
XLII. (123) Moses, therefore, says that discreet discourse, having its own peculiar virtues, is placed on the breast of Aaron, that is to say, of anger, in order that it may in the first instance be guided by reason, and may not be injured by its own deficiency in reason, and, in the second place, by distinctness, for there is no natural influence which makes anger a friend to distinctness. At all events, not only are the ideas of angry men, but all their expressions also, full of disorder and confusion, and therefore it is very natural for the want of clearness on the part of anger to be rectified by clearness, (124) and, in addition, by truth; for, among other things, anger has also this particular property of being inclined to misrepresent the truth. At all events, of all those who give way to this disposition scarcely any one speaks the strict truth, as if it were his soul and not his body that is under the influence of its intoxication. These, then, are the chief remedies suitable for that part of the soul which is influenced by anger, namely, reason, disinterestedness of language, and truth of language, for the three things are in power only one, namely, reason, curing anger, which is a pernicious disease of the soul, by means of the virtues truth and perspicuity.