XLII. (173) But if, like persons before a court of justice, one must bring forward not only such proofs as are in accordance with the rules of art, but those too which have no connection with art, one of which is proof by testimony, we will then produce many sons of physicians and philosophers of high repute to give evidence, not by words alone, but also by writings. (174) For they have left behind ten thousand commentaries entitled treatises on drunkenness; in which they consider nothing beyond the bare use of wine, without pursuing any investigation with respect to those who are accustomed to behave foolishly in their cups, and in fact omitting every thing which has reference to conduct under the influence of wine; so that it is very plainly confessed in their writings that drunkenness is the same as drinking wine freely. And to drink a superabundant quantity of wine on proper occasions is not unsuitable to a wise man; therefore we shall not be wrong if we say that a wise man may get drunk. (175) But since no one is ever inscribed on the rolls as a conqueror if he has contended by himself alone, for if he does this he appears only to be fighting with a shadow, and very naturally too; it follows that we must also produce the arguments of those who contend for the opposite side of the question, that by this means a most just judgment may be formed, and that the other side of the question may not be decided against through default. (176) And the first and the most powerful argument is this: if no one in his senses would entrust a secret which he wished to be kept to a drunken man, then a good and wise man will not get drunk. But before we collect all the other arguments in their order, it may be better to reply to each objection separately, in order that we may not appear to be too prolix, and consequently to be troublesome. (177) Some one then will say in opposition that, according to the argument that has been advanced, the wise man must never have a bilious attack, and never go to sleep, and above all must never die. But he to whom some of these things happens is either an inanimate being or a divine one; but beyond all question he is not a man at all. Imitating this perversion of the arguments, one may apply it equally to a bilious man, or to a sleeping man, or to a dying man; for no one in his senses would tell a secret to a man in any of these conditions, but it would be reasonable for him to tell it to a wise man, for the wise man is never bilious, never goes to sleep, and never dies.


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