“Taming the wind in the winter.”
(2.53) Who, therefore, thinks of costly purple garments? Who cares about transparent and thin summer robes? Who wishes for a garment delicate as a spider’s web? Who is eager to have embroidered for him apparel flowered over with dyes and brocaded figures, by those who are skilful in sewing and weaving cunning embroidery, and are superior in their handwork to the imitative skill of the painter? Who, I say? Who, but vain opinion.
VIII. (2.54) And, indeed, it is for the same reasons that we had need of houses, requiring them also for protection against the attacks of wild beasts, or of men more savage in their nature than even wild beasts. Why is it, then, that we adorn the pavements and floors with costly stones? And why do we travel over Asia, and Africa, and all Europe, and the islands, searching for pillars and capitals, and architraves, and selecting them with reference to their superior beauty? (2.55) And why are we anxious for, and why do we vie with one another in specimens of Doric, and Ionic, and Corinthian sculpture, and in all the refinements which luxurious men have devised in addition to the existing customs, adorning the capitals of their pillars? And why do we furnish our chambers for men and for women with golden ornaments? Is it not all from our being influenced by vain opinion? (2.56) And yet, for sound sleep, the mere ground was sufficient (since, even to the present day, the accounts tell us that the gymnosophists, among the Indians, sleep on the ground in accordance with their ancient customs); and if it were not, at all events a couch made of carefully chosen stones or plain pieces of wood, would be a sufficient bed; (2.57) but now the poles of our ladders are ornamented with ivory feet, and workmen inlay our beds with costly mother-of-pearl and variegated tortoise-shell, at great expense of labour, and money, and time: and some beds are even made of solid silver or solid gold, and inlaid with precious stones, with all kinds of flowery work, and embossed golden ornaments strewed about them, as if for mere display and magnificence, and not for daily use. The contriver of all which is again the same vain opinion. (2.58) Again: why need we seek for more in the way of ointment than the juice pressed out of the fruit of the olive? For that softens the limbs, and relieves the labour of the body, and produces a good condition of the flesh; and if anything has got relaxed or flabby, it binds it again, and makes it firm and solid, and it fills us with vigour and strength of muscle, no less than any other unguent. (2.59) But the pleasant unguents of vain opinion, are set up in opposition to those that are merely useful, on which the perfumers work, and to which vast regions contribute, such as Syria, Babylon, the Indians, and the Scythians; in which nations the origins of all perfumes are found.