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Promoting the Study of the Philosophy of Epicurus

Lucretius From Munco Overleaf

The Peril of “Blind Reason”

In further comment on role of “Reason” as a support, but not a standard of Truth, Lucretius here relates (from Book VI, line 59) that “blind reason” can deceive even those of us who have been taught correctly about the nature of the universe, if we allow ourselves to speculate “blindly” and follow the siren song of “reason” further than the senses, the Anticipations, and the pain/pleasure mechanism provide:

H.A.J. Munro:  “For they who have been rightly taught that the gods lead a life without care, if nevertheless they wonder on what plan all things can be carried on, above all in regard to those things which are seen overhead in the ethereal borders, are borne back again into their old religious scruples and take unto themselves hard taskmasters, whom they poor wretches believe to be almighty, not knowing what can, what cannot be, in short on what principle each thing has its powers defined, its deep set boundary mark; and therefore they are led all the farther astray by blind reason.”

Cyril Bailey:  “For those who have learnt aright that the gods lead a life free from care, yet if from time to time they wonder by what means all things can be carried on, above all among those things which are descried above our heads in the coasts of heaven, are borne back again into the old beliefs of religion, and adopt stern overlords, whom in their misery they believe have all power, knowing not what can be and what cannot, yea, and in what way each thing has its power limited, and its deepset boundary-stone: wherefore all the more they stray, borne on by a blind reasoning.”

M. F. Smith:   “For even those who have rightly learned that the gods lead lives free from care may wonder how all things can be carried on, especially the phenomena above their heads in the ethereal regions, and then they relapse to the old superstitions and subject themselves to cruel tyrants whom they believe, poor fools, to be omnipotent, in their ignorance of what can be and what cannot. and again by what law each thing has its scope restricted and its deeply implanted boundary stone.  So they are led further and further astray by their blind reasoning.”