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When all is equally agitated, nothing appears to be agitated, as in a
ship. When all tend to debauchery, none appears to do so. He who stops draws
attention to the excess of others, like a fixed point.
383. The licentious tell men of orderly lives that they stray from nature's
path, while they themselves follow it; as people in a ship think those move
who are on the shore. On all sides the language is similar. We must have a
fixed point in order to judge. The harbour decides for those who are in a
ship; but where shall we find a harbour in morality?
384. Contradiction is a bad sign of truth; several things which are certain
are contradicted; several things which are false pass without contradiction.
Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the want of contradiction a sign
385. Scepticism.--Each thing here is partly true and partly false. Essential
truth is not so; it is altogether pure and altogether true. This mixture
dishonours and annihilates it. Nothing is purely true, and thus nothing is
true, meaning by that pure truth. You will say it is true that homicide is
wrong. Yes; for we know well the wrong and the false. But what will you say
is good? Chastity? I say no; for the world would come to an end. Marriage?
No; continence is better