GENERAL VIEWS ON LIFE
Sosicrates, in his Successions, relates that, having been asked by Leon, the tyrant of the Phliasians, who he was, replied, “A philosopher.” He adds that Pythagoras used to compare life to a festival. “And as some people come to the festival to contend for the prizes, and others for the purpose of traffic, and the best as spectators, so also in life the men of slavish dispositions are born hunters after glory and covetousness; but philosophers are seekers after the truth.” Thus he spoke on this subject. But in the three treatises above mentioned the following principles are laid down by Pythagoras.
He forbids men to pray for anything in particular for themselves, because they do not know what is good for them. He calls drunkenness an expression identical with ruin, and rejects all superfluity, saying, “That no one ought to exceed the proper quantity of meat and drink.” On the subject of venereal pleasures, he writes thus: “One ought to sacrifice to Venus in the winter, not in the summer; and in autumn and spring in a lesser degree. But the practice is pernicious at every season and is never good for the health.” And once, when he was asked when a man might indulge in the pleasures of love, he replied, “Whenever you wish to be weaker than yourself."