Your Occasional Stoic — Crime of Pleasure, Crimes of Passion

In comparing crimes together, as, according to the common idea, they may be compared, Theophrastus makes the true philosophical distinction — that those committed from motives of pleasure are more heinous than those which are due to passion. For he who is a prey to passion is clearly turned away from reason by some spasm and convulsion that takes him unawares. But he who sins from desire is conquered by pleasure, and so seems more incontinent and weaker in his vice.

Justly then, and in a truly philosophical spirit, he says that sin, for pleasure’s sake, is more wicked than sin which is due to pain. For the latter sinner was sinned against, and driven to passion by his wrongs, while the former set out to sin of his own volition, and was led into ill-doing by his own lust.

Meditations 2:10

marcus-aurelius

Theophrastus, a Greek native of Eresos in Lesbos, was the successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school.

This is an odd one from the meditations because its merely a citation to another thinker without any explicit commentary. Perhaps Marcus was trying to remind himself? Why? Was he struggling with crime of his own?

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