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Best choices are not those of the greatest number

Best choices are not those of the greatest number Best choices are not those of the greatest number
Source : Artist unknown via Pinterest
On the Happy Life
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On the Happy Life
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So here is the first imperative: let us beware of following, like sheep, the herd of those who go before us, going not where we should go, but simply where others go. For nothing leads to greater misfortune than to conform to public rumor, believing that the best choices are those of the greatest number, to allow ourselves to be led by the multiplicity of examples - this because we live not according to reason but in a spirit of imitation. Hence the enormous crowd of people rushing at each other. What happens in a big stampede, when the crowd crashes into itself (those panics where no one falls without dragging someone else down and where the first ones cause the loss of the following ones), you can see it happening in life in general: no one falls into error by harming only himself. One is the cause, one is responsible for the mistakes of others.

It is therefore harmful to follow in the footsteps of those who precede us. As everyone prefers to believe rather than judge, when it comes to life, we never judge, we always believe. We are carried away in a whirlwind, thrown down a precipice by an error passed from hand to hand. We die from the examples of others; we will heal only if we distinguish ourselves from the crowd. But the truth is that the crowd stands up for its own evil. That is why what happens in the Centuriate Assembly (1) happens, where the very electors of the praetors (2)  are astonished to see them elected when the fickle popularity has turned: we approve the very things we had disapproved of; this is the fate of any judgment given by a majority of votes.

When we come to the subject of the happy life, do not answer me as in those votes where one leans towards the most numerous: "This party seems to gather the most votes", because it is precisely for this reason that it is the most doubtful. Human affairs are not of such a nature, alas, that the best choices please the greatest number; and the proof of the worst is the crowd.

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