Tomatides and the Question of Good and Evil

   In ancient Sparta, Tomatides asked the question, "Are men, according to their ultimate nature,
purely good, or purely bad?" He was six years old when he asked this.
   His mother
replied, "It depends on what you mean. If by 'good' you mean always safe to be with,
habitually congenial, passive, agreeable, loving, forgiving, and forever obedient to religious and
secular laws, no, men are not good. But if you mean, while speaking entirely from the point of view
that men are biological organisms and therefore subject to the realities of pragmatic necessity, that
they are at least potentially capable surviving
and thriving, and that they consistently identify their
mortal enemies
correctly and defeat them, then yes, men can indeed be very good."
   She paused, then added, "Women are good too, although
we are not the same as men, for our
attributes and needs are different, and we are generally willing to do, therefore, whatever we perceive
may be required in fulfilling
the purposes to which only females are bound by duty to fulfill."
She turned to face the fire again and resumed stirring the clay pot in which her family's next meal
was cooking.
Tomatides concluded that her answer was entirely satisfactory, so he went outside and resumed
his games.
   This is why Sparta
is not famous for philosophers.
   They understood it is more beneficial for a man to engage in actions,
and not too much in

by Robert Hampton Burt
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