Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER X: Of Miserliness - The Spiritual Physick
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CHAPTER X: Of Miserliness - Rhazes, The Spiritual Physick 
The Spiritual Physic of Rhazes, trans. Arthur J. Arberry (London: John Murray, 1950).
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This disposition cannot be described as wholly due to passion. For we find some people are prompted to be tight-fisted and careful with their possessions by excessive fear of poverty and a far-sighted consideration of the consequences, as well as an extreme caution in taking measures against misfortunes and hardships. Others on the contrary take pleasure in keeping things to themselves purely for its own sake. Thus we may observe how some boys are entirely lacking in thought and prudence, and give away all they possess to their playmates, while other boys are quite miserly.
It is therefore necessary to combat this disposition when it springs merely out of passion: this diagnosis is confirmed when one asks a person what reason he has for holding on to his possessions and he cannot find any clear and acceptable argument proving a coherent excuse, but answers in a botchy and patched-up manner with much confusion and repetition. I once asked a tight-fisted man why he behaved in that way, and his response was of the kind I have described. I then proceeded to show him how bad his answer was, and that he had no real reason for being so mean. I did not demand of him that he should give away money in a manner he would notice, much less that he should ruin himself or disburse more than he could readily afford. The end of the matter was that he said to me, “That is what I want, that is how I would like to do.” So I made him realize that he had turned aside from the arbitrament of reason to follow his passion, since the excuses he had adopted could not affect either his actual circumstances or his prudence and security and his consideration for the future.
That is the degree of this disposition that requires to be amended, so that passion may not be allowed to consort freely with it: namely, to be miserly over what cannot effect a catastrophic decline in one’s present circumstances, or render it difficult or impossible for one to achieve the fortune one aims at attaining. When however a man has a clear and valid excuse on one or other of these grounds, or on both, his canniness is not the result of passion but is due to reason and deliberation, and it ought not to be abolished but increased and confirmed. Still, not every canny person is free to advance the second of these arguments. When a man has despaired, for all his caution, of achieving a higher or more important position than that which he already holds—if for instance he is at the end of his life, or if he has attained the furthest advancement open to his like—in such an event he cannot rest his case at all on the second line of reasoning.