Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XIII: Of Greed - The Spiritual Physick
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CHAPTER XIII: Of Greed - Rhazes, The Spiritual Physick 
The Spiritual Physic of Rhazes, trans. Arthur J. Arberry (London: John Murray, 1950).
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Greed and gluttony are among those evil dispositions that afterwards yield pain and mischief. For not only do they bring upon a man the contempt and vilification of his fellows; they land him with indigestion into the bargain, and that leads on to all sorts of very serious ailments.
Greed is generated out of the force of the appetitive soul; when this is reinforced and assisted by blindness of the rational soul—in other words lack of shame—it becomes apparent and revealed in addition. This too is a sort of following after passion; it is brought on and stimulated by picturing the pleasure of tasting the food one is about to eat. I have been told of a greedy man who one day fell upon a variety of foods with extreme gluttony and greed; when he was full and his sides were bursting, and he could not touch a single scrap more, he broke into tears. Questioned as to the reason for his weeping, he replied that it was because he was unable, as he averred, to eat any of the things before him. Again I remember I was eating once with a certain man in Baghdad, and a huge quantity of dates was put before us. I refrained from taking more than a moderate amount, but he persevered until he had very nearly finished the lot. When he was full and had given over eating, I noticed that he was goggling at the remainder as they were removed from the table; and so I asked him whether his soul was satisfied and his appetite assuaged. He answered, “I only wish I could be in my former state again, and this plate be put before us right now!” I said to him, “If the pain and gnawing of desire have not left you even now, would it not be better to refrain before you are full, so as to relieve yourself at least of the heaviness and distention of being replete? The indigestion which you cannot be sure of not suffering is bound to bring upon you ailments that will be many, many times more painful for you than the pleasure you had in what you have taken.” I saw that he understood my meaning, and that my words went home and did him good; and upon my life, such reasoning as this satisfies those who have not been trained in the discipline of philosophy, more than arguments based on philosophic principles.
This is because the man who believes that the appetitive soul is united with the rational soul only in order that it may supply this body, which serves the rational soul as an instrument and an implement, with sufficient to keep it alive for the period required by the rational soul to acquire knowledge of this world—such a man will always suppress the appetitive soul and prevent it from obtaining food above a modest adequacy. For he takes the view that the object and purpose of feeding in created beings is not enjoyment but survival, which cannot be secured without food. This is illustrated by the story of the philosopher who was eating with a youth wholly undisciplined. The latter expressed surprise at the small amount the philosopher was taking, saying among other things, “If my whack of food was only as much as yours, I would not care whether I was alive or not.” The philosopher replied, “That is quite true, my son. I eat in order that I may live, whereas you only want to live in order that you may eat.”
As for the man who sees no harm on religious or theoretical grounds in filling himself and taking as much food as possible, he should nevertheless be held back from doing so by the argument about balancing the pleasure so enjoyed against the consequent pain, as we have explained before. We would also add that since it is inevitable that the food which gives so much pleasure must be denied the eater in the end, it behoves the intelligent man to put forward the moment, before the situation arises where he cannot be sure of not being involved in evil consequences. For if he does not do this, he will lose and not gain at all, by exposing himself to pain and sickness: that is how he may lose, while his failure to gain is evidenced by the fact, that the mortification of being denied the pleasure of eating is in any case bound to overtake him some time. And if he departs from this rule or inclines in the opposite direction, let him be aware that he has dethroned his reason in favour of his passion.
Greed and gluttony are characterized besides by a great voracity and wolfishness; if they are indulged and given their head, this element becomes extremely strong and it proves difficult to rid the soul of it, whereas if they are restrained and suppressed it grows weak and faint and feeble as time goes on, and finally disappears altogether. The poet says: