Robert Blake is back in the news, which fact justifies, as if justification is needed, a re-post from 18 May 2011.
Epicurus (circa 341-271 B.C.) wrote the following to a disciple:
I understand from you that your natural disposition is too much
inclined toward sexual passion. Follow your inclinations as you
will provided only that you neither violate the laws, disturb
well-established customs, harm any one of your neighbors, injure
your own body, nor waste your possessions. That you be not checked
by some one of these provisos is impossible; for a man never gets
any good from sexual passion, and he is fortunate if he does not
receive harm. (Italics added, Letters, Principal Doctrines, Vatican
Sayings, trans. R. M. Geer, Macmillan, 1987, pp. 69-70)
Had Bill Clinton heeded this advice, kept his penis in harness, and his paws off the overweight intern, he might have left office with an impressive legacy indeed. But instead he will schlep down the centuries tied to Monica like Abelard to Heloise -- except for the fact that he got off a lot easier than poor Abelard.
Closer to home is the case of Robert Blake whose lust led him into a tender trap that turned deadly. He was very lucky to be acquitted of the murder of Bonnie Lee Bakeley. Then there was the case of the dentist whose extramural activities provoked his dentist wife to run him down with the family Mercedes. The Bard had it right: "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."
Most recently, Dominique Strauss-Kahn has secured himself a place in the annals of libertinage while wrecking his career. Ah, those sophisticated Frenchmen.
This litany of woe can be lengthened ad libitum. My motive is not Schadenfreude, but a humble desire to learn from the mistakes of others. Better that they rather than I should pay my tuition in the school of Hard Knocks. Heed me, muchachos, there is no more delusive power on the face of the earth than sex. Or as a Turkish proverb has it, Erkegin sheytani kadindir, "Man's devil is woman." And conversely.