The pain and pang felt at the death of a son has in itself good cause to awaken grief, which is only natural, and over it we have no control. For I, for my part, cannot concur with those who extol that harsh and callous indifference, which is both impossible and unprofitable.5 For this will rob us of the kindly feeling which comes from mutual affection and which above all else we must conserve. But to be carried beyond all bounds and to help in exaggerating our griefs I say is contrary to nature, and results from our depraved ideas. Therefore this also must be dismissed as injurious and depraved and most unbecoming to right-minded men, but a moderate indulgence in grief is not to be disapproved. ‘Pray that we be not ill,’ says Crantor 6 of the Academy, ‘but if we be ill, pray that sensation be left us, whether one of our members be cut off or torn out.’ For this insensibility to pain 7 is attained by man only at a great price; for in the former case, we may suppose, it is the body which has been brutalized into such insensibility, but in the latter case the soul.
Plutarch, Moralia, ed. Frank Cole Babbitt, vol. 2 (Medford, MA: Harvard University Press, 1928), 111–113.