16 Whoever strays from the path of prudence
comes to rest in the company of the dead.
17 Whoever loves pleasure will become poor;
whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.
A detour from prudence may promise opportunity, but the odds are on the side of regret. We tend to overestimate reward and underestimate risk, falsely assuming we will succeed where so many others have failed. But as many have found through experience, what has been done in imprudence is not easily undone. The promise of happiness turns into the misery of bondage, as bad habits, destructive relationships, and unpaid debts spiral out of control. Where is opportunity then? It has begun to wither away, and unless prudence is regained it will die.
“Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.” Without the protection of temperance, our relationship with pleasure and indulgence becomes abusive. The glutton loves these things, but it is a one way relationship. Pleasure demands more and more while giving less and less, overindulgence saps our resources and strength – leaving us with hangovers and debt. While temperance appears to oppose pleasure, it actually increases its enjoyment. Those who chase pleasure find that it runs from them, but healthy appetites are easily satisfied.