As the First Age wore on, those who were better circumstanced gave in to lassitude. Lassitude gave rise to indolence, indolence created the need for the accumulation of goods, accumulation necessitated acquisition, the spirit of acquisition engendered greed. All this came to pass long ago, in the First Age.Thereafter, the bodies of human beings failing to receive sustenance as before from the progressively deteriorating quality of food and afflicted by the heat and wind, soon succumbed to the attacks of fevers and other diseases. Thus, there was a gradual decline in the span enjoyed by successive generations.
Thereafter, in the Second Age greed brought malice in its wake; malice led to falsehood; falsehood let loose lust, anger, vanity, hatred, cruelty, aggression, fear, affliction, grief, anxiety, distress and the like. Consequently, in the Second Age, virtue found itself deprived of a quarter of its plenitude. From this quarterly loss in virtue, there followed a similar deterioration in the duration of the succeeding Age and in the beneficent power of the Earth. It is in consequence of this deterioration that there took place a corresponding deterioration in the sap, purity and potency of herbs.