Having started up the blog again, at a really busy time of year, I find myself on ‘blog day’ with barely enough time to eat lunch, let alone write a post. So, friends, I’m going to dial it in today and leave you in the capable hands of another Stoic - Seneca.
I’ve been reading Seneca’s ‘Letters from a Stoic’ recently. I’m sorry to say that his words don’t quite hit the mark for me in the same way that Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations do. But I think that’s possibly because Seneca had his eye on eternal glory, he knew (or at least hoped) that his letters were for a wider audience, that his words might survive beyond himself. Marcus Aurelius wrote only for himself and as such I feel his words ring true, are not so thought out or, dare I say it?, slightly pompous. Sorry, Seneca. But, there are some gems, and here are my favourites so far:
When I need reminding of what I do:
“… part of my joy in learning is that it puts me in a position to teach; nothing, however outstanding and however helpful, will ever give me any pleasure if the knowledge is to be for my benefit alone. If wisdom were offered me on the one condition that I should keep it shut away and not divulge it to anyone, I should reject it. There is no enjoying the possession of anything valuable unless one has someone to share it with.”
When I need reminding of who it’s for:
“Equally good is the answer given by the person, whoever it was , who when asked what was the object of all the trouble he took over a piece of craftsmanship, when it would never reach more than a very few people, replied: ‘A few is enough for me; so is one; and so is none.’”
Something to spur me on to create:
“Assume authority yourself and utter something that may be handed down to posterity. Produce something from your own resources. This is why I look on people like this as a spiritless lot - the people who are forever acting as interpreters and never as creators, always lurking in someone else’s shadow. They never venture to do for themselves the things they have spent such a long time learning.” [ouch!]
Are there any quotes or passages from books that you turn to when you need to remind yourself of truths in your life? Who are the constant companions? What are the things you know, but need to hear on a regular basis?