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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

On Crowds

"10 In order, however, that I may not today have learned exclusively for myself, I shall share with you three excellent sayings, of the same general purport, which have come to my attention. This letter will give you one of a The remark is addressed to the brutalized spectators. 15 them as payment of my debt; the other two you may accept as a contribution in advance. Democritusa says: “One man means as much to me as a multitude, and a multitude only as much as one man.” 11 The following also was nobly spoken by someone or other, for it is doubtful who the author was; they asked him what was the object of all this study applied to an art that would reach but very few. He replied: “I am content with few, content with one, content with none at all.” The third saying – and a noteworthy one, too – is by Epicurus, written to one of the partners of his studies: “I write this not for the many, but for you; each of us is enough of an audience for the other.” 12 Lay these words to heart, Lucilius, that you may scorn the pleasure which comes from the applause of the majority. Many men praise you; but have you any reason for being pleased with yourself, if you are a person whom the many can understand? Your good qualities should face inwards."Seneca, Moral Letters to Lucilius, V11: On Crowds

I write this not for the many, but for you; each of us is enough of an audience for the other.  I am struck with how much the exhibitions of Rome remind me of our modern society.  The pursuit of the latest and greatest TV show becomes the "sport of the day".  The need for crowds of people to be submerged in due to the fear of being alone with oneself.

After a day out in society I retreat to my oasis of calm, my home. I am somewhat lost for words this morning.  I will write some more this evening when I return back to my oasis.  I am reminded of yesterday's reading, the need to share joy, wisdom, etc. and I am reminded of the need for balance.  I must balance both of these letters and see what meaning I derive from them.

I am back in my pleasant living room and I think I have wrestled the two of these letters beside each other.  Once again I am left with balance, balance is the key in all things.  I will continue to teach what I have learned, write in my blog and offer workshops when the opportunity arises.  I will try to ensure that I only choose the best sorts of past times, avoiding the crass and violent that is prevalent in our society.