Friday, November 27, 2015




The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.

~ Epictetus (55-135 AD)

14 comments:

  1. Which is to say, surround yourself only members of the tribe, those who will faithfully remain in the fold.

    Humankind remains yet today as tribal as it ever was.

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    Replies
    1. A cynical, divisive, frankly perverse interpretation!

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    2. A dear and familiar person who ritually approves of everything you think and do regardless of its merit or intrinsic value is hardly a person who will uplift you. He might even function as your worst enemy.

      Constructive criticism and challenges may enrich us, therefore, be eminently worthwhile, –– but only if they are proffered and administered with love.

      In an ideal society there would be no room for insolence, belligerence, withering scorn or sarcasm.

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    3. There is nothing you said one can disagree . It is, as it should be.

      But, given observable reality, would you not agree there is some truth in my first statement?

      The pursuit of the ideal is of course admirable and even necessary. Achievement will likely remain elusive.

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    4. Of course there is truth in your first statement. I just did not feel it was in harmony with Epictetus's admonition. Ideals may be unattainable, but any time not spent in earnest pursuit of the ideal drives us us farther from it.

      Many find it disappointing –– even annoying –– that I am not in love with argument for argument's sake. Instead, I much prefer amity, comity, harmony and consensus.

      I do not deny that healthy debate has a significant role to play –– in the legislature, the court room, the town hall meeting and the board room, but rarely-if-ever in polite society –– and especially not on holiday weekends. ;-)

      A disputatious temperament betrays a restless, often captious disposition –– possibly even a soul in torment. Not qualities one finds desirable in a dinner guest, for weekend companionship or other recreational pursuits.

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    5. Human relationships always help us to carry on because they always presuppose further developments, a future --and also because we live as if our only task was precisely to have relationships with other people.

      Albert Camus (1913-1960)

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    6. That's not what exactly Epictetus meant by that, though one could certainly see how it can be inferred or used for such aims.

      He was just warning against keeping the company of unpleasant people.

      Of course, this is as relative and subjective as it gets, as was Epictetus. He was sort of an early adherent to Chaos Theory.

      JMJ

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  2. Even if the man is your enemy. For his very presence is an exhortation to virtue.

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    Replies
    1. How could a sworn enemy call forth anyone's best?

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    2. Confronting evil is not a virtue? Then what is "courage"?

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    3. I do love Shakespeare's Coriolanus. :)

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    4. It's a bad road you guys are treading there.

      JMJ

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  3. Good music always seeks harmony, but requires much dissonance to achieve it. The defining aspect of great music lies in the dissonances with which the composer chooses to deal, and the inventive ways it seeks to resolve them.

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