SLRP: VII. On Crowds, Part 1



At first blush, the “entertainments” of Rome seem far removed from the life of the average westerner.  We’ve safely hidden away violence and death, wars are fought “elsewhere,” and they even hide the dead in hospitals.

My people have no stomach for such things.

Yet, I started to think about it a bit more.  Maybe, your entertainments, as bestial as they are, are more honest.  Instead, we write our gossip large.  Shown on billboards, printed in magazines made for such rumors; we broadcast it to every corner of the globe.  This celebrity’s drug habit, this other one’s sexual proclivities and vices, this one’s adultery, and that one’s lies.  This one’s vain surgery, that one’s shocking revelation.  Click to find out!

Maybe there’s something more honest in the butchery of flesh than the butchery of character?

Your comments on the crowd and on retreats are in line with my own thoughts, which, if you’ll pardon the slight, has caused me a second thought.

How do we balance our personal desire for retreat with our obligations and social roles?  What use is the philosopher and all his goodness if it needs protected from the world?  If it needs protected from the outside, how good is it really?

Instead, shouldn’t the goodness of the philosopher be used to mix with the world?  Maybe make it better, or at least to show another way by example?

I admit, I’m hoping for the answer, “No.  Retire to the mountains with your books.”

But that’s probably not the virtuous answer.


Part of Michel Daw’s Reading Plan of Seneca’s Letters.

One thought on “SLRP: VII. On Crowds, Part 1

  1. “I admit, I’m hoping for the answer, ‘No. Retire to the mountains with your books.’ ” So do I, my friend. Sometimes, I pear over the Garden Wall at Epicurus and his cohorts and wonder if I could be invited in, if only for a brief respite from the constant barrage of the ever present Anti-Social Media… But no, loins need girding, and the lost need light (Seneca, Letter 48:8). Once more unto breach, dear friends, once more (Henry V, Act 3, Scene 1).

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