SLRP: LXXXVIII. On Studies (Part 2: 9-15)



“Now I will transfer my attention to the musician. You, sir, are teaching me how the treble and the bass are in accord with one another, and how, though the strings produce different notes, the result is a harmony; rather bring my soul into harmony with itself, and let not my purposes be out of tune. You are showing me what the doleful keys are; show me rather how, in the midst of adversity, I may keep from uttering a doleful note.”

As someone who has been learning two musical instruments, I can appreciate this metaphor.  I don’t know much music theory, and can’t read music, so I’ve been learning aurally, and by playing with others.  It’s not been easy for me to do, but I enjoy it, and it’s teaching patience, concerted and longitudinal effort, and more besides.  Music seems like a fine indifferent hobby for the philosopher.

It’s interesting that you seem also to see the value in the music for one inclined to introspecting, and to contrast that with the practical skills which get put to use in the world.  Bean counting doesn’t not seem to be in high esteem for you.

I look forward to your next letter.


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

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