I went down another rabbit hole of reading Seneca’s Letters when I got to the seventh, On Crowds. It is a good one that speaks much of what is going on in the U.S. today. For example, this gem:
To consort with the crowd is harmful; there is no person who does not make some vice attractive to us, or stamp it upon us, or taint us unconsciously therewith. Certainly, the greater the mob with which we mingle, the greater the danger.
But unfortunately, this is not where I am going with today’s selection from the Stoic philosopher. Instead, my mind is on this piece that comes later in the letter:
Withdraw into yourself, as far as you can. Associate with those who will make a better man of you. Welcome those whom you yourself can improve. The process is mutual; for men learn while they teach.
Are you associating with those who will make you a better person? Are you giving back by making those around you better?
Today is a call for us to consider our “crowd.” They should elevate us to be better humans. We should return the favor and in doing so, one small drop in the world becomes a better place.
I especially love the last part of the above quote: for men learn while they teach. It might be one of the greatest ways to learn. It has helped me over the years. Ben Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” There is no better way of involvement than in being able to teach others.