Some friendships are timeless
One may argue that dedicating time for reading philosophy makes way for more time to feel alive in our lives. Let’s, of course, take that with a grain of salt, because reading without experiencing, transcending knowledge and connecting with the world may not serve you the fullest benefit. As Seneca puts it: “…Making time for reading philosophy is not only a way to keep a good watch over your own lifetime, but also a way to annex every age to yours. All the years that have passed before you are added to your own. Unless we are very ungrateful, all those distinguished founders of holy creeds were born for us and prepared for us a way of life. By the toil of others we are led into the presence of things which have been brought from darkness into light. We are excluded from no age, but we have access to them all; and if we are prepared in loftiness of mind to pass beyond the narrow confines of human weakness [limited consciousness], there is a long period of time through which we can roam. We can argue with Socrates, express doubt with Carneades, cultivate retirement with Epicurus, and overcome human nature with the Stoics.” Philosophers are our timeless friends.
“Since nature allows us to enter into a partnership with every age, why not turn from this brief and transient spell of time and give ourselves wholeheartedly to the past, which is limitless and eternal and can be shared with better men than we?
“You should rather suppose that those are involved in worthwhile duties who wish to have daily as their closest friends Zeno, Pythagoras, Democritus and all the other high priests of liberal studies, and Aristotle and Theophrastus. None of these will be too busy to see you, none of these will allow anyone to depart empty-handed. They are at home to all mortals by night and by day.
None of these will force you to die, but all will teach you how to die. None of them will exhaust your years, but each will contribute his years to yours. With none of these will conversation be dangerous, or his friendship fatal, or attendance on him expensive. From them you can take whatever you wish: it will not be their fault if you do not take your fill from them.
What happiness, what a fine old age awaits the man who has made himself a client of these! He will have friends whose advice he can ask on the most important or the most trivial matters, whom he can consult daily about himself, who will tell him the truth without insulting him and praise him without flattery, who will offer him a pattern on which to model himself. We are in the habit of saying that it was not in our power to choose the parents who were allotted to us, that they were given to us by chance. But we can choose whose children we would like to be.”
Check out your local bookstore, friendship awaits…
Shout out to Elan Lutinger for coming up with a clever title for this blog post.
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