Riffing on Letter 35 from Seneca (‘On the Friendship of Kindred Minds’), this one takes us deep into the nature of human connections and how we can find true love and true friendship.
Seneca’s decided that Lucilius just isn’t keeping up – he’s not ready to become a true friend – an equal – of Seneca’s, and Seneca is growing restless. He urges his mentee to get his shit together and focus so that they can finally talk as companions.
Even outside the mentor-pupil relationship, this is something we’ve all experienced.
Have you been in a relationship, or even a friendship, where you’ve felt that despite all the common ground and mutual understanding, there’s still a blockage to true connection? Maybe the other person hasn’t experienced enough in life yet to be able to see things from your vantage point; maybe they’ve hardened their opinions to the point of dogma and what seemed like a harmonic growing between you keeps scraping through a distressing discord?
But is Seneca going about this the right way? When is telling someone they’re not ‘on your level’ an encouragement rather than an emotional (and ineffective) attack? We think there’s better ways to negotiate these situations than a grumpy letter from a lonely old man.
This short letter leads us into a lot of deep and important parts of the human mind and how we connect (or don’t) with other people. It touches on relationships, idealising others, the differences between friendship and love, and how our memories can keep us captive instead of teaching us lessons.
- Is an acorn better than an oak tree?
- Why crazy people might be smarter than the rest of us
- Working on yourself before you can truly connect with others
- Finding steadiness and direction
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- The full text for free on WikiSource
- The offensive video Dre was alluding to
Be Silly. Be Kind. Be Weird.