This episode explores the psychology of sharing and over-sharing; understanding and cultivating true friendship; how to use your own eyes rather than society’s rulebook; and how to judge which role models are genuinely worth emulating.
Countless thousands of people have turned to Stoicism as a tool for self-development, but how do we even start improving ourselves without shunning aspects we don’t like: you can’t cut off your arm and not injure yourself in the process.
And how can we improve ourselves when the wisest philosophers we’ve had can’t even agree whether a ‘self’ exists at all? Dre breaks down the biology and psychology of this, while Jon highlights the powerful but often-ignored parallels between Stoicism and Buddhism.
What is modern friendship, in the hyper-connected yet strangely cold world of social media? Jon explains what ‘contextual friendships’ are and why we shouldn’t value (or dismiss) them too quickly.
In this letter, Seneca asks what the point of learning is if we don’t share that knowledge with others, but this prompts us to ask what are the limits of sharing? Where’s the line between sharing life and experience and simply dumping your baggage on everyone else around you?
We dig into where the healthy balance lies; why American culture over-shares and yet reaps unexpected benefits from doing so; and how watching The Lion King taught Dre a fundamental lesson in personal confidence.
Humans are pattern-recognition machines, but society teaches us to switch off those skills and read the cultural rulebook instead. So how often are you wasting time grumbling about how things ought to be, rather than working on the evidence before your own eyes?
Jon shares personal stories of how some of the smartest professors in Oxford are utterly dysfunctional as humans; Dre drops the bombshell that RuPaul has been quoting Seneca for years; and we both unpack the reality behind our own friendship and why it’s so strong even though we spend most of the time vehemently disagreeing with each other.
- Does self-improvement mean not accepting yourself for who you are?
- Are we ever friends with people who aren’t like us?
- Can we enjoy things without other people to share them with?
- Radical Honesty: the life philosophy that can get you laid and get you ostracised in the same hour
- The cardinal law: Show, don’t tell; Experience, don’t read
- Learning from someone’s character rather than their words
- Dre’s theory on why emotions are overrated and misleading
Find Out More:
- Like us on Facebook to ask for the Audible download code for Seneca’s letters
- The full text for free on WikiSource
- Ryan Holiday’s superb and accessible book on Stoicism: The Obstacle is the Way
- Tim Ferriss’s brilliant TED talk on ‘fear setting’ and Stoicism
- Esther Perel’s hugely popular TED talks on relationships and infidelity