The Daily Stoic for September 15th, “A Garden Is Not For Show”.
“First practice not letting people know who you are—keep your philosophy to yourself for a bit. In just the manner that fruit is produced—the seed buried for a season, hidden, growing gradually so it may come to full maturity. But if the grain sprouts before the stalk is fully developed, it will never ripen. . . . That is the kind of plant you are, displaying fruit too soon, and the winter will kill you.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 4.8.35b–37
Curiously enough, I find today’s stoic meditation completely unrelated with the quote from Epictetus. To a point where I disagree with the latter, but fully agree with the former.
But let me explain…
A Garden Is Not For Show
Today’s Epictetus quote is actually quite the opposite of what I believe is the right way of approaching something new. Instead of keeping it to yourself, it’s great to share it with other people. The process of learning is a beautiful shared experience, as long as you don’t try to understand everything up front and indoctrinate others.
Maturity also comes not by digesting one or more books on your own. Discussing and sharing ideas is a fundamental part of the process in my opinion.
However, today’s stoic meditation affirms:
“After all you’ve read, it might be tempting to think: This stuff is great. I get it. I’m a Stoic. But it’s not that easy. Just because you agree with the philosophy doesn’t mean the roots have fully taken hold in your mind.”
I completely agree, first of all, because I doubt I can agree 100% with the Stoic philosophy (or any other philosophy for that matter). Secondly, because I don’t think any book contains the absolute truth about anything or makes you wiser than the rest of the world.
So yes, I agree. Reading a book and starting to quote things like you knew something the rest of the world ignores does not make you wiser or smarter… it actually makes you look like a jerk.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “A Garden Is Not For Show”, contains a wise reflection supported by a quote of Epictetus I cannot agree with. What I learned today: be humble, don’t think you understand everything just by reading a book.