The Daily Stoic for August 12th, “Make The Words Your Own”.
“Many words have been spoken by Plato, Zeno, Chrysippus, Posidonius, and by a whole host of equally excellent Stoics. I’ll tell you how people can prove their words to be their own—by putting into practice what they’ve been preaching.”
—SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 108.35; 38
Today’s daily stoic meditation encourages us to take all of the words of the great philosophers and use them to your own liking. I don’t think there’s a shortage of that these days. In my view, what we need is a little more of our own words, and a little less of making someone else’s words our own.
Make The Words Your Own
Have a look at any Instagram account on business development, inspiration, coaching, philosophy, self-improvement or -yes- stoicism. You will find lots of people using the same quotes over and over again. Ad nauseam.
A quick search of “stoicism” on Instagram, for example, will show you hundreds of accounts posting quotes from Seneca and Marcus Aurelius on top of a bust background. I mean, that’s ok, but what are you adding to the discussion?
And don’t get me wrong, I know that nothing is completely original. We all build on top of something else. But the problem is that, while it’s true that old philosophers borrowed a lot from previous authors, they added their own ideas into the mix. There was always something new.
That’s not the case anymore. We just use these quotes to generate an audience on social media. Of course, not all quotes from Seneca or Marcus Aurelius are used, only the “fancy” ones. So for me is great if you use something from the past. Quote your favorite authors, borrow their words, but add your own voice to the mix. Be creative, be original, add something to the discussion. You Are Never Too Old To Change Your LifeBe bold, take risks. Don’t just copy and past quotes.
I can’t really agree to today’s Daily Stoic, “Make The Words Your Own”. I think today’s world has an excess of borrowing words from other and a scarcity of adding something relevant or original on top of that.