R-E-S-P-E-C-T Yourself By Following Someone Else

Seneca, Moral Epistles 11.9-10

“A sprit should have someone whom it may respect, by whose authority even their own innermost self is improved. Oh, how happy is the person who makes us better not merely when they’re around but when we think of them too! How happy is the person who can respect someone so much that they can compose and reset their mind just with their memory!

So, choose yourself a Cato. if he seems too harsh, then select someone with a kinder spirit like Laelius. Choose the person who pleases you with their life and speech and a face that bears their soul itself. Provide that person at all times as a safeguard or example for yourself.  We need someone who can help us check ourselves: you can’t fix a crooked line without a ruler! Goodbye.”

Aliquem habeat animus, quem vereatur, cuius auctoritate etiam secretum suum sanctius faciat. O felicem illum, qui non praesens tantum, sed etiam cogitatus emendat! O felicem, qui sic aliquem vereri potest, ut ad memoriam quoque eius se conponat atque ordinet! Qui sic aliquem vereri potest, cito erit verendus. Elige itaque Catonem. Si hic tibi videtur nimis rigidus, elige remissioris animi virum Laelium. Elige eum, cuius tibi placuit et vita et oratio et ipse animum ante se ferens vultus; illum tibi semper ostende vel custodem vel exemplum. Opus est, inquam, aliquo, ad quem mores nostri se ipsi exigant; nisi ad regulam prava non corriges. Vale.

photograph of a ruler

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