Seneca on Saturday: A Good Conscience Welcomes the Crowd

Brass replica of bronze hand mirror found in Pompeii. From the Object Lessons Blog.

XLIII. On the Relativity of Fame.

I shall mention a fact by which you may weigh the worth of a man’s character: you will scarcely find anyone who can live with his door wide open. It is our conscience, not our pride, that has put doorkeepers at our doors; we live in such a fashion that being suddenly disclosed to view is equivalent to being caught in the act. What profits it, however, to hide ourselves away, and to avoid the eyes and ears of men? A good conscience welcomes the crowd, but a bad conscience, even in solitude, is disturbed and troubled.  If your deeds are honourable, let everybody know them; if base, what matters it that no one knows them, as long as you yourself know them?  How wretched you are if you despise such a witness!  

Seneca Epistles 1-65, by Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger. Translation by Richard Gummere. Loeb Classical Library.

Late October Word of Mouth

 

Fiction: My Sister, the Serial Killer — Oyinkan Braithwaite

Podcast episode: Say Yes to Rebuilding Post- Trump — Trumpcast (Slate)

Podcast episode: The Family Business — Trump, Inc. (WNYC Studios/ ProPublica)

Non-Fiction: Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-starved World — Seth M. Siegel

 

Ancient Inspiration:

“In your actions, don’t procrastinate. In your conversations, don’t confuse. In your thoughts, don’t wander. In your soul, don’t be passive or aggressive.” 

— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 8. 51

 

Not-so-Ancient Inspiration: 

“The work is the work, regardless of whether you decide to be ground down by it.”

Seth Godin

 

 

Fall Word of Mouth

Kids’ TV: Carmen Sandiego — Duane Capizzi (Netflix)

Fiction: A Murder of Magpies — Judith Flanders

Non-Fiction: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup — John Carreyrou

Science: The Ghost Map — Steven Johnson

More Kids’ TV: Beat Bugs — Josh Wakely (Netflix)

Ancient Inspiration:

“If a person gave your body to any stranger he met on his way, you would certainly be angry. And do you feel no shame in handing over your own mind to be confused and mystified by anyone who happens to verbally attack you?”

— Epictetus — Enchiridion 28, translated by Elizabeth Carter

Not-so-Ancient Inspiration: 

“The faith that led Magellan to attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 1519 is why we remember him. But few remember that he was not among the eighteen survivors who completed the journey.”

Midsummer Word of Mouth

Fiction: The Snakes — Sadie Jones

Fiction: The Last Book Party – Karen Dukess

Fiction: Fleishman Is In Trouble — Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Science: Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond — Sonia Shah 

TV: False Flag — Maria Feldman, Amit Cohen. Hulu

Movie: I Am Not Your Negro  — Raoul Peck, James Baldwin. Amazon

 

Ancient Inspiration: “… [N]o act is honourable that is done by an unwilling agent, that is compulsary. Every honourable act is voluntary.”

— Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Epistle 66. From Epistles, 66-92, Translation by Richard Gummere. Loeb Classical Library.

 

 

Early Summer Word of Mouth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memoir:  Good Talk — Mira Jacob

Non-Fiction: White Fragility Robin Diangelo

Science: The Gene: An Intimate History Siddhartha Mukherjee

Movie: Amazing Grace  — Alan Elliott and Sidney Pollack

Movie: Book Smart Olivia Wilde

 

Not-So-Ancient Inspiration:

“It doesn’t matter how far ahead you see if you don’t understand what you are looking at.” — Garry Kasparov

September Word of Mouth

Movie: RBG – Julie Cohen and Betsy West

Memoir: Negroland – Margo Jefferson

TV: Imposters – Paul Adelstein and Adam Brooks

Fiction: Magpie Murders – Anthony Horowitz

Ancient Inspiration:

“The work is quite feasible, and is the only thing in our power…. Let go of the past. We must only begin. Believe me and you will see.” – Epictetus, Discourses, 2.19.29-34