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.

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