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Sculptor E.S. Schubert On Stoicism, The Importance Of Statues, And Crafting A Marcus Aurelius Bust

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Have you noticed how much of Marcus AureliusMeditations is about other people? The opening, “Debts and Lessons”—seventeen entries in which he reflects upon the various influential individuals in his life—makes up nearly ten percent of the book. Almost every other page has at least one quote or one story or one mention of a story about somebody else. This passage in Book 6 explains why he does that:

“When you need encouragement, think of the qualities the people around you have: this one’s energy, that one’s modesty, another’s generosity, and so on. Nothing is as encouraging as when virtues are visibly embodied in the people around us, when we’re practically showered with them. It’s good to keep this in mind.”

Seneca similarly wrote that “our predecessors have worked much improvement…They deserve respect…and should be worshipped with a divine ritual. Why should I not keep statues of great men to kindle my enthusiasm?” Which is why Daily Stoic collaborated with E.S. Schubert to create a 5.5” tall, hand-sculpted pewter portrait bust of Marcus Aurelius. Schubert is a sculptor from Kansas City and a passionate student of Stoicism as you’ll see in our interview below. As an artist, Schubert believes that portrait bust should not simply capture the rigid anatomy of a subject’s face, but also the spirit of the person and the impact they had on others, and he details how he aimed to do just that with this statue of Marcus Aurelius. Please enjoy our interview with E.S. Schubert!

First, could you tell the Daily Stoic community a little bit about yourself?

Sure, I am a sculptor. Born, raised, and living in Kansas City. My wife co-owns and manages the studio with me, and we have two children. We typically focus on creating larger than life-size monuments. I have a degree in sculpture from The University of Kansas. I have always loved making things, from my earliest memories. I am a sculptor because of that inclination, and a few spectacular teachers who helped me along that path. I am thankful everyday single day that this is my job.

We know you’re a student of Stoicism and were even inspired to sculpt portrait busts of Zeno, Epictetus, and Seneca. What was your first exposure to stoicism? Do you remember your initial reaction? How did your study progress from there?

Tim Ferris’s publishing the audiobook of