Plutarch, the brilliant moral biographer, wasn’t exactly a fan of the Stoics. He wrote a number of critical essays about Stoicism (ironically, these essays aren’t very good) and certainly didn’t consider himself one. But there was one area where his beliefs clearly overlapped with say a Marcus Aurelius or an Epictetus and that was about the transformative role of philosophy on human beings.
“The teaching of philosophy is not, if I may use the words of Pindar, ‘a sculptor to carve statues doomed to stand idly on their pedestal and no more,’ no, it strives to make everything that it touches active and efficient and alive, it inspires men with impulses which urge action, with judgments that lead them towards what is useful, with preferences for things that are honorable, with wisdom and greatness of mind joined to gentleness and conservatism.”
So if you’re ever asking yourself “Why am I studying this again?” “What am I doing this for?” The answer is simple: To become more active, efficient and alive. To become greater, more honorable and wise.
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