This Blogger respects the Stoic Philosophy and continues to learn. The idea of friendship, and how it is practiced and defined by Stoics is fascinating to consider. And as we age deliciously, new friendships can still be found, grown and blossom to be meaningful. Many of us witnessed our parents, in their 80s and 90s start new friendships that were mutually enjoyable, supportive and life changing. Perhaps we see friendships we have made and are making that vary, and serve us differently and at different times?
Here’s an excerpt from the Daily Stoic Blog (April 12, 2022) that we thought worth sharing:
“….from what we do know, we can gather Seneca was social and had a large circle of friends and acquaintances with whom he spent a lot of time.
Which begs the question: How did he choose these friends? We can hope—and expect—that Seneca’s many friendships adhered to the rule he put down to Lucilius in one of those famous letters:
“Associate with those who will make a better person of you. Welcome those whom you yourself can improve.”
It’s an impossible thing to know really—even for ourselves—how we came to know most of the people in our lives. But how they stayed in our lives? How our acquaintances evolved into friendships, that should be easier to figure out. And Seneca’s rule is a wonderful guide, because what he’s describing is what friendship is about. A process of mutual improvement, benefit and enjoyment.
We become like the people we spend the most time with…so we should choose wisely. And we should choose widely, because life is too short to live lonely or narrowly—even for a Stoic.”
The idea and practice of getting along can sound simple. Many of us heard it often growing up, especially in families with kids. Yet telling children or anyone to just get along might not actually help them know how to get along. It might “teach” us we have to stop yelling, or wanting something, or clam up, but what really is at the core of getting along?
What does it feel like to come through a small friction or larger conflict, and actually be getting along with yourself and those involved? Sometimes, to get along or keep the peace in a family, or at a dinner or some tense situation, might we submerge what we want or need in an effort to have the appearance of getting along? And what happens over time if we never really are dealing with the issues, but keep smoothing or covering them over so that a “moment” looks good? What is the cost to all involved over time? We bite our tongue? We dumb down? We avoid or stay away? We make jokes? Much gets swept under the carpet. We might become aware of the “land mines” we need to avoid if we want to “get along” ? Then are we really getting along?
Has conflict or difference of opinion become scary for most of us westerners? What is the worst that can happen? Are we trying to get along or scared to really try? Do many of us skim the surface and have a life with less true feeling, vibrancy and connection because we want to keep the peace? Do we deny ourselves the full palette of color and emotion in an effort to “protect” others and to get along? Can we have peace AND listen AND be curious AND not feel attacked but rather find a new way through based on the different points of view, be it in our family, relationships, community or this world? Who are our role models for getting along while being their best selves and shining their light?
Getting along can sound simple. There are of course times to not rock the boat, to listen, to consider, and do what needs doing in that moment or period of time. Yet then once that situation or crisis is averted, can we not go back and revisit what happened especially if some involved gave up what they might have needed or wanted for the common good at that time? Do some of us expect others in our orbit to go along to get along, at a cost to themselves we rarely inquire about in order for us to feel okay?
In these large world moments of observing, it can look like few of us on the world stage get along. What are we really fighting for? And what happens if we get it? Does the world (meaning us) really want to get along if we’d have to change some aspect of ourselves? What does peace and getting along and working together really feel and look like? How many of us have that feeling in our micro world? How do we help plant those seeds if peace and getting along is what we truly want more of? What happens when some want it and others don’t want to get along?
Guess this entry is just a bunch of questions to noodle on.