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Stoicism and the importance of writing

"We should not limit ourselves to either writing or reading; the former will depress one's powers and exhaust them, the other will relax and weaken them. One should pass in turn from one to the other and blend one with the other, so that the pen will shape whatever has been gathered from reading into a body."

- Seneca, Letters 84.2

I realize that Seneca's letters are addressed to another writer - but I am pretty certain that Seneca wanted us all to write. The point he is making here is not that we should use Stoicism to become more successful authors but that we should think through writing. And I'm equally certain that this point has been overlooked entirely even by the recent practice-focused research on Stoicism (Foucault, Hadot and others). Which is strange even if we just look at Seneca - but even more extraordinary if we take Marcus Aurelius into account. Implicitly, his entire work makes the same point as Seneca is making here. It's difficult to find a more pure example of a person who wrote to think than Marcus.


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