This is becoming a weekly thing, finding myself reflecting on a single piece of wisdom rather than coming up with something actually original to say. Yet I think it’s a good thing, a refreshing thing, to have a focus. My focus today has been BBC Bitesize Cardiology because, of course, I’m hooked now on the topic. I’m not going to mention The Falcon and Winter Soldier or the fact that I’ve had five coffees and two energy drinks today because that doesn’t seem very learned. But we follow the patterns, don’t we? People tend to like things because they are good, it doesn’t mean they aren’t any less well natured because they are not inherently stoic in their content. What’s wrong with a little indulgence? A can of something, pizza and Disney+ isn’t an unworthy night in. I’m retreating from the world, retiring inwards after a week of work.
“A single example of extravagance or greed does a lot of harm – an intimate who leads a pampered life gradually makes one soft and flabby; a wealthy neighbour provokes cravings in one; a companion with a malicious nature tends to rub off some of his rust even on someone of an innocent and open-hearted nature – what then do you imagine the effect on a person’s character is when the assault comes from the world at large? You must inevitably either hate or imitate the world. But the right thing is to shun both courses: you should neither become like the bad because they are many, nor be an enemy of the many because they are unlike you. Retire into yourself as much as you can. Associate with people who are likely to improve you. Welcome those whom you are capable of improving. The process is a mutual one: men learn as they teach.” – Letters from a Stoic VII
How many people have we all encountered this week? How many of us could do with a little retreat over the weekend to recharge and wipe off the rust of another. Call a true friend over this time, call them and discuss something easy, something you can learn from, something you can appreciate and take comfort in. I have a friend who inspires me. They find themselves in retreat and I respect that – as do I find myself now in retreat. Passive activism of the self: shake off the dirt and energy of the week and its people, see it for what it is in its nature and return with a smile on Monday.
Gosh, perhaps maybe delete your news app just for this 48-hours. Delete your social media, if you can bring yourself to do it. Feel the weight of the world’s vices lift from your shoulders while you can before returning to the fold as the social being you are, as we are. I’m maintaining you can be a social being without social media, but not everyone has that luxury to switch it off anymore. I’m not judging, I’m just suggesting; a suggestion from one person on the path to another.