Let us also produce some bold act of our own- and join the ranks of the most emulated. —Seneca, Moral Letters, 98.13b

Daily Touch of Inspirations
May 10th: Don't be inspired, be inspirational...
Ryan Holiday, The 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living

It was common in Greek and Roman times, just as it is now, for politicians to pander to their audience. They would lavish effusive praise on the crowd, on their country, on inspiring military victories of the past. How many times have you heard a political candidate say, "This is the greatest country in the history of the world? As orator Demosthenes pointed out, we'll gladly sit for hours to hear a speaker who stands in front of some famous or sacred landmark, "praising [our] ancestors, describing their exploits and enumerating their trophies."

But what does this flattery accomplish? Nothing. Worse, the admiration of shiny accolades distracts us from their true purpose. Also, as Demosthenes explains, it betrays the very ancestors who inspire us. He concluded his speech to the Athenian people with words that Seneca would later echo and still resounds centuries later. "Reflect, then" he said, "that your ancestors set up those trophies, not that you may gaze at them in wonder, but that you may also imitate the virtues of the men how set them up."

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The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom Perseverance and Art of Living

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