Seneca 11/30: On blushing and on role models

Seneca series continues. If you ever wondered what a moral education is, then this is your jam right here. People don’t teach this stuff anymore, though sometimes they end up learning it.

Seneca says to his young friend first of all: “people get nervous, they blush”. It’s normal. You can’t change it. Embrace it as a person being real. If you are blushing just recognize it as a normal human emotion. Some people more than others. If it’s you, accept it but don’t let it throw you off your game.

The other big point: have a role model. Pick a moral icon to understand and model yourself on and a standard by which you may judge and refine your own behavior. Maybe Cato or someone like that. What would X do? It’s an instructive process and fits well with the earlier advice of “don’t read everything, read something deeply enough that you really have absorbed it’s worldview”. Many people think about self-improvement as a sort of directional “yeah that seems good” and not a benchmark to hold to and drive toward.