Seneca on crowds and the public (7/30)

Seneca series continues. Today he opines on “getting out of the building” as they say in startup land. Should you be alone or be with people?

Well, people are dumb, he seems to say. They have low interests and when they get together the lowest impulses take over.

“To consort with the crowd is harmful; there is no person who does not make some vice attractive to us, or stamp it upon us, or taint us unconsciously therewith. Certainly, the greater the mob with which we mingle, the greater the danger”

Hanging out in such settings makes it harder for you also, to focus on your own learning and aims. Like a sick man recovering you get exposed again to the germs.

But what about having an impact on the world? How can you do that in solitude?

For Seneca the answer is forget it. Focus on ideas and make an impact on the one person or zero people with which you are in dialogue. He is pretty into books too (previous letters).