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046 - On Your New Blog - Moral Letters for Modern Times

Acquire new knowledge while thinking over the old, and you may become a teacher of others.
Hiking path with Swiss alps - Moral Letters to Lucilius
Photo by James Bellerjeau

I see you have taken my recent words to heart, Deuteros, and put your own words to paper in the hope of giving them meaning. I meant to take a quick look at the new blog that you have started on the side, with the intention of making a thorough study later. But I was drawn in, and I can’t say against my will, for I was glad to remain immersed in your thoughts. When I came back to my senses, I was amazed to see that the afternoon was gone and the sun had already set. The dog needed walking, the other animals clamored to be fed, and I had missed my office hours that day. Judging from the Post-It notes now coloring the surface of my door, there is no shortage of students looking for guidance who also turned away with their needs unmet today.

Students of the good life could scarcely do better than to consume your writing themselves. It seems another master has entered our midst, and your voice rings out clearly among the greats. How pleased I am! Not just at your progress, for what teacher does not rejoice at the accomplished student, but that you are breaking new ground and charting new territory. I see in your blog entries what I was trying to describe as the signs of understanding: you are not just reformulating what you have heard, but finding new insights. I am called to mind the words of that great Chinese philosopher Confucius, who said:

Acquire new knowledge while thinking over the old, and you may become a teacher of others.

I had to share these first impressions at once, but you deserve a studied response. I will give you my thoughts in more detail after they have had time to marinate and mature. And I promise to be a true friend and tell you no lies. It is sometimes cruel to be kind, and I would not spare you the rod if your course needs correction. But if I find you have strayed, I will be a little more lenient than Confucius was when he said:

If I raise one corner for someone and he cannot come back with the other three, I do not go on.

I will grant you the second corner, Deuteros, for I wish you to continue on in this way. When you share a genuine insight with others, you learn something of yourself, even as they learn something of you.

Be well.

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