Seneca On True & False Friendship

Friendship2
Source: Brainpickings.org
Maria Popova
May 19, 2017

“Friendship is unnecessary,” C.S. Lewis wrote, “like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself… it has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” Darwinian caveats aside, the truth of this beautiful sentiment resonates deeply for anyone whose life has been enriched or even saved by the existence of a genuine friend. And yet today, as we face the commodification of the word “friend,” what do we even mean — what should we mean — by this once-sacred term, now vacated of meaning by chronic misuse?

That’s what the great first-century Roman philosopher Seneca examines in a series of correspondence with his friend Lucilius Junior, later published as Letters from a Stoic (public library) — the indispensable trove of wisdom that gave us Seneca’s famous letter on overcoming fear and inoculating yourself against misfortune.

seneca

Eighteen centuries before Emerson wrote in his meditation on the two pillars of friendship that “a friend is a person with whom [one] may be sincere,” Seneca considers the uses and misuses of the term in a magnificent letter titled “On True and False Friendship”:

If you consider any man a friend whom you do not trust as you trust yourself, you are mightily mistaken and you do not sufficiently understand what true friendship means… When friendship is settled, you must trust; before friendship is formed, you must pass judgment. Those persons indeed put last first and confound their duties, who … judge a man after they have made him their friend, instead of making him their friend after they have judged him. Ponder for a long time whether you shall admit a given person to your friendship; but when you have decided to admit him, welcome him with all your heart and soul. Speak as boldly with him as with yourself… Regard him as loyal and you will make him loyal.

In another letter, titled “On Philosophy and Friendship,” Seneca examines the common bases upon which friendships are formed and admonishes against the tendency, particularly common today, toward seeing others as utilitarian tools that help advance one’s personal goals. Observing that some people form so-called friendships by estimating how much a potential friend can help them in a moment of need, he writes:

He who regards himself only, and enters upon friendships for this reason, reckons wrongly. The end will be like the beginning: he has made friends with one who might assist him out of bondage; at the first rattle of the chain such a friend will desert him. These are the so-called “fair-weather” friendships; one who is chosen for the sake of utility will be satisfactory only so long as he is useful. Hence prosperous men are blockaded by troops of friends; but those who have failed stand amid vast loneliness their friends fleeing from the very crisis which is to test their worth. Hence, also, we notice those many shameful cases of persons who, through fear, desert or betray. The beginning and the end cannot but harmonize. He who begins to be your friend because it pays will also cease because it pays. A man will be attracted by some reward offered in exchange for his friendship, if he be attracted by aught in friendship other than friendship itself.

With an eye to such arrangements of convenience and favor, which he condemns as “a bargain and not a friendship,” Seneca adds:

One who seeks friendship for favourable occasions, strips it of all its nobility.

My visual taxonomy of the four levels of platonic relationships

In another letter, Seneca cautions against mistaking flattery for friendship — an admonition all the more urgent today, in the Age of Likes, when the forms of flattery and the channels of positive reinforcement have proliferated to a disorienting degree:

How closely flattery resembles friendship! It not only apes friendship, but outdoes it, passing it in the race; with wide-open and indulgent ears it is welcomed and sinks to the depths of the heart, and it is pleasing precisely wherein it does harm.

He turns the beam of his wisdom toward the only valid and noble reason for forming a friendship:

For what purpose, then, do I make a man my friend? In order to have someone for whom I may die, whom I may follow into exile, against whose death I may stake my own life, and pay the pledge, too.

Illustration by Maurice Sendak from a vintage ode to friendship by Janice May Udry

In another letter, Seneca suggests that such genuine friendship extends its rewards beyond the personal realm and becomes the civilizational glue that holds humanity together:

Friendship produces between us a partnership in all our interests. There is no such thing as good or bad fortune for the individual; we live in common. And no one can live happily who has regard to himself alone and transforms everything into a question of his own utility; you must live for your neighbour, if you would live for yourself. This fellowship, maintained with scrupulous care, which makes us mingle as men with our fellow-men and holds that the human race have certain rights in common, is also of great help in cherishing the more intimate fellowship which is based on friendship… For he that has much in common with a fellow-man will have all things in common with a friend.

Letters from a Stoic remains a timelessly rewarding read. Complement this particular portion with Eudora Welty on friendship as an evolutionary mechanism for language, Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue on the ancient Celtic ideal of friendship, and the epistolary record of Mozart and Haydn’s beautiful and selfless friendship, then revisit Seneca on the antidote to the shortness of life and the key to resilience in the face of loss.

Read More At: BrainPickings.org

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50 Shades of Sexual Yoga – A Conversation With Michaela Boehm

David Deidas book “The Way of the Superior Man” was a pioneering publication when it came out. Today we are joined by his professional partner, Michaela Boehm, to account for both male & female approaches, addressing questions as: What’s the modern challenge in gender relations? Why is desire in conflict with love? Has gender equality gone wrong? What’s the nature of genders? How can they resonate rather than conflict? Are issues channeled through sexuality? Can gender alienation lead to sexual impotence/frigidity & psycho-social sadism? + more regarding the connection to our mutual masculinity & femininity. And a perspective on 50 Shades of Gray.

Source: ForumBorealis

Breakaway Guide To Simplifying Your Life

By: Zy Marquiez
January 17, 2016

“Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.”
– Leonardo Da Vinci

“If you can’t explain it simple enough, you can’t understand it well enough.”
– Albert Einstein

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Upon musing a bit about the term ‘simplicity’ it occurred to me to search for the term “Law of Simplicity”. There were many tips on simplifying everything, and countless permutations of the idea in various ways, but no actual law [that was apparent to me] that could be easily shared. If anyone finds a solid ‘simple’ [pun intended] then please share it with us, as its pertinent to the focus of this blog.

Let’s get to the core of the issue: simplicity.

Two definitions according to dictionary.com are:

“the state, quality, or an instance of being simple.”

“freedom from complexity, intricacy, or division into parts.”

Pretty straight forward, right?

For our purposes we will distil it one step further for the purposes of this blog and say: to keep things as simple and as practical as possible. Simple.

You must be asking yourself, why are we even talking about this topic? Great question.

Because depending on what point of view one uses, and in this case we’ll use a detached-macro point of view of society as a whole, then it’s pretty obvious people tend to complicate their lives way more than they should.

These complications seep into every aspect of an individual’s life, and end up taxing them in countless way.

Are people even cognizant of it? Some definitely are; however, many are not.

Here are what some incisive minds have stated about keeping things simple:

“Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity”
– Plato

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.”
– Coco Chanel

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
– Confucius

“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Be as simple as you can be; you will be astonished to see how uncomplicated and happy your life can become.”
– Paramahansa Yoganda

– Simplicity will stand out, while complexity will get lost in the crowd.”
– Kevin Barnett

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
– Hans Hoffman

“The greatest ideas are the simplest.”
– William Golding

– “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
– Albert Einstein

“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”
– Bruce Lee

Its quite noteworthy that such individuals engaged in this particular thought process. It alludes to the importance of this topic.

Keeping the above insights in mind, what are some aspects of life that people tend to complicate?

Relationships, food, health, politics, etc.

Relationships? That should be an obvious one, and one everyone can relate too. Let’s distill this in its most simplest form.

If someone – be it a lover, friend, acquaintance, etc – in a relationship treats you like trash, all the time, or heck, most of the time, then they’re probably definitely not worth your time/energy. Bam. Simple. No excuses. Once you start justifying the erroneous actions of others as righteous [for whatever] reason, or giving them excuses, when it’s obvious they just don’t truly care [if they did, they wouldn’t be treating you like crap, all the time], you’re doing yourself a world of disservice.

It doesn’t matter if they are family or not. In fact, family members in many situations get away with everything AND the kitchen sink because they are family. Remember, putting up with their bullshit is a choice. No excuses. Keep it as simple as you wish, or as complicated.

Next on the menu, food.

Food? Why food? Because eating things that are a poor excuse for food, only makes things complicated.

If you don’t believe me, look at the epidemic of diseases that’s rampant costing hundreds of thousands of lives due to many reasons, a strong one being food. Why food? Because much of food is laden with toxins such as fluoride, aspartame, GMOs, etc. Each of those by itself can cause diseases. When taken in combination, which most people do, it’s a toxic free for all and your health is on the menu.

How to simplify this? Easy. Eat the best, most healthy food that you can. Nourish your body with that which empowers it.

Health being the most vital component in life, let’s elaborate further to be more precise.

Researching Non-Genetically modified, organic, locally grown [if possible] pesticide free food is a good great start. Making sure you drink fluoride-free water is even better.

Many can attest to the wonders of having real, nutrient-dense food like our ancestors did. A great book that talks about this is The Paleo Approach by Sarah Balantyne. Coupled with that, another outstanding book to keep in mind is Gut & Psychology Syndrome, by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD. The latter book touches on the intricate complexities of the human gut system, and how that fuels disease when your microbiota has been eviscerated by processed foods.

Why is ‘going out of your way’ [as some people argue] to eat real food worth it? Because not doing it is costing millions of lives. Sugar alone, which most people have in processed foods, fuels cancer like liquors fuel parties on the weekends. It’s insane how many people don’t know the inflammatory effects of sugar. That’s only one aspect of food that causes death. There are many more ingredients beyond sugar that should be incisively contemplated.

Unfortunately, sugar has been linked to countless other diseases.

In the article, The Truth About Sugar Addiction, Dr. Mercola sheds light onto 76 different ways sugar can ruin your health.

As a wise person once said, you pay for your health now with real food, or you pay for it later with disease, money and life.

Next on the list, is health.

One might be prompted to think , ‘Didn’t we just cover health?’ From the food angle, yes. From other angles, no.

Food already dovetails quite well into health. That’s only a start. Let’s buttress the above with another point.

As said mentioned elsewhere:

If the average person spends 5-hours daily watching television, then they are probably sitting too much. Sitting too much has dire consequences for one’s health, as some of you may know.

In his article named Watching Too Much TV Linked To Early Death, Dr. Mercola elucidates best:

If you watch television for three or more hours a day, your risk of premature death is double that of someone who watches only one hour or less, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.1 The health risks of too much sedentary behavior, including too much sitting, are now widely known.” [Bold emphasis added]

If you want more information about that, please read Dr Mercola’s article cited above. It’s quite detailed and thought-provoking, if sobering.

The above information should be enough to make people contemplate deeply about the health choices they are making. Keep in mind, we’re only talking about sitting and watching TV.

Solution? Stay active. No complicated suggestions here. Just do anything that gets you moving, and bam, you’re health is better than it was if you’re remaining stagnant.

Lastly, politics.

Boy oh boy, where can’t we go here?

In interest of simplicity, let’s synthesize this to the most simplest form.

If a scoundrel politician – regardless of whatever party they are from – lies, they shouldn’t be trusted. If they are caught being bought-off by special interest, they shouldn’t be trusted. And of course, if they are caught stealing, they should not be trusted. No exceptions. What’s so hard about that?

Blind trust of those that throw y/our interests under the bus, each and every day is exactly how we got here in the first place.

When people are not held accountable, they will unleash crimes of godlike proportions. Just look at Wall Maul Street.

In a quick synopsis:

If someone treats you poorly, let them go. Eat real non-GMO organic healthy foods like our ancestors did, if not your life/health will become exponentially complicated. Quit sitting so much while watching TV & don’t trust lying crooks. Solid advice, right?

Simple.

To finalize, within the confines of this blog, ‘the law of simplicity’ will be used to denote instances where we will be making issues as simple as possible for the individual. In such a way, life will be much easier to navigate through, and things that used to be chaotic will literally crumble right before your eyes. Many have reaped these rewards. It’s time for everyone else to do so as well.

The only thing left is making the choice.

Make your life as simple as you wish, or as complicated.

The choice is yours.

“Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”
– Isaac Newton

“Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“How many undervalue the power of simplicity! But it is the real key to the heart.”
– William Wordsworth

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Sources & References:

https://thebreakaway.wordpress.com/2015/12/05/the-breakaway-guide-to-fluoride/
https://thebreakaway.wordpress.com/2015/12/09/the-breakaway-guide-to-aspartame/
https://thebreakaway.wordpress.com/2016/01/17/growing-doubt-a-scientists-experience-with-gmos/
https://thebreakaway.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/review-recommended-book-the-paleo-approach-reverse-autoimmune-disease-and-heal-your-body-by-sarah-balantyne-ph-d/
https://thebreakaway.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/review-gut-and-psychology-syndrome-by-dr-natasha-campbell-mcbride-md/
https://thebreakaway.wordpress.com/2016/01/17/here-is-how-candida-may-actually-cause-cancer/
http://articles.mercola.com/sugar-addiction.aspx
http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2014/07/11/watching-tv-premature-death.aspx

Applications of MBT with Tom Campbell [Part 3] – Relationships & Gender

EBTV on http://evolvingbeings.com presents host Evita Ochel with returning guest Tom Campbell of http://my-big-toe.com covering practical applications of MBT – My BIG Theory of Everything.

In this part 3 of 5 topics revolve around gender, differences between the sexes, how to make a romantic partner relationship work, how to know when to separate from a partner, as well as our relationship to nature and insects, and others as they relate to MBT.

Tom is a leading researcher and authority on consciousness, reality and out of body experiences, which he has been studying for over 30 years. He is a physicist, lecturer and author of the My BIG TOE trilogy.

PART 3: Relationships & Gender

1.How does MBT explain the purpose of gender and why we have it? (0:30)
– An explanation of sexual differences with respect to the rule set
– The difference between falling in love versus falling in need
– Understanding the fundamental differences between men and women
– The challenges of male and female communication
– Tom shares a prescription for both men and women specifically on how to make relationships work (applies to both hetero and homosexual partnerships) (8:50)
– The importance of men taking the initiative, as natural leaders
– Why need-based relationships don’t work, and why we have to build relationships on love
– Letting go of the Ego, beliefs, expectations and fear to benefit the relationship
– An explanation of why men are not getting short-ended in the process of applying Tom’s prescription, but given a chance to grow up
– Why negotiations in relationships fuel need-based relationships

2. How to best know if a current partnership is the best one for further growth and evolution, versus when to remove oneself from the partnership and seek a different one? (30:50)
– The importance of examining the potential of the partner to grow on a foundation of love
– Knowing that it is not about getting stuck in a relationship that isn’t working
– An explanation that love does not take two people, but one
– An explanation of how the giving is where the reward is, and that it is not about give and take that makes good relationships work
– Understanding how it is not about staying in abusive situations

3. Understanding the challenges of relationships with nature and other beings such as bacteria and insects. We are constantly waging war on our bodies and our environment, is there a better way to live according to MBT? (41:45)
– Tom shares how it has been our way to try to control and bully external environments
– Understanding that we are one with the ecosystem and that short term gain is not the answer if it results in long term loss
– Understanding the difference between killing for pleasure or out of fear, versus for survival of some sort
– The importance of intent in guiding any of our actions
– Tom shares how not to be paralyzed by not knowing and do the best you can and learn as you go
– The importance of not justifying our actions, which only fuels the Ego

4. Tom shares closing comments about how not to get lost in the intellectualizing of MBT and focusing on the theory, but rather putting it into practice and having a personal experience. (53:00)
– The fallacy of intellectualizing ideas and forming beliefs
– The importance of acting from a state of being, rather than doing
– The importance of holding a good intent and moving towards love
– Applying love in parent-child relationships, not manipulation
– The importance of bringing up fear and dealing with it on an experiential, not thought level
– Understanding that love is the answer and that we need to focus on our personal growth and evolution, not trying to fix others