“Take care not to casually discuss matters that are of great importance to you with people who are not important to you. Your affairs will become drained of preciousness. This is especially dangerous when you are in the early stages of an undertaking. Most people only know how to respond to an idea by pouncing on its shortfalls rather than identifying its potential merits. Practice self-containment so that your enthusiasm won’t be frittered away.”
– The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness by Epictetus
Epictetus is my kind of guy. Besides accurately summing up something I think about all the time far better than I could roughly 2,000 years ago, he believed philosophy should serve the practical purpose of leading people to better lives. I love that idea, even if applying a universal definition of “better” to individuals seems inherently problematic.
Even so, I’ll take it. Our passions and enthusiasms are precious things worthy of protection and celebration.