Ideas with merit are common property

“All ideas with merit are common property.” | Seneca on Epicurus

I am on a stoic book binge. It started with “The Socrates Express” – a beginner’s introduction to philosophy.

After a post with an excerpt from his chapter on stoicism that resonated, Juan recommended I read “The Guide to the Good life” (The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy) by William B Irvine. This book is a beginner’s introduction to stoicism.

As I read Irvine’s notes on stoicism, I realized that it is the philosophy I’ve been writing about all these years without knowing it. I’m still working on a simple synthesis of what stoicism is all about. For now, I think it is best described as a combination of extreme gratitude, perspective, and reflection.

After this beginner’s introduction, the natural next step was to go straight to the source. So, I’ve started with Seneca’s letters and have Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius on my queue. You now know expect plenty of notes from these philosophers in the coming weeks. :-)

All this brings us back to the quote I shared from Seneca. One of the fascinating theme in the first few letters to his friend Lucilius is the frequency with which he quotes Epicurus. This can strike you as odd because Epicurus was the founder of a rival school of philosophy.

Seneca realizes this and notes that we ought not to measure the merit of an idea based on who it is from.

All ideas with merit are, and should be, common property.