11. What is inherent instinct ?

What is inherent instinct ?

That which is implanted & inborn can be toned down by training, but not overcome.

Why do we need guardians ?

The soul should have someone whom it can respect, as you can never straighten that which is crooked unless you use a ruler.

On the Blush of Modesty

For by no wisdom can natural weaknesses of the body be removed; That which is implanted & inborn can be toned down by training, but not overcome.

The steadiest speaker, when before the public, often breaks into a perspiration, as if one had wearied oneself; some tremble in the knees when they rise to speak.

Training & experience can never shake off this habit; nature exerts its own power & through such a weakness makes its presence known even to the strongest.

Such a habit is not due to mental weakness, but to the novelty of a situation; an inexperienced person is not necessarily confused, but is usually affected, because one slips into this habit by natural tendency of the body.

As I remarked, Wisdom can never remove this habit; for if it could rub out all our faults, it would be ruler of the universe. Whatever is assigned to us by the terms of our birth & the blend in our constitutions, will stick with us, no matter how hard or how long the soul may have tried to master itself; We cannot forbid these feelings any more than we can summon them.

My letter calls for its closing sentence; Hear & take to heart this useful & wholesome motto: “Cherish some people of high character, & keep them ever before your eyes, living as if they were watching you, & ordering all your actions as if they beheld them.”

Such, my dear Lucilius, is the counsel of Epicurus; he has quite properly given us a guardian; We can get rid of most sins, if we have a witness who stands near us when we are likely to go wrong, the soul should have someone whom it can respect.

Happy is the person who can make others better, not merely when one is in their company, but even when one is in their thoughts!, Happy also is one who can so revere a person as to calm & regulate themselves by calling one to mind!; One who can so revere another, will soon be oneself worthy of reverence.

Choose a guardian whose life, conversation, & soul-expressing face have satisfied you; picture them always to yourself as your protector or your pattern.

For we must indeed have someone according to whom we may regulate our characters; you can never straighten that which is crooked unless you use a ruler.

Farewell.

Seneca, StoicTaoist.