Intellectual Lineage

We are in the habit of saying that it was not in our power to choose the parents who were allotted to us, that they were given to us by chance. But we can choose whose children we would like to be. There are households of the noblest intellects: choose the one into which you wish to be adopted, and you will inherit not only their name but their property too. Nor will this property need to be guarded meanly or grudgingly: the more it is shared out, the greater it will become. These will offer you a path to immortality and raise you to a point from which no one is cast down. This is the only way to prolong mortality — even to convert it to immortality. - Seneca, On the Shortness of Life

Yes, it’s true that we can’t choose our parents but we can choose whose children we would like to be” through the books we read. Reading is a form of adoption, where we are raised by parents of our own choosing and become persons of our own creation. In that way we create our own intellectual lineage.

March 28, 2020

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