A Lesson on Role Models From Pliny the Younger

A Lesson on Role Models From Pliny the Younger

Pliny the Younger was a GREAT MAN of ancient Rome. And like all great men, he had a prolific role model that was inhabiting his spirit world: his uncle.

Pliny’s uncle was a busy statesman; yet in his spare time, the uncle manged to write the following works:

  • A treatise in one volume, “On the Use of the Dart by Cavalry”
  • Two volumes entitles “The Life of Pomponius Secundus”
  • Thirty-seven books on Natural History
  • Thirty books on the history of Aufidius Bassus
  • Twenty books on “The History of the Wars in Germany”
  • Eight Books entitled “Questions of Grammar and Style”
  • Six volumes of a work entitled “The Student,” on the attributes of successful oration

Pliny was in awe. He reflected on his uncle by stating the following:

It amuses me then when I hear myself called a studious man, who in comparison with him am the merest idler.

Summary: The role model is a man of high achievement. We stand in the shadow of his lofty ascension. He hovers atop a mountain, looking down on the mediocre masses. To stand beside him, we too must ascend! We must burn away the degenerate part of our self…the conscience of a humiliated half-man.

To be a GREAT MAN is painful; for it means that we must kill the drug dealer that hides in our soul: we must destroy the charlatan within.

Pliny had a GREAT MAN beside him: his uncle. But not everyone is so fortunate. The rest need to look for these men, wherever they may be…

See Related Article: The “Nice” Man is Not a Great Man



Happiness Often Lies in the Silent Satisfaction From Having Acted Well

Happiness Often Lies in the Silent Satisfaction From Having Acted Well

He places no part of his happiness in ostentation, but in the secret approbation of his conscience, seeking the reward of his virtue, not in the clamorous applauses of the world, but in the silent satisfaction which results from having acted well.

This wisdom is coming from Letters of Pliny. He speaks about a friend, Titus Aristo, that is always happy. And where does this happiness come from? Not in fame or fortune. But, as Pliny puts it…

“…in the silent satisfaction which results from having acted well.”

This is generally true.

Happiness is complex. And many factors can ruin your day…or even your life. Yet, as a general rule, the perspective of any man is resting in his conscience. It’s resting in his commitment to virtue, or in the knowledge that he’s on the correct Highway of Life.

The stoic wisdom of Ancient Rome is an irony. On one hand, it comes from people that have been dead for hundreds of years…men that are long forgotten. And yet, the wisdom they share is timeless—it speaks to the life of a modern man.

See Related Article: Pliny the Younger on the Value of Being Prolific

Pliny the Younger On the Value of Being Prolific

Pliny the Younger On the Value of Being Prolific

Pliny the Younger was a famous Roman lawyer and statesman. In the Letters of Pliny, he mentions the importance of being prolific:

Good compositions, as in everything else that is valuable, the more there is of them, the better. You may observe in statues, basso-relievos, pictures, and the human form, and even in animals and trees, that nothing is more graceful than magnitude, if accompanied with proportion.”

Very true. The great artist is prolific. His creations are numerous and expansive. If he’s a musician, he has 50 albums. If he’s a writer, he has 50 books. And so on and so forth…

Agatha Christie, surrounded by some of her 80-plus crime novels.
Agatha Christie is a good example of a prolific writer. She wrote 66 detective novels in her lifetime.

There’s no heroism in “storing it away for a rainy day,” or “waiting for the moment to be right.” Greatness is calling…the bus is leaving. Your goal is to create content. Your daily calling…to provide something of value to the public.

Remember that others will be scared of your prolific desires. What are you trying to prove? What’s the point of your hustle?

Ignore the miniature man. His future wife (if he gets married) will despise his mediocrity. You refuse to cower at the Altar of his Insecurity. He’s a meaningless clerk, working at the Hall of Insignificance. Listen to Pliny instead, for he’s pointing in the right direction:

“…in books a large volume carries a certain beauty and authority in its very size.”

Very true. Usually, the large book is great simply because of its size. Remember: most people only write large novels if they have something to say. True, there’s an occasional traitor in the bunch: the half-man, with his addiction to ambiguity. Usually, the wretch is exposed as an enemy to the GREAT MAN, or a traitor to the nation state (see Noam Chomsky).

The GREAT MAN is a creator of content. He produces on a regular basis, until a mountain of work is marking his noble name.

See Related Article: You Either Have Ambition or You Don’t