If You Want Love, Give Love

Welcome back to Mid-Week Meditations , Lifehacker’s weekly dip in the pool of stoic wisdom and a guide to using its waters to meditate and improve your life.

This week’s selection comes from the early stoic Hecato of Rhodes . Very little is known about his life, but others have often quoted him, as, for example, in this passage from Seneca’s Moral Epistles to Lucilius (IX) :

If you ask how you can quickly become a friend, I will answer you, provided that we agree that I can pay off my debt right away and equalize the score with regard to this letter. Hecato says: “I can show you a potion prepared without drugs, herbs or any witchcraft spells:” If you were loved, love. ” Now there is great pleasure not only in maintaining old and established friendships, but also in the beginning and in acquiring new ones. There is the same difference between winning a new friend and already winning one, as it is between the farmer who sows and the farmer who reaps.

What does it mean

While Seneca’s understanding of friendship is helpful here – making new friends is just as important as supporting old ones – Hecato’s quote about love is really strong. “Perfume” is a kind of magic potion, so it basically says that there is no stronger love potion than giving your love. The quote often boils down to something like: “If you want to be loved, love.”

What to take from there

On this day of love and romance, remember the golden rule: always treat others the way you want to be treated. If you want someone to love you, give them the same love you desire. People may not always be able to return it the way you want it to, but you cannot take that as an excuse to stop putting your love out.

You can read all Seneca ‘s Moral Letters to Lucilias for free here .


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