Summary: When mingling with a crowd there is always a danger that some of their morality will rub off on you. You will start to want what they have, think like they think etc. Watching the violence of the arena can make a man violent, cruel and more inhumane. One must try not to imitate or loath the world. “Don’t copy the bad simply because they are many, nor should you hate the many because they are unlike you”. Withdraw into yourself and associate those who will make a better man of you and those that you can improve by teaching. By teaching you will learn more yourself.
Reflection: It rings true that hanging with the “wrong crowed” can lower you while hanging with those better than you can drive you to be better. I like to think that watching a violent show on tv. does not make me a more violent person, but causally witnessing actual debauchery in the world may cause your perceptions to change (Overton Window effect). I have always been inclined to retreat into myself maybe a little too much. But then again others can influence me negatively (to drink to excess, stay out too late etc). I like the advice about not doing what the crowd is doing. Just because a lot of people are doing something in no way makes it right! But we all have to be careful not to dislike something just because others like it. Use reason not emotion to find the right path!
Don’t forget to check out my podcast The Sunday Stoic on iTunes etc.