Yet we have from Marcus Aurelius’s acknowledgments in Meditations a sense of how he tried to comport himself and its worth applying to our partisan and social media-driven times as well. From the literary critic Alexander, Marcus says he learned,
“Not to be constantly correcting people, or in particular not to jump on them whenever they make an error of usage or a grammatical mistake or mispronounce something, but just answer their question or add another example or debate the issue itself (not their phrasing), or make some other contribution to the discussion—and insert the right expression, unobtrusively.”
Just because you’re smart, doesn’t mean you have to be — or get to be — a dick. As we’ve talked about before, it’s easier to be clever than it is to be kind. But it’s kindness that matters, that’s what that virtue of justice is about. The virtue of wisdom comes to play here too: The more you know, the humbler you should get, not the other way around.
It doesn’t matter how bright you are. It doesn’t matter how educated you are, how right you are. You don’t need to go around wielding it like a weapon. Just make your contribution kindly, unobtrusively.
Do your job.