He makes his life long by combining all times into one. He is best known for this essay but also for his Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium, better known as Moral Letters to Luciliuswhich we also highly recommend. The mind that is untroubled and tranquil has the power to roam into all the parts of its life; but the minds of the engrossed, just as if weighted by a yoke, cannot turn and look behind.
But among the worst I count also those who have time for nothing but wine and lust; for none have more shameful engrossments. Nevertheless, since the joyful reality is still far distant, my desire for that time most earnestly prayed for has led me to forestall some of its delight by the pleasure of words.
It would be superfluous to mention more who, though others deemed them the happiest of men, have expressed their loathing for every act of their years, and with their own lips have given true testimony against themselves; but by these complaints they changed neither themselves nor others.
Yet we find ourselves trading our only life away to make others like us, to get money which we cannot use in the graveand be lazy, distracted and entertained. Something may be added to it, but nothing taken from it, and he will take any addition as the man who is satisfied and filled takes the food which he does not desire and yet can hold.
How many who, when they have tortured them with long waiting, will rush by, pretending to be in a hurry! Only by doing so, can one then truly unlock both past and future. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested.
Believe me, it takes a great man and one who has risen far above human weaknesses not to allow any of his time to be filched from him, and it follows that the life of such a man is very long because he has devoted wholly to himself whatever time he has had.
We are wont to say that it was not in our power to choose the parents who fell to our lot, that they have been given to men by chance; yet we may be the sons of whomsoever we will. According to Seneca, such a person knows nothing about the art of living.
They lose the day in expectation of the night, and the night in fear of the dawn. The whole house bemoaned the leisure of its old master, and did not end its sorrow until his accustomed work was restored to him. Basore, Loeb Classical Library London: Unless we prove ingrate, it was for us that the illustrious founders of divine schools of thought came into being, for us they prepared a way of life.
Has a man ceased to be a judge? Who sorts out the herds of his pack-mules into pairs of the same age and colour? What happiness, what a fair old age awaits him who has offered himself as a client to these!
The space you have, which reason can prolong, although it naturally hurries away, of necessity escapes from you quickly; for you do not seize it, you neither hold it back, nor impose delay upon the swiftest thing in the world, but you allow it to slip away as if it were something superfluous and that could be replaced.
They alone really live. They desire at times, if it could be with safety, to descend from their high pinnacle; for, though nothing from without should assail or shatter, Fortune of its very self comes crashing down.
No one willingly turns his thought back to the past, unless all his acts have been submitted to the censorship of his conscience, which is never deceived; he who has ambitiously coveted, proudly scorned, recklessly conquered, treacherously betrayed, greedily seized, or lavishly squandered, must needs fear his own memory.
Decrepit old men beg in their prayers for the addition of a few more years; they pretend that they are younger than they are; they comfort themselves with a falsehood, and are as pleased to deceive themselves as if they deceived Fate at the same time.
A hungry people neither listens to reason, nor is appeased by justice, nor is bent by any entreaty. They annex every age to their own; all the years that have gone before them are an addition to their store.
While he was pacifying the Alpine regions, and subduing the enemies planted in the midst of a peaceful empire, while he was extending its bounds even beyond the Rhine and the Euphrates and the Danube, in Rome itself the swords of Murena, Caepio, Lepidus, Egnatius, and others were being whetted to slay him.
None of it is assigned to another, none of it is scattered in this direction and that, none of it is committed to Fortune, none of it perishes from neglect, none is subtracted by wasteful giving, none of it is unused; the whole of it, so to speak, yields income.
Just as great and princely wealth is scattered in a moment when it comes into the hands of a bad owner, while wealth however limited, if it is entrusted to a good guardian, increases by use, so our life is amply long for him who orders it properly. They really are subject to forgetfulness of many things, but they also pretend forgetfulness of many.
Of all men they alone are at leisure who take time for philosophy, they alone really live; for they are not content to be good guardians of their own lifetime only. Households there are of noblest intellects; choose the one into which you wish to be adopted; you will inherit not merely their name, but even their property, which there will be no need to guard in a mean or niggardly spirit; the more persons you share it with, the greater it will become.
How they flare up if any of their mane is lopped off, if any of it lies out of order, if it does not all fall into its proper ringlets! We shall always pray for leisure, but never enjoy it.
Of how many days has that defendant robbed you? Calculate how much of that span was subtracted by a creditor, a mistress, a patron, a client, quarreling with your wife, punishing your slaves, gadding about the city on social duties.
And so, however small the amount of it, it is abundantly sufficient, and therefore, whenever his last day shall come, the wise man will not hesitate to go to meet death with steady step.I read some Seneca and absolutely loved it.
So I looked for more and saw that his essay "On the Shortness of Life" was well loved. Upon reading it and the other essays in this book, however, I am less than impressed. On the Shortness of Life 1 It is clear from chapters 18 and 19 that, when this essay was written (in or about A.D.
49), Paulinus was praefectus annonae, the official who superintended the grain supply of Rome, and was, therefore, a man of importance. On The Shortness Of Life. By Lucius Annaeus Seneca. NOTE: Seneca, a Spanish-born philosopher of Rome who lived in the first century A.D., was one of the prominent sages of the Stoic school.
He's chiefly remembered today for his Moral Essays, a collection of twelve articles on various ethical themes."On The Shortness Of Life" is an essay. De Brevitate Vitae (English: On the Shortness of Life) is a moral essay written by Seneca the Younger, a Roman Stoic philosopher, sometime around the year 49 AD, to his father-in-law Paulinus.
The philosopher brings up many Stoic principles on the nature of time, namely that people waste much of it in meaningless pursuits. On the Shortness of Life is a sublime read in its pithy totality.
Complement it with some Montaigne’s timeless lessons on the art of living and Alan Watts on how to live with presence. Thanks, Liz.
donating = loving. On the Shortness of Life has 10, ratings and reviews. Glenn said: The great Roman philosopher, statesman, dramatist Seneca (BC 4 – AD 64) wrote /5.Download