You may be sure that such a man is a friend to all mankind. He was the son of Seneca the Elder. Seneca (Letters from a Stoic – Letter VII: On Crowds), It is quality rather than quantity that matters. [Seneca’s] tremendous faith in philosophy … was grounded on a belief that her end was the practical one of curing souls, of bringing peace and order to the feverish minds of men pursuing the wrong aims in life. Whatever fortune he finds, he will accomplish therefrom something noteworthy. But I have been consigned, so to speak, to one special ailment. What else is there which you would regret to have taken from you? Is this the reason why you have leisure to reform other men?" Seneca (Letters from a Stoic – Letter CVI: On the Terrors of Death), It takes the whole of life to learn how to live, and – what will perhaps make you wonder more – it takes the whole of life to learn how to die. Whatever years be behind us are in death's hands.
Thereafter you shall teach me to work out complicated problems, to settle doubtful points, to see through that which is not clear; teach me now what it is necessary for me to know! Seneca (Letters from a Stoic), If one doesn’t know his mistakes, he won’t want to correct them. •
(translator unknown). Perhaps you have reached Athens, or perhaps Rhodes; choose any state you fancy, how does it matter what its character may be? We cannot yet bear heaven’s light except at intervals; look unfalteringly, then, to that decisive hour which is the body’s last but not the soul’s. Unimpaired prosperity cannot withstand a single blow; but he who has struggled constantly with his ills becomes hardened through suffering; and yields to no misfortune; nay, even if he falls, he still fights upon his knees. The process is mutual; for men learn while they teach. Who vaunts his race, lauds what belongs to others. — Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. No man can suffer both severely and for a long time; Nature, who loves us most tenderly, has so constituted us as to make pain either endurable or short. Lucius Annaeus Seneca, often known simply as Seneca, or Seneca the Younger, was a Roman philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and humorist.He was son of Seneca the Elder. This quote is often directly attributed to Seneca, but he is referring to lines 368-369 of, Alternate translation: Thrift comes too late when you find it at the bottom of your purse. Impurity is caused by attitude, not events. 1 quote from Thyestes: ‘Awake, my heart,And do such deeds as in the time to comeNo tongue shall praise, but none refuse to tell.’ I have begun to be a friend to myself.” That was indeed agreat benefit; such a person can never be alone. The whole of it calls for tears. Seneca (On The Shortness of Life – Chapter XVI), No evil propensity of the human heart is so powerful that it may not be subdued by discipline. Besides, he who follows another not only discovers nothing but is not even investigating. A sword by itself does not slay; it is merely the weapon used by the slayer. Whatever happened, he did not spurn it, as if it were evil and borne in upon him by hazard; he accepted it as if it were assigned to be his duty. Live with Chrysippus, with Posidonius: they will make you acquainted with things earthly and things heavenly; they will bid you work hard over something more than neat turns of language and phrases mouthed forth for the entertainment of listeners; they will bid you be stout of heart and rise superior to threats. There is no sorrow in the world, when we have escaped from the fear of death. That which Fortune has not given, she cannot take away. Seneca (Letters from a Stoic – Letter IV: On the Terrors of Death), You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire. For what else are you busied with except improving yourself every day, laying aside some error, and coming to understand that the faults which you attribute to circumstances are in yourself? You assured me that I should be unterrified though swords were flashing round me, though the point of the blade were grazing my throat; you assured me that I should be at ease though fires were blazing round me, or though a sudden whirlwind should snatch up my ship and carry it over all the sea. But the wise man is fortified against all inroads; he is alert; he will not retreat before the attack of poverty, or of sorrow, or of disgrace, or of pain. If you would not have a man flinch when the crisis comes, train him before it comes. Whenever he castigated our pleasure-seeking lives, and extolled personal purity, moderation in diet, and a mind free from unnecessary, not to speak of unlawful, pleasures, the desire came upon me to limit my food and drink. What? They can do these things, but decline to do them. Seneca (Letters from a Stoic – Letter LII: On Choosing our Teachers), It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Of course, however, the living voice and the intimacy of a common life will help you more than the written word.

Am I free from bonds now? But the fact is, children, old men, and the sick are most prone to anger, and weakness of any sort is by nature captious. For we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed. We ought not to fly into a rage even when the injury appears to be open and distinct: for some false things bear the semblance of truth. It is superior to all, monarch of all it surveys; hence it should be subservient to nothing, finding no task too heavy, and nothing strong enough to weigh down the shoulders of a man. Tell me what to avoid, what to seek, by what studies to strengthen my tottering mind, how I may rebuff the waves that strike me abeam and drive me from my course, by what means I may be able to cope with all my evils, and by what means I can be rid of the calamities that have plunged in upon me and those into which I myself have plunged. You will die, not because you are ill, but because you are alive; even when you have been cured, thesame end awaits you; when you have recovered, it will be not death, but ill health, that you have escaped. Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness. Seneca (Moral Letters to Lucilius – Letter 108). Seneca (The Madness of Hercules), If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living. His writings are mostly a reflection of that realizaton. The Stoics believed that man must resist and overcome the impulses, habits and fears which led people to vices, and in doing so, reaching a state of eudaimonia, blessed and tranquil state of mind. If you set a high value on liberty, you must set a low value on everything else. And yet life, Lucilius, is really a battle. “You must go now, fellow-soldiers, to yonder place, whence there is no ‘must’ about your returning!”. Seneca (Natural Questions), That man lives badly who does not know how to die well. Seneca (Letters from a Stoic – Letter LXXI: On the First Cause), Just as we suffer from excess in all things, so we suffer from excess in literature; thus we learn our lessons, not for life, but for the lecture room. Seneca (Thyestes), All art is but imitation of nature. Seneca (Letters from a Stoic – Letter XXIV: On Despising Death), The greatest hindrance to living is expectancy, which depends upon the morrow and wastes to-day. Most men ebb and flow in wretchedness between the fear of death and the hardships of life; they are unwilling to live, and yet they do not know how to die. Seneca (Letter to Serenus – On the Firmness of the Wise Man – Chapter VII), Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. Seneca (Epistles), No one is able to rule unless he is also able to be ruled. There is no reason why poverty should call us away from philosophy—no, nor even actual want. Now make good for me such a course of treatment that I may despise pleasure and glory. Strive to get clear notions about all.

Seneca (Letters from a Stoic – Letter XXII: On the Futility of Half-way Measures), It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. For this reason those who are tossed about at sea, who proceed uphill and downhill over toilsome crags and heights, who go on campaigns that bring the greatest danger, are heroes and front-rank fighters; but persons who live in rotten luxury and ease while others toil, are mere turtle-doves safe only because men despise them. Toward good men God has the mind of a father, he cherishes for them a manly love, and he says, "Let them be harassed by toil, by suffering, by losses, in order that they may gather true strength." Seneca (On The Shortness of Life – Chapter IX), Shun no toil to make yourself remarkable by some talent or other; yet do not devote yourself to one branch exclusively. He was chiefly known as a philosopher who taught the Stoic art of self-restraint, mainly in order to help man better navigate and cope with the harsh conditions of a short life. Persons like ourselves would do well to say. It is painful to be burned; but how much more painful to inflict such suffering upon oneself! For sometimes it is an act of bravery even to live. Also translated as: It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, but because we do not dare, things are difficult. Stoicism as a distinct school of philosophy is known to have been founded by Zeno of Citium (335-264 BCE). You must suffer pain, and thirst, and hunger, and old age too, if a longer stay among men shall be granted you; you must be sick, and you must suffer loss and death.


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