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Thinkers: Seneca

Thinkers: Seneca

Though it’s not easy to imagine ancient Roman philosophers discussing our existence as they swing back and forth on a hammock overlooking a valley, we’re sure that they would have preferred to a curule chair.

With contemplating and philosophy in mind, if you’re craving a little bit of brain food the next time you set your feet up and outlook to the horizon, here is a short n’ sweet entry for you to enjoy.

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Of ancient philosophers, Seneca was among one of the most influential. Though this work was not limited to Stoicism, he was a great contributor.

Stoicism, “asserts that virtue (such as wisdom) is happiness and judgment should be based on behavior, rather than words. That we don’t control and cannot rely on external events, only ourselves and our responses.”

Seneca’s life was a rollercoaster. Once a prestigious financial clerk, Seneca encountered complications with the emperor of the time to which led to his exile and later his death. Throughout his troubles, he put this philosophy to use to manage and surpass the ebbs and flows of life.

This can be seen in many of his writings and quotes. Below are some of the simple lessons that he left behind:

On Enjoying the Present Moment

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so, wants nothing.”

On Finding Someone To Look Up To

“So choose yourself ...a man whose character is not quite so strict. Choose someone whose way of life as well as words, and whose very face as mirroring the character that lies behind it, have won your approval. Be always pointing him out to yourself either as your guardian or as your model. There is a need, in my view, for someone as a standard against which our characters can measure themselves. Without a ruler to do it against you won’t make crooked straight.”

As expressed by the Daily Stoic, “He understood well enough that he was imperfect and was forced to walk incredibly difficult paths. His life was one of riches, power, ambition, politics—but also one—to the best of his extent—of philosophy, introspection, and self-awareness.”

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Many of the ideas that shape our culture and current efforts to live internally can be attributed to him and men like him. Enjoy more posts like these are our blog. Feel free to reach out to us to learn more about any other famous philosophers you’d like to learn more about.

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