Seneca de brevitate vitae 14

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de Brevitate Vitae, Moral essays Vol 2

seneca de brevitate vitae 14

Seneca, De Clementia I, IX, 12

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The majority of mortals, Paulinus, 1 complain bitterly of the spitefulness of Nature, because we are born for a brief span of life, because even this space that has been granted to us rushes by so speedily and so swiftly that all save a very few find life at an end just when they are getting ready to live. Nor is it merely the common herd and the unthinking crowd that bemoan what is, as men deem it, an universal ill; the same feeling has called forth complaint also from men who were famous. It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. 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. But when it is squandered in luxury and carelessness, when it is devoted to no good end, forced at last by the ultimate necessity we perceive that it has passed away before we were aware that it was passing. 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.

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Seneca: De otio; De brevitate vitae / Edition 1

Nec huic publico, ut opinantur, malo turba tantum et imprudens uulgus ingemuit; clarorum quoque uirorum hic affectus querellas euocauit. Inde Aristotelis cum rerum natura exigentis minime conueniens sapienti uiro lis: "aetatis illam animalibus tantum indulsisse, ut quina aut dena saecula educerent, homini in tam multa ac magna genito tanto citeriorem terminum stare. Satis longa uita et in maximarum rerum consummationem large data est, si tota bene collocaretur; sed ubi per luxum ac neglegentiam diffluit, ubi nulli bonae rei impenditur, ultima demum necessitate cogente, quam ire non intelleximus transisse sentimus.

De brevitate vitae

The philosopher brings up many Stoic principles on the nature of time , namely that people waste much of it in meaningless pursuits. According to the essay, nature gives people enough time to do what is really important and the individual must allot it properly. In general, time is best used by living in the present moment in pursuit of the intentional, purposeful life. Similar ideas can be found in Seneca's treatise De Otio On Leisure and discussion of these themes can often be found in his Letters to Lucilius letter 49, , etc. The work is addressed to a man called Paulinus—probably Pompeius Paulinus, a knight of Arelate —and is usually dated to around 49 AD. It is clear from chapters 18 and 19 of De Brevitate Vitae that Paulinus was praefectus annonae , the official who superintended the grain supply of Rome, and was, therefore, a man of importance. He was likely a near relative of Seneca's wife, Pompeia Paulina , and quite plausibly her father.

Satire in Seneca's De Brevitate Vitae. Siquidem vita brevis, sensus hebes, neglegentiae torpor, inutilis occupatio, nos paucula scire permittunt In his provocative, exciting, and inspiring Dialogue, the De Brevitate Vitae, Seneca paradoxically argues that life is not short but that man by his folly hastens its brevity. Addressed to Paulinus praefectus annonae, and perhaps a relative of Seneca's wife Pompeia Paulina 2, and written about A. And we might add that nowhere in literature are such pithy remarks more colored by paradox, satire, and irony. Indeed, upon the foundation of a very serious contention - that men fritter away time and, because of their bad habits and vices, waste their lives - is mounted a host of satiric ploys.

De Otio; de Brevitate Vitae





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