Friday Musings – On The Shortness of Life by Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca

On the Shortness of Life, is a thought provoking stoic book with core message being about the  most valuable thing in our life which is “Time”. Seneca himself was a very wealthy Roman stoic philosopher, tutor to a Roman emperor and his contributions to the stoic philosophy was huge.

Here are 2 small but most profound excerpts from Seneca`s “Shortness of life”:

It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.

Everyone hustles his life along, and is troubled by a longing for the future and weariness of the present. But the man who .. organizes every day as though it were his last, neither longs for nor fears the next day… Nothing can be taken from this life, and you can only add to it as if giving to a man who is already full and satisfied food which he does not want but can hold. So you must not think a man has lived long because he has white hair and wrinkles: he has not lived long, just existed long. For suppose you should think that a man had had a long voyage who had been caught in a raging storm as he left harbor, and carried hither and thither and driven round and round in a circle by the rage of opposing winds? He did not have a long voyage, just a long tossing about.

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