Essays > Personalities — 15 September 2015

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (aka Seneca the Younger, 4 BCE – 65 CE) was born in Cordoba, Spain and raised in Rome, Italy.

He was a major philosophical figure of the Roman Imperial Period; a Stoic philosopher (writing in Latin), statesman, dramatist (among them Phaedra, Oedipus, Medea, The Madness of Hercules), and he also wrote one satire –  Apocolocyntosis divi Claudii (The Pumpkinification of the Divine Claudius). For eight years he was a tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero. While he was forced to commit suicide for alleged complicity in the Pisonian conspiracy to assassinate Nero, some sources state that he may have been innocent.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

 

Seneca harshly exposed the society of that age in his writings, yet uncomplimentary rumors were circulating about his hypocrisy and venality, and his conduct was said to be diametrically opposed to his philosophy.

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.
So it is — the life we receive is not short, but we make it so,
nor do we have any lack of it, but are wasteful of it.

Lucius Seneca, excerpt from On the Shortness of Life

However, Seneca’s observations in the above essay will surprise the reader – even though it was penned 2,000 years ago, describing life among the Romans and their traits. It is also a mirror of our present age which makes it quite clear that man hasn’t changed much at all. Still the same mind, the same greed, ambition and vices that bring to the fore the need for a new man to appear on Earth.

Ultimately, Seneca argues that we are standing in our own way.

With thanks to Ram for bringing Seneca’s writings to our attention.

Related discourse excerpt by Osho
Except for Mankind, The Earth Is One

Article by Bhagawati

 

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