My highlights from On the Shortness of Life by Seneca
Here are some of the highlights I got from reading this book
I have recently finished reading Seneca's essays collected into the book On the Shortness of Life.
This is the first book related to stoicism I have read, I would like to read more.
I wanted to share some of the highlights I made whilst reading the book, if I am honest mainly for myself when I come to want to refresh my memory on parts but you may find them useful too!
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.
I like the idea of basing length of life on the quality of the life not the years.
Meanwhile death will arrive, and you have no choice in making yourself available for that.
Again this was around the idea of not being idle and having a worthwhile quality of life.
The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today.
Seneca seems to be the master of one liners like this.
So it is inevitable that life will be not just very short but very miserable for those who acquire by great toil what they must keep by greater toil.
I love the idea of things like possessions ending up being a burden on you.
since the luxury of the times has reached the point where an exile’s allowance is more than the inheritance of leading men of old.
A reminder of how easy we have it these days.
long association brings love of evil as well as good.
My takeaway from this is how bad habits can easily form if you do them repeatedly.
Let no one rob me of a single day who is not going to make me an adequate return for such a loss.
Spending your time wisely.
So if you must fill your time, write something in a simple style for your own use and not for publication
There is a lot of stuff in the essays around not relying on others, I think this makes a lot of sense.
I imagine many people could have achieved wisdom if they had not imagined they had already achieved it
Always be learning!
Above all it is essential to appraise oneself, because we usually overestimate our capabilities.
Pretty self explanatory
You must reflect that fettered prisoners only at first feel the weight of the shackles on their legs: in time, when they have decided not to struggle against but to bear them, they learn from necessity to endure with fortitude, and from habit to endure with ease.
A reminder that whilst bad habits can easily form over time, so can good ones.
all life is a servitude.
I liked this as a little sort of mantra, everyone serves someone or the things they own.
He who fears death will never do anything worthy of a living man.
Another quote about having a good quality of life and living in the moment more.
Know, then, that every condition can change, and whatever happens to anyone can happen to you too.
How we shouldn't try and be shaped by fortune because things can and do change, we see it all the time yet we don't expect it to happen to us.
So we should make light of all things and endure them with tolerance: it is more civilized to make fun of life than to bewail it.
I love this line.
However, the two things must be mingled and varied, solitude and joining a crowd: the one will make us long for people and the other for ourselves, and each will be a remedy for the other; solitude will cure our distaste for a crowd, and a crowd will cure our boredom with solitude.
I spend way too much time in solitude, I should try and vary this some.
Our minds must relax: they will rise better and keener after a rest.
Couldn't be quoted enough!