In the vast tapestry of human history, there exist certain moments that transcend time, reaching across the ages to touch our hearts and stir our souls. One such poignant event is the untimely death of Seneca, the venerable Roman philosopher, statesman, and Stoic sage. As we traverse the labyrinth of our modern lives, let us pause to reflect on Seneca’s legacy and the profound relevance of his tragic end, drawing wisdom and inspiration from the teachings of this extraordinary thinker.
Seneca’s writings, like ancient letters whispering across time, offer us solace and strength. In “Letters to Lucilius,” he shares wisdom on embracing tranquility in the midst of turmoil, reminding us that our happiness is rooted in our own mind and how we respond to life’s challenges.
“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.”On the Shortness of Life
The Shadows of Power: Navigating Ethical Storms
Seneca’s pivotal role as an advisor to the enigmatic Emperor Nero casts shadows upon the complexity of ethical dilemmas. In a world where the allure of power and influence can be intoxicating, Seneca’s life journey stands as a cautionary tale and a lesson for today’s leaders. It prompts us to introspect, to question our values, and to seek alignment between our principles and our actions. In a world longing for genuine leadership, Seneca’s steadfast dedication to virtue encourages us to be unwavering in our moral compass.
“Thus the wise man will not pity men, but will help them and be of service to them, seeing that he is born to be a help to all men and a public benefit, of which he will bestow a share upon every one. … Whenever he is able he will interpose between Fortune and her victims: for what better employment can he find for his wealth or his strength than in setting up again what chance has overthrown?”On Clemency
Tragedy and Triumph: The Legacy of a Forced Farewell
The circumstances surrounding Seneca’s death reverberate with echoes of sorrow and courage, etching themselves into the annals of time. As fate forced him to choose between life and dignity, Seneca’s decision to meet his demise with bravery and poise testifies to the strength of the human spirit. His unwavering commitment to his philosophical principles amidst turmoil remains a symbol of hope and resilience for those grappling with adversity today.
“Let us prepare our minds as if we’d come to the very end of life. Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life’s books each day. The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.”
On the Shortness of Life
Applying Seneca’s Wisdom to Nurture Our Contemporary Souls
Amidst the clamor of the 21st century, Seneca’s wisdom emerges as a soothing balm for our collective souls. His timeless advice to cultivate self-awareness, to cherish the present, and to seek contentment within our inner selves rings louder than ever. Seneca reminds us that we hold the power to shape our own destinies, to choose our responses to life’s tempests, and to forge our paths with integrity and compassion.
As we pay homage to Seneca’s memory, let us embrace the legacy of his teachings in our lives. Let us honor his life by becoming kinder, wiser, and more empathetic souls, fostering a world where the light of Stoic wisdom illuminates even the darkest of moments.
In this fleeting journey of life, may we find strength and inspiration in the echoes of Seneca’s timeless lessons, carrying his torch forward to illuminate our own lives and those of others.
Take advantage of this exceptional chance to acquire invaluable insights from Seneca’s wisdom and explore practical strategies for managing the emotions of anger, fear, and sadness that each one of us encounters.
Join us for On Seneca: Anger, Fear, and Sadness this Saturday, August 19th, and engage in enriching conversations with esteemed authors and academics—who will be answering live audience questions for 5-7 minutes post presentation—in Stoic philosophy and the teachings of Seneca, including:
- David Fideler, author of Breakfast with Seneca and editor of the Stoic Insights website. Dr, Fideler will be speaking on “Seneca’s Philosophy as a Real World Pursuit”.
- James Romm, Professor of Classics at Bard College, author of Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero. Prof. Romm will be speaking on “Anger and Madness: Seneca’s goals in On Anger and Medea”.
- Christopher Star, Professor of Classics at Middlebury College, author of The Empire of the Self: Self-Command and Political Speech in Seneca and Petronius. Prof. Star will be speaking on “Following Nature: Reading Seneca During the Climate Crisis”.
- Lalya Lloyd, writer and classicist, Eton College, University College School. Lalya will be speaking on “Is Seneca’s Depression Just a Rich People Problem?”
- Margaret Graver, Professor of Classics at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, author of Stoicism and Emotion and Seneca: The Literary Philosopher. Prof. Graver will be speaking on “On Reading Seneca’s Letters”.
Hosted by Anya Leonard of Classical Wisdom and Donald Robertson.
This event is FREE to register. You may also donate an amount of your choosing. Your generosity keeps us hosting these virtual events. Donations also go towards the development of a PAC on-site location near the original Plato’s Academy in Akadimia Platonos, Athens. There’s also no need to worry if you’re unavailable on the day. A recording will be sent to all pre-registrants post event.
We look forward to seeing all of you this Saturday, August 19th at 12 pm EDT!