Posts Tagged ‘Seneca the Younger’

6
May

Seneca the Younger Once Said…

by adminadam in quotes

  1. The point is, not how long you live, but how nobly you live.
  2. A good mind possesses a kingdom.
  3. Might makes right. – in Hercules Furens.
  4. Successful and fortunate crime is called virtue.
  5. Love of bustle is not industry.
  6. The best ideas are common property.
  7. Hope not without despair, despair not without hope. Nec speraveris sine desperatione nec desperaveris sine spe.
  8. Man is a reasoning animal.
  9. Kindly remember that he whom you call your slave sprang from the same stock, is smiled upon by the same skies, and on equal terms with yourself breathes, lives and dies.  (Remember: This man lived between 4 and 65 A.D.)
  10. You can tell the character of every man when you see how he receives praise.
  11. The wise man will live as long as he ought, not as long as he can.
  12. We are mad, not only individually, but nationally. We check manslaughter and isolated murders; but what of war and the much-vaunted crime of slaughtering whole peoples? There are no limits to our greed, none to our cruelty. And as long as such crimes are committed by stealth and by individuals, they are less harmful and less portentous; but cruelties are practised in accordance with acts of senate and popular assembly, and the public is bidden to do that which is forbidden to the individual. Deeds that would be punished by loss of life when committed in secret, are praised by us because uniformed generals have carried them out. Man, naturally the gentlest class of being, is not ashamed to revel in the blood of others, to wage war, and to entrust the waging of war to his sons, when even dumb beasts and wild beasts keep the peace with one another. Against this overmastering and widespread madness philosophy has become a matter of greater effort, and has taken on strength in proportion to the strength which is gained by the opposition forces.
  13. Not for life, but for school do we learn. (Often misquoted as Non scholae sed vitae discimus ‘Not for school, but for life do we learn.’)
  14. A great step towards independence is a good-humored stomach, one that is willing to endure rough treatment.
  15. I do not distinguish by the eye, but by the mind, which is the proper judge of the man.
  16. A great fortune is a great slavery.
  17. We are all chained to fortune: the chain of one is made of gold, and wide, while that of another is short and rusty. But what difference does it make? The same prison surrounds all of us, and even those who have bound others are bound themselves; unless perchance you think that a chain on the left side is lighter. Honors bind one man, wealth another; nobility oppresses some, humility others; some are held in subjection by an external power, while others obey the tyrant within; banishments keep some in one place, the priesthood others. All life is slavery. Therefore each one must accustom himself to his own condition and complain about it as little as possible, and lay hold of whatever good is to be found near him. Nothing is so bitter that a calm mind cannot find comfort in it. Small tablets, because of the writer’s skill, have often served for many purposes, and a clever arrangement has often made a very narrow piece of land habitable. Apply reason to difficulties; harsh circumstances can be softened, narrow limits can be widened, and burdensome things can be made to press less severely on those who bear them cleverly.
  18. Enjoy present pleasures in such a way as not to injure future ones.
  19. Fate leads the willing, and drags along the reluctant.
  20. Shame may restrain what law does not prohibit.
  21. The pressure of adversity does not affect the mind of the brave man. It is more powerful than external circumstances.
  22. A person’s fears are lighter when the danger is at hand.
  23. A physician is not angry at the intemperance of a mad patient, nor does he take it ill to be railed at by a man in fever. Just so should a wise man treat all mankind, as a physician does his patient, and look upon them only as sick and extravagant.
  24. No man was ever wise by chance.
  25. Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk.
  26. Behold a worthy sight, to which the God, turning his attention to his own work, may direct his gaze. Behold an equal thing, worthy of a God, a brave man matched in conflict with evil fortune.
  27. I never come back home with the same moral character I went out with; something or other becomes unsettled where I had achieved internal peace; some one or other of the things I had put to flight reappears on the scene.
  28. I will govern my life and thoughts as if the whole world were to see the one and read the other, for what does it signify to make anything a secret to my neighbor, when to God, who is the searcher of our hearts, all our privacies are open?
  29. It is another’s fault if he be ungrateful, but it is mine if I do not give. To find one thankful man, I will oblige a great many that are not so.
  30. It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.
  31. The mind that is anxious about the future is miserable.
  32. A well governed appetite is the greater part of liberty.
  33. Shun no toil to make yourself remarkable by some talent or other; yet do not devote yourself to one branch exclusively. Strive to get clear notions about all. Give up no science entirely; for science is but one.
  34. Let us train our minds to desire what the situation demands.
  35. Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.

Read Seneca’s works online: here.