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On the Shortness of Life af Seneca
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On the Shortness of Life

af Seneca

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1,732367,627 (4.02)12
The Stoic writings of the philosopher Seneca offer powerful insights into the art of living and the importance of reason and morality, and continue to provide profound guidance to many through their eloquence, lucidity and timeless wisdom.
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Titel:On the Shortness of Life
Forfattere:Seneca
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Samlinger:Philosophy
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Nøgleord:Ingen

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I had set my expectations way higher based on what I had heard about Seneca-a wise man.

I think the basic idea of the book/essay is good (and kind of obvious), this is an excerpt of the foundation of the book:

'Why are you idle? If you don't grasp [time] first, it flees.' And even if you do grasp it, it will still flee. So you must match time's swiftness with your speed in using it, and you must drink quickly as though from a rapid stream that will not always flow.

That's the acceptable part, but Seneca starts criticizing all activities, including art, study of history, etc., calling them pointless, while praising philosophy as the ultimate leisure, the one and only thing in the world worth spending time on.
There are also repetitive explanations and examples about how people look back at their lives when they get old, and most of them find their lives empty of leisure and other repeated pieces throughout.

I read the first part "On the Shortness of Life" and skimmed the other two parts "Consolation to Helvia" and "On Tranquility of Mind", not finding them interesting. ( )
  mdibaiee | Sep 23, 2021 |
Na coleção Grandes Ideias, dois textos clássicos e incontornáveis de Sêneca sobre a arte de viver.

Os escritos do filósofo estoico Sêneca pertencem à categoria de obras que mudaram a humanidade e que, universais, resistem à passagem do tempo. Por meio de insights poderosos, eles transformam a maneira como nos vemos e já serviram de guia para inúmeras gerações por sua eloquência, lucidez e sabedoria.
Sobre a brevidade da vida e Sobre a firmeza do sábio foram concebidos em forma de cartas e apresentam reflexões essenciais quanto à arte de viver, à passagem do tempo e à importância da razão e da moralidade.
Traduzida do latim por José Eduardo S. Lohner, esta edição conta ainda com notas esclarecedoras do tradutor.
  matheus1berto21 | Jul 9, 2021 |
There's two books I wish I read when I was pre-pubescent. This and "What is Man". I sent the latter to my god-son and have a copy of both for myself. EVERYONE... yes EVERYONE should read this absolute gem. It is a short read in old english broken into 1-4 page chapters and sets principles I wish I framed all my life choices around. Whether you are a sincerely active religious person or someone contemplative, someone makink career and life choices, if you have not read this, you may not have all the puzzle pieces. Topics include pursuit of romance, wealth, fame, ... and puts them in a perspective that is highly challenging. I'm not mentioning the specifics because it's worth catching them in context. Short but worth many times over the purchase price. Get a copy in the hands of all your children,grandchildre, neices and nephews. ( )
  CultDoctor | Mar 1, 2021 |
The edition that I possess has three sections.
The first is called “On the Shortness of Life”. The second is “Consolation to Helvia”, and the third is “On Tranquility of Mind”.
Seneca followed a different structure for each.
“On the Shortness of Life” is an essay. This contains gems of wisdom. It is a strange commentary on human nature that we are still repeating what he said about 2,000 years ago. For instance, he writes, “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 great by greater toil.”
This was true then. It is true today.
“Consolation to Helvia” seems to be a letter addressed to his mother, in which he tries to allay her fears about him. He has tried to console her in this letter, and then has moved on to describing some of his own philosophy. He is a Stoic, and repeatedly acknowledges his debt to Zeno, the founder of the Stoic school. Again, while speaking of his lifestyle and philosophy, he leaves us with much food for thought.
For instance, he wrote, “We do not need to scour every ocean, or to load our bellies with the slaughter of animals, or to pluck shellfish from the unknown shores of the furthest sea.”
Our lifestyle today, is unsustainable. We are, as human beings, creating the sixth extinction. Seneca warned us almost 2,000 years ago.
The third section starts almost as a dialogue. Rather, Serenus, a friend of Seneca, has come to Seneca with a problem. His mind is not quiet. He seeks tranquility. Seneca again launched into his essay. He quoted Lucretius at one point, “Thus each man ever flees himself.” Then, he goes on to write, “But, to what end, if he does not escape himself”
He also writes, “He who fears death will never do anything worthy of a living man.”
There is deep philosophy in sentences like this.
The book is short. The writing clear. Not a word is wasted.
This is a book for the keeping. Learn the lessons and apply them. This is when you will discover the gems of wisdom in this book. ( )
  RajivC | Jan 12, 2021 |
I think this review is really gonna say something unique and insightful about Seneca. Let me gather my thoughts real quick.

Nevermind. For people with problems like mine, the book speaks directly to them. I have a couple successful friends, though, who think stoicism is a yeah-duh philosophy. Fuck you people, not everyone's at put together as you are! I kid, I kid.

The first few chapters are so densely quotable with takeaways ("such things are more impressive in their fulfillment than in their promise"), that it got pointless to take notes after a while, since ultimately I just need to reread the first few chapters every once in a while to keep it all fresh. The middle lags a bit, and the end picks right back up.

What hits home is not the volume of "good quotes" and takeaways, those things are easy to parrot off and accomplish little. But the lens through which Seneca views problems is what I found most valuable, and what I'd actually want to revisit and implement in my own life. For analytical skeptics, such an unscientific interest is pretty unusual, (phrases like the early 2000's "paradigm shift" raise the bullshit detector) but every once in a while that bullshit detector actually acts as a firewall, letting some things in while keeping out the rest. Astrology, Tony Robbins, they can stand at the door. Seneca can, and must, come on in. ( )
  pmcinern | May 10, 2020 |
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Most human beings, Paulinus, complain about the meanness of nature, because we are born for a brief span of life, and because this spell of time that has been given us rushes by so swiftly and rapidly that with very few exceptions life ceases for the rest of us just when we are getting ready for it.
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This work contains three of Seneca's essays: "On the Shortness of Life"; "Consolation to Helvia", and; "On Tranquillity of Mind".

Please do not combine with works containing other selections of material.
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The Stoic writings of the philosopher Seneca offer powerful insights into the art of living and the importance of reason and morality, and continue to provide profound guidance to many through their eloquence, lucidity and timeless wisdom.

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