SLRP: XIII. On Groundless Fears (Part 2: 10 – 17)

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Seneca,

“And even though it is ordained to be, what does it avail to run out to meet your suffering? You will suffer soon enough, when it arrives; so look forward meanwhile to better things.”

It seems you’ve been hanging out in the Garden a bit much, of late.  This looking forward to better things might be a reasonable pedagogical step for the new student.  It’s probably better for the average person’s mental equilibrium.  But for we philosophers of the Stoic school, ἀταραξία (ataraxia) should not be a goal.  It might be a pleasant ancillary benefit, but our focus should be elswhere.

While the ἰδιῶται (idiotai) or ‘uninstructed persons’ might simply be seeking relief from mental anguish (understandable), others of us earnestly desire progress of a different sort.

My worry, is that since your early letters assume someone new to our School, that many readers will take these precepts as indicative of the School, and not the mere pedagogical technique of appealing to an eclectic brand of help which I suspect it to be.

It is with that caveat, I bid you farewell.


Part of Michel Daw’s Reading Plan of Seneca’s Letters.

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