SLRP: XXX. On Conquering The Conqueror

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Seneca,

The part of you letter which really stuck out at me is the observation that men look forward only to that which is sure, and fear that which is uncertain.  Yet death is both of these, and it seems fear gets the better part of it.

I think I’ve mentioned before how today, we hide away death.  It’s clean and sterile.  The even hide the bodies of the dead in the hospital.  Better to not upset the people, that way.

This is a relatively new phenomenon, I expect.  Of course, this changes depending on the place in question, but it’s fair to say most folks were more familiar with death, and at a younger age, than we ourselves are.

Anyone producing their own food, or living far from a doctor would see more death (and life) in four seasons that most of us do in a decade.

I remember when I was fifteen, I saw a dead body for the first time outside of a hospital or funeral home.  It was shocking to me, and had a fairly profound effect.  No one else in my car had seen it; the results of an auto-accident.

But I saw it.  That evening, I was going to a concert, and I barely heard the music, I was thinking about that man on the road.

Death might come knocking at any time, despite our plans and projects.

Your letter today focuses rather on that slow dying process of old age, rather than the abrupt snuffing out; but no one’s time is guaranteed, nor the  manner.

Farewell.


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

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