SLRP: XXXVI. On The Value Of Retirement



‘Aristo used to say that he preferred a youth of stern disposition to one who was a jolly fellow and agreeable to the crowd. “For,” he added, “wine which, when new, seemed harsh and sour, becomes good wine; but that which tasted well at the vintage cannot stand age.” ‘

I’m not sure I can rightly be called a youth any more, but “of stern disposition” is probably not inappropriate.  Whether that seems to produce a good aged vintage is to be seen.  (;

The crux of the issue regarding ‘retirement’ as you’ve put it, seems to be the stress that’s caused when one is torn between the values of philosophy and the values of society.  If one is expected to heap up a great surfeit of property, money, and status; the person doing the very opposite while working on themselves seems to be doing something vicious.

I suspect the moral here isn’t just for the retirement of one’s twilight years, as we think of it today, but rather the retirement (or renouncing) of the world in general.  To focus on philosophy, we must renounce certain things which the society says we must have to be happy.


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

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