SLRP: LIX. On Pleasure And Joy (Part 2: 9 – 18)



“[W]hy is it that folly holds us with such an insistent grasp? It is, primarily, because we do not combat it strongly enough, because we do not struggle towards salvation with all our might; secondly, because we do not put sufficient trust in the discoveries of the wise, and do not drink in their words with open hearts; we approach this great problem in too trifling a spirit.”

Here, this is the reason.  We have many and many modern Stoics who discount the words of the very people the profess to follow.  “No, no, they didn’t really mean we should do these things.  It’s all tricks and lifehacks for dealing with modern stress.”  Bah.

But what’s worse, those who would discount out of hand the teachings or those who see that the teachings are needed, but don’t do it anyway?

““You call me a man of sense, but I understand how many of the things which I crave are useless, and how many of the things which I desire will do me harm. I have not even the knowledge, which satiety teaches to animals, of what should be the measure of my food or my drink. I do not yet know how much I can hold.””

Clearly then, the latter.  Which is the camp I’m firmly in.  I can clearly see that explicit recommendations are laid out… I’m just not doing them.

“But how can a man learn, in the struggle against his vices, an amount that is enough, if the time which he gives to learning is only the amount left over from his vices? None of us goes deep below the surface. We skim the top only, and we regard the smattering of time spent in the search for wisdom as enough and to spare for a busy man.”

It seems that there can be no “part-time philosophers.”  Most of us, myself included, our tourists.  That’s an untenable situation, one which will either result in our buckling down and really getting to work, or moving on to a different hobby at some point.

Thank you for the letter today, it’s an excellent mirror which shows a dingy reflection.


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

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