At first, I found this portion of Stoic virtue confusing, until I realized something. It seems to me that once one becomes a Sage, there’s no more backsliding. Before I realized that, the idea that virtue for a day is equal to a lifetime confused me.
“Scale down the honorable life as much as you like from the full hundred years, and reduce it to a single day; it is equally honourable.”
How could that be? If there’s no backsliding, then this idea becomes a beacon of hope. If one person becomes Wise instantly, and lives many decades in that state before dying, and another person trains and makes progress for decades, only becoming Wise on the last day of their life, the “goodness” is equivalent.
It’s the inverse of the “drowning by an inch or a mile” issue of vice. Only when I framed it in the context not of the Sage losing something, but as our end result, did this make sense.