SLRP: LXXVI. On Learning Wisdom In Old Age (Part 2: 11 – 17)



“For all other things, which arouse our desires, depress the soul and weaken it, and when we think that they are uplifting the soul, they are merely puffing it up and cheating it with much emptiness. Therefore, that alone is good which will make the soul better.” 

While studying philosophy, it seems we have just many things to unlearn as we do to learn.  When we are talking about ἐπιθυμία-desire, and the need to irradiate or suspend certain hankerings, that flies in the face of what we have spent a goodly portion of our lives until now doing.

We have hankered after titles, fame, money, power, influence, renown, body-pleasures, and more besides.  The bit I’ve quoted at the top, the mere puffing up, a cheating emptiness: this is what ἐπιθυμία-desire promises.  And, like a thing true to its nature, it delivers.

It’s difficult to go through one’s life with the fine toothed comb, hunting and picking for these emptinesses.  But it’s a necessary thing.  I hope my experiment with Camp Seneca helps with this process.


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

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