SLRP: LXXIX. On The Rewards Of Discovery (Part 1: 1-10)


This letter reminds me of Natural Questions in which discussions of the facts of nature, as then understood, are punctuated by moral and ethical discussions.  This is an interesting style, and if it’s common, your writings, Seneca, are my only exposure to it.

“The seas do not increase in bulk. The universe keeps the same character, the same limits. Things which have reached their full stature cannot grow higher. Men who have attained wisdom will therefore be equal and on the same footing. Each of them will possess his own peculiar gifts – one will be more affable, another more facile, another more ready of speech, a fourth more eloquent; but as regards the quality under discussion, – the element that produces happiness, – it is equal in them all.”

This is an interesting point.  I think the common conception of a certain achievement, or excellence, is that the people who have them are cookie-cutter standouts of the same type.  You see this in people dedicated to certain styles of life.  Priests, monks, nuns, sadhus, whatever:  people expect one type, but like any walk of life, there are many kinds of folks on that path.

It’s interesting to apply to the Sage.

“[V]irtue will not be brought down to a lower plane either by flames or by ruins. Hers is the only greatness that knows no lowering; there can be for her no further rising or sinking. Her stature, like that of the stars in the heavens, is fixed. Let us therefore strive to raise ourselves to this altitude.”


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

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