05 November 2012

Seneca on philosophizing

Non cum vacaueris philosophandum est, sed ut philosopheris vacandum est; omnia alia neglegenda ut huic assideamus, cui nullum tempus satis magnum est, etiam si a pueritia usque ad longissimos humani aevi terminos vita producitur. Non multum refert utrum omittas philosophiam an intermittas; non enim ubi interrupta est manet, sed eorum more quae intenta dissiliunt usque ad initia sua recurrit, quod a continuatione discessit. (Seneca Ep. ad Lucilium LXXII)

"Not when you are free is the time to philosophize, but you have to free your time to philosophize; everything else is to be neglected so that we devote ourselves assiduously to that for which there is never enough time, even if life is extended from childhood to the longest extremes of human age. It doesn't matter much whether you omit philosophizing or it is intermittent, for it doesn't remain where it was when interrupted, but, in the same way as something compressed springs back, whatever lets up from continuity recurs to its initial state."

Does this message from Seneca make any sense today? Who's listening? Philosophy's not for everybody, yet everybody, unwittingly or not, lives its consequences.

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