Seneca and the Art of Living

Over 2000 years ago the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger wrote a book called On the Shortness of Life.

Two Thousand years later Maria Popova wrote a great blog post on Brain Pickings on that book and some reflections on how we use or waste our time.

Popova writes:

“How we spend our days,” Annie Dillard memorably wrote in her soul-stretching meditation on the life of presence, “is, of course, how we spend our lives.” And yet most of us spend our days in what Kierkegaard believed to be our greatest source of unhappiness — a refusal to recognize that “busy is a decision” and that presence is infinitely more rewarding than productivity. I frequently worry that being productive is the surest way to lull ourselves into a trance of passivity and busyness the greatest distraction from living, as we coast through our lives day after day, showing up for our obligations but being absent from ourselves, mistaking the doing for the being”.

I often discuss the concept of true wealth. How we live our lives is certainly a form of wealth. The life lived well is a source of great riches, though not all of them pecuniary. How we use our time may be far more important than how we use our money.

Seneca understood this 2000 years ago. I have to wonder if we understand it anymore 2000 years later. What do you think?

Read the rest here. 

Get the book here:

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.