Today, let me introduce you to Lucius Annaeus Seneca, better known as Seneca the Younger, or just plain Seneca.
He is remembered as the advisor to the Roman Emperor Nero, an author, philosopher, politician, playwright and speaker, living at the same time as Jesus Christ.
For Stoics he is most celebrated for his works “De Ira” (“On Anger”), “De Providentia” (“On Providence”), and my favourite, “De Brevitate Vitae” (“On the Shortness of Life”).
“Show me that the good in life does not depend upon life’s length, but upon the use we make of it; also, that it is possible, or rather usual, for a man who has lived long to have lived too little.” – Seneca the Younger
On The Shortness of Life by Seneca the Younger is a short letter written roughly two thousand years ago. It’s a timeless work of “memento mori”, demonstrating that even the longest life may be worthless if not lived well.
As do many modern-day Stoics, I suggest that you read or listen to it on a regular basis, as it focuses me by underscoring how much time we’re given, and yet how easily we misuse or waste it.
This theme never changes. It’s as important to us all now, as it was 2000+ years ago when Seneca wrote about it.
Tim Ferris of the 4-hour workweek fame, produced The Tao of Seneca: Letters from a Stoic Master which are three volumes of Stoic writing starring Seneca, complete with original illustrations, profiles of modern Stoic figures, interviews, original Japanese and Chinese calligraphy to match themes, and much more. They are totally free and you can download the PDFs below. Sharing is encouraged.
I hope you find Seneca’s wisdom as life-changing as I have.
Tao of Seneca: Volume 1
Tao of Seneca: Volume 2
Tao of Seneca: Volume 3