Notes from reading: On shortness of life by Seneca

Senaca was one advisor to emperor Nero from Rome. He was also one of the founding father of stoics school of philosophy.  In this chapter Seneca writes about our life  and how short our life is in general.

These are some notes from the book:

  1. Life is short, art is long.
  2. Our life is amply long for him who orders it properly.
  3. It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we have waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested.
  4. Can anyone have the hardihood to complain of the pride of another when he himself has no time to attend himself?
  5. In guarding their fortune men are often closefisted, yet, when it comes to the matter of wasting time, in the case of the one thing in which it is right to be miserly, they show themselves most prodigal.
  6. You have all the fears of mortals and all the desires of immortals.
  7. Hoe late it is to begin to live just when we must cease to live! What foolish forgetfulness of mortality to postpone wholesome plans to the fiftieth and sixtieth year, and to intend to begin life at a point to which few have attained!
  8. Among the worst i count also those who have time for nothing but wine and lust; for none have more shameful engrossments.
  9. Everybody agrees that no one pursuit can be successfully followed by a man who is busied with many things.
  10. It takes the whole of life to learn how to live, and – what will perhaps make you wonder more – it takes the whole of life to learn how to die.
  11.  It takes a great man and who has risen far above human weakness not to allow any  of his time to be filched from him, and it follows that the life of such a man is very long because he has devoted wholly to himself whatever time he has had.
  12. Everyone hurries his life on and suffers from a yearnings for the future and a weariness of the present. But he who bestows all of his time on his own needs, who plans out every day as if it were his last, neither longs for nor fears the morrow.
  13. The greatest hinderance to living is expectancy, which depends upon the morrow  and wastes to-day. You dispose of that which lies in the hands of fortune, you let go that which lies in your own.
  14. Life is divided into three periods – that which has been, that which is, that which ill be. Of these the present time is short, the future is doubtful, the past is certain.
  15. The engrossed, therefore, are concerned with present time alone, and it is so brief that it cannot be grasped, and even this is filched away from them, distracted as they are among many things.
  16. O, what blindness does great prosperity cast upon our minds!
  17. You win love in an office in which it is difficult to avoid hatred; but nevertheless belive me, it is better to have knowledge of the ledger of on’e own life than that of the corn-market.
  18. A hungry people neither listens to reason, nor is appeased by justice, nor is bent by any entreaty.
  19. It is more difficult for men to obtain leisure from themselves than from the law.