Seneca’s On the Happy Life

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A series of short audio meditations on Seneca’s On The happy Life, dedicated to his brother Gallio. Seneca explores what it means to live a good life as a human being. It turns out to be different from what most people think.

Section I: Seneca advises his brother, and us, not to listen to the random “shouts and clamors” of people, but to reflect carefully on what happiness is and how to achieve it.

Section I: Nothing gets us into greater troubles than our subservience to common rumor, living not by reason but by imitation of others.

Section II: These good things which men gaze at in wonder, which they crowd to see, which one points out to another with speechless admiration, are outwardly brilliant, but within are miseries to those who possess them.

Section III: When I say “our opinion,” I do not bind myself to any one of the chiefs of the Stoic school, for I too have a right to form my own opinion.

Section III: A happy life must also set due value upon all the things which adorn our lives, without over-estimating any one of them, and must be able to enjoy the bounty of Fortune without becoming her slave.

Section IV: The highest good is a mind which despises the accidents of fortune, and takes pleasure in virtue.

Section V: A person may be called “happy” who, thanks to reason, has ceased either to hope or to fear: but rocks also feel neither fear nor sadness, yet no one would call those things happy which cannot comprehend what happiness is.

Section V: For no one can be styled happy who is beyond the influence of truth.

Section VI: That person is happy, whose reason recommends to them the whole posture of their affairs.