As former tutor and adviser to Emperor Nero, the philosopher and statesman Seneca was acutely aware how short life can be – his own life was cut short when ordered by the Emperor to commit suicide (for alleged involvement in a conspiracy). And Seneca proved true to his words – his life-long avowal to Stoicism enabled him to conduct himself with dignity to the end. During his rich and busy life, Seneca wrote a series of essays that have advised and enriched the lives of generations down to the present day. This collection contains five of the key essays: On the Shortness of Life, On The Happy Life, On The Tranquil Mind, On Providence and On The Firmness of the Wise Person, and they are replete with observations to remember. ‘Those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear for the future have a life that is very brief and troubled,’ Seneca warns. ‘You have all the fears of mortals and all the desires of immortals.’ ‘As long as we wander at random, not following any guide except the shouts and discordant clamours of those who invite us to proceed in different directions, our short life will be wasted in useless roamings.’ Clarity, steadfastness, true enjoyment are his watchwords.
Translation: Aubrey Stewart
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