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70 phrases by Seneca to understand his philosophy

Seneca's name is known as that of one of the best known philosophers of antiquity. Named Lucius Annaeus Seneca, this thinker and maximum exponent of the philosophical current known as Stoicism was born around the year 4 a. C. and died in 65 d. C., being forced to commit suicide.

This great author, who also had great relevance in the management of the Roman Empire during the growth of the emperor Nero (who would end up ordering his execution), has left us deep reflections throughout his works philosophical. In this article we will see some of Seneca's phrases best known on various topics, especially linked to morality.

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70 of Seneca's best known phrases

Seneca is an author especially known on a philosophical level for his reflections and theories on morality. Next we will review a seventy of the best known phrases of this classical Greek author.

1. Life is like a legend: it does not matter that it is long, but that it is well narrated

It does not matter how long we live but how we do it.

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2. A man without passions is so close to stupidity that he only needs to open his mouth to fall into it

The author criticizes the absence of passion, an element that leads us to live and act as we want to.

3. We do not dare to many things because they are difficult, but they are difficult because we do not dare to do them

Many things that are considered impossible are only so because they are not tried. This phrase pushes us to dare to fight for what we want.

4. Through the rough you reach the stars

This phrase tells us that the path to happiness is full of obstacles, and that only facing difficulties will lead us to our goals.

5. The greatest obstacle in life is waiting for tomorrow and the loss of today

This phrase reflects the fact that we tend to lose our present worrying about the future, not being able to enjoy today.

6. Anger: an acid that can do more damage to the container in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured

Interesting reflection that lets us see that anger and hatred end up doing more harm to the person himself than to whom he is directed.

7. There is no one less fortunate than the man whom adversity forgets, for he has no opportunity to test himself

Difficulties force us to improve ourselves, they put us to the test in such a way that we emerge stronger and we are able to overcome new obstacles. Someone who goes the easy way and does not face difficulties will never know what he is capable of.

8. The noble soul possesses the great quality of being passionate about honest things

Honesty and virtue are highly valued values, and nobility means being able to pursue just causes, motivations, and aspirations.

9. What you think of yourself matters much more than what others think of you

Seneca expresses the need to value oneself and give due importance to the opinions of others.

10. Say what we feel. Feel what we say. Match the words with life

Phrase that reflects the importance of being honest with yourself and acting according to what we feel.

11. Life is divided into three times: present, past and future. Of these, the present is very brief; the future, doubtful; the past, right

Seneca tells us about the three moments in which we can compartmentalize time, reflecting that the past is true and now has happened, the future can vary enormously and the present is a short time that will lead us to one and the other future.

12. When in the midst of adversity, it is too late to be cautious

Prudence and reflection are necessary to assess how to act, but they have their time: we must be able to live and react to what happens in the immediate moment.

13. There is no greater cause of crying than not being able to cry

Being able to express what we feel allows us to vent, free ourselves from sadness. However, if we don't, this feeling becomes entrenched and continues in us for a long time.

14. Do you want to know what freedom is? Not to be a slave to anything, to any necessity, to no chance, to reduce fortune to terms of equity

Seneca identifies freedom with not needing anything to the point of depending on it.

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15. Know that when one is a friend of himself, he is also a friend of everyone

Seneca indicates to us the need to respect and love ourselves, something necessary to properly connect with the environment.

16. He never made a man rich with money, because it only serves to increase his greed

Money is not something that serves to fill us up and make us happy. By itself, in fact, it is of no use. Loving money only leads to wanting more and more, without ever being satisfied.

17. What the law does not prohibit, honesty can prohibit

Law and justice sometimes do not go hand in hand. But our morals can make us not do illegal things despite being legally allowed, or vice versa.

18. Live with the inferior as you would like the superior to live with you. Always do with the slave no more than what you would like an owner to do with you

Seneca urges us to treat others with the same deference that we hope to receive, without taking advantage of our position to harm them or get more out of them than we would like them to do with U.S..

19. There are certain things that to do well it is not enough to have learned them

Painting, cooking, kissing… these are things on which the theoretical knowledge of how it should be done to do them well is not enough. Without passion and emotional involvement, in addition to practice, they are required to carry out the action in question.

20. I will tell you what true pleasure is and where it comes from: from a good conscience, from right intentions, from good actions, the contempt for things of chance, the placid air full of security, the life that always treads the same road

The author indicates that true joy arises from acting in the way we think is right.

21. Not having anything that excites you, that urges you, that with its attack or with its announcement puts the mettle of your soul to the test, being thrown into leisure without worries is not tranquility but indolence

The author indicates in this sentence the need to have something that challenges and excites us, not letting time and life go by without doing anything with it.

22. No matter how high fortune may have put a man, he always needs a friend

Friendship, having someone to trust and who in turn trusts us, is something that is essential for human beings.

23. Giving advice to the wise man is superfluous; giving them to the ignorant is a small thing

Giving advice is something we have all done, but it is not usually of any real use.

24. Life is neither good nor bad, it is only an occasion for good and bad

Our life is neither good nor bad per se, but it will depend on what we do with it.

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25. The memory of the injuries received is harder than of the benefits

Favors are usually taken into account and appreciated for a short time, while those who have done us great harm are remembered for much longer and with greater intensity.

26. He who has much wants more, which shows that he does not have enough; But the one who has enough has reached a point where the rich never reach

This phrase tells us about greed as a bottomless pit, which never fills the person who possesses it. Who does not want more, it is because he is already happy with what he has.

27. He buys only what is necessary, not what is convenient. The unnecessary, even if it costs a single penny, is expensive

The philosopher speaks to us in this sentence of the need for moderation and to control excesses as far as economy is concerned (although it can be applied to other facets).

28. The arms of fortune are not long. They tend to rely on whoever is closest to them

Luck will be on the side of those who take risks. It may fail, but trying it brings you closer to the probability of winning.

29. Happiness does not look at where it is born, but where it can go

Phrase in which the philosopher shows that we can all be happy and make others happy, regardless of our situation.

30. Sometimes even living is an act of courage

Facing the difficulties and vicissitudes of life is actually an act of courage, since we must face moments of pain and suffering.

31. If you want your secret to be kept, keep it yourself

Nothing keeps a secret better than keeping it that way.

32. Some are considered great because the pedestal is also counted

Reflection that shows how some people are overestimated due not only to how they are or what they have done, but also because of their social position or where the effort of others has made them be. Also the idealization of someone allows to make his legend greater than it is.

33. Fate leads the one who accepts it, and drags the one who refuses to admit it

Fate, which at the time of the thinker was considered something pre-established, it is something that is going to happen whether we want to or not. Accepting it entails being able to enjoy the path, while denying it leads to suffering.

34. The sore of love, who heals it, creates it

The author tells us that the act of loving can cause suffering, and that the one who cures that suffering is precisely the one who can create it.

35. Admire those who try, even if they fail

As much as we may fall and fail, trying something takes great effort and courage that deserves to be considered.

36. There can be only one good in the bad: the shame of having done it

Shame and regret arise from the knowledge of having acted badly, the only positive thing being that the desire to solve the evil caused is generated.

37. To be happy you have to live at war with your own passions and at peace with those of others

Seneca tells us that we must be able to regulate our passions and act based on reason, as well as not interfere with or criticize the passions of others.

38. It deserves to be deceived who, when making a profit, took into account the reward

Doing something for someone should be altruistic and not pursue your own benefit. Because otherwise we are not doing something for someone, but for ourselves.

39. Nothing would ever be discovered, if we consider ourselves satisfied with the things discovered

The author pushes us not to be satisfied, not to settle for the pre-existing but to create and fight to discover new things.

40. We need the whole life to learn to live, and also, surprisingly, to learn to die.

Life and death are two concepts that we must learn and develop throughout our lives.

41. Sadness, although always justified, is often just laziness. Nothing takes less effort than to be sad

Seneca pushes us with this phrase to strive and fight to get out of sadness and suffering instead of letting ourselves be carried away by them.

42. He who wants to live only among the righteous, let him live in the desert

The world is not always fair, and neither are most people. We must be able to understand and face this fact.

43. Nature has given us the seeds of knowledge, not knowledge itself

We are not born knowing, but we are born with the ability to learn.

44. There is nothing stronger than true love

Love is the most powerful force.

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45. The first art that those who aspire to power must learn is to be able to endure hatred

Whoever has power will see how his decisions will be hated by the population, and his power can be envied.

46. The most powerful man is the one who owns himself

Self-control and autonomy is what makes us capable of facing the world and determining our future.

47. There is no genius without a hint of dementia

This phrase refers to the link that has been made between genius and the ability to have alternative and divergent thoughts.

48. Worse are hidden hatreds than uncovered ones

The declared enemies, the ones we know hate us, are visible and we know what to expect. But those hatreds of which we are not aware can do us much more damage because they are unexpected.

49. I'd rather bother with the truth, than indulge in flattery

This phrase pushes us to be sincere and act based on our beliefs and not flatter to get a favorable treatment.

50. He who always seeks greatness, he ever finds it

"The one to follows her, get her". This phrase leads us to pursue our aspirations.

51. Fortune is not necessary to just survive

Just surviving doesn't require much effort (as long as the basic needs are covered), but we do live our life seeking to achieve our dreams.

52. A good conscience is afraid of no witnesses

Whoever acts like him believes that he should act and without hurting others has nothing to regret.

53. Listen even to the little ones, because nothing is despicable in them

Those we consider small may be wiser than it seems, and we should value their opinion more.

54. Uncontained, anger is often more damaging than the injury that provokes it

Again, Seneca reminds us that anger is more harmful to the person than what caused it.

55. The most degrading slavery is being a slave to oneself

The author reflects that not being oneself by own decision, denying oneself, is the worst of slavery and suffering.

56. This day that you fear so much for being the last, is the dawn of the eternal day

In this sentence, Seneca talks about the fear of death and the unknown, as well as the hope in the afterlife.

57. A great sailor can sail even though his sails are for hire

Even though we don't have the means, we can reach our goals if we fight for them and we use the available resources wisely.

58. He who is prudent is moderate; the one that is moderate is constant; he who is constant is imperturbable; He who is imperturbable lives without sadness; he who lives without sadness is happy; then the prudent is happy

Prudence is a virtue that, according to the author, helps us to be happy in the long run.

59. Ungrateful is the one who is grateful out of fear

Thanking out of obligation, out of fear of being attacked or misjudged if not done, is actually selfish. The true gratitude is the one that is born from the appreciation of what has been contributed to us.

60. The more the effort grows, the more we consider the greatness of what has been undertaken

Believing in what we want and what we are looking for will make us work harder to achieve it.

61. In my opinion, there is no man who appreciates virtue more and follows it more willingly than he who, by not betraying his conscience, has lost the reputation of a good man

Fame does not matter, but being true to oneself and what one considers fair.

62. Unfortunate is he who is so

If we are not unhappy, we will not be, and we will do something to change the things we like.

63. The reward of a good action is having done it

Good deeds leave us feeling that we have done what we should have done, and no other reward should be expected.

64. Friendship and enmity proceed from the will

Our relationships with others depend on what we both consider.

65. We do not receive a short life, but we shorten it. We are not destitute of her, but wayward

Our life is ours, and it is what we do in it that modifies them.

66. Our nature is in action. Rest heralds death

We are living beings that need activity. Doing nothing leads to boredom and sadness.

67. Conversation is the expression of our way of thinking

What we express and how we do it (and even what we don't) is often a reflection of how we think.

68. When a sailboat does not know which port it is going to, no wind is adequate

The philosopher reflects the need to set goals, to guide our lives in a specific direction.

69. Love in its essence is spiritual fire

Love is an intense force that is born from the entrails and that unites us to the others.

70. There is no strong or consistent tree but one that the wind blows frequently

Problems help us mature and learn. To make a place for us and to overcome difficulties.

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