Let’s Talk Philosophy: Seneca

Seneca

Today our U3A Group looked at Lucius Annaeus Seneca. He was born in 4BC and died in 65AD. He was a Roman Philosopher known for his Stoic philosophy. He was also a Statesman and Magistrate.  Stoics get their name from Stoa (below) where they met and discussed their ideas. The dictionary definition of Stoicism is ‘An Ancient Greek School of Philosophy which taught that it is wise to remain indifferent to changes of fortune and to pleasure and pain.’  Seneca wrote his philosophy in Latin and therefore it was more accessible to the Romans as up to that point it was all recorded in Greek.

Stoa_in_Athens

Seneca suggests that we best endure those frustrations we can anticipate and also for the frustrations in life that we weren’t expecting and cannot understand. We noted that much of his philosophy is similar to what we know of as the Serenity Prayer (God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference).

We looked at some of his quotes and discussed what we thought he meant. We speculated about the last part of the quote below as perhaps an early reference to euthanasia. We didn’t come to any great conclusions but we enjoyed the mental stimulation and each others’ company!

Seneca Quote 2

Book of Notable Quotes

textures 003

A friend passed on some books to me this week. Included among them was one titled Noted Quotables published by World Book Encyclopedia, Inc.(1986). It is a selection of famous quotes compiled by Jerry Reedy organised by themes. I know we can find any number of quotes on the internet but sometimes it is good to hold a book in my hands!

Here are some examples:

Theme – Ability “Everyone must row with the oars he has.” (English proverb)

Theme – Adversity “Prosperity getteth friends, but adversity trieth them.” (Nicholas Ling)

Theme – Anger “The world needs anger. The world often continues to allow evil because it isn’t angry enough.” (Bede Jarrett)

Theme: Bravery “Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death.” (Gen. Omar Nelson Bradley)

There are lots more and I may just include some more in a later post :)!