Friday, November 05, 2004
Seneca, Letters to Lucilius
What is it, Lucilius, that drags us in one direction when we're pushing in the other, that forces us to a place we want to withdraw from? What wrestles with our soul and doesn't let us will something once and for all? We drift among different plans; we desire nothing freely, nothing completely, nothing for all time. You say that "Foolishness is the possession of him who has no steady purpose, whom nothing pleases for long." But how or when will we snatch ourselves away from that foolishness? No one by himself is strong enough to escape; another must lend a hand, another must pull us out.
Quid est hoc, Lucili, quod nos alio tendentes alio trahit et eo unde recedere cupimus impellit? quid colluctatur cum animo nostro nec permittit nobis quicquam semel velle? Fluctuamur inter varia consilia; nihil libere volumus, nihil absolute, nihil semper. 'Stultitia' inquis 'est cui nihil constat, nihil diu placet.' Sed quomodo nos aut quando ab illa revellemus? Nemo per se satis valet ut emergat; oportet manum aliquis porrigat, aliquis educat.