Wednesday, June 09, 2021


A Sound and Wholesome Rule?

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius 8.5 (tr. Richard M. Gummere):
Hold fast, then, to this sound and wholesome rule of life — that you indulge the body only so far as is needful for good health. The body should be treated more rigorously, that it may not be disobedient to the mind. Eat merely to relieve your hunger; drink merely to quench your thirst; dress merely to keep out the cold; house yourself merely as a protection against personal discomfort. It matters little whether the house be built of turf, or of variously coloured imported marble; understand that a man is sheltered just as well by a thatch as by a roof of gold. Despise everything that useless toil creates as an ornament and an object of beauty. And reflect that nothing except the soul is worthy of wonder; for to the soul, if it be great, naught is great.

hanc ergo sanam ac salubrem formam vitae tenete, ut corpori tantum indulgeatis quantum bonae valetudini satis est. durius tractandum est ne animo male pareat: cibus famem sedet, potio sitim exstinguat, vestis arceat frigus, domus munimentum sit adversus infesta temporis. hanc utrum caespes erexerit an varius lapis gentis alienae, nihil interest: scitote tam bene hominem culmo quam auro tegi. contemnite omnia quae supervacuus labor velut ornamentum ac decus ponit; cogitate nihil praeter animum esse mirabile, cui magno nihil magnum est.
This rule sucks all the enjoyment out of life. I'll try to do the opposite.

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