21 September 2010

Seneca essays


The first topic I chose was about saving time. This was of particular interest to me because, being a college student, I have many things to do, and never enough time to get everything done. In this essay, Seneca describes how time is constantly slipping away from us, and most of the time we spend is without purpose. Therefore he advises us to not to waste anymore time because by the time we die, it will be too late. In connection to our lecture on Monday, three of the four psychological techniques can be applied to the concept of saving time. As time is slipping away, we should be pondering, "What if I didn't have this time that has been given to me?" The thought alone should give you a greater appreciation for the time you have, making you value it more. We experience hedonic adaptation in reference to time because we grow accustomed to having control over what we do with our time, all the while unaware that time is slipping away. Related to this idea is the dichotomy of control, meaning that some things we have complete control of, some things we have partial control of, and some things are completely out of our control. Time is related to all three of these concepts because although we can not control time ticking away, we can somewhat control what we do with our time. Prior obligations do take some of the time that we have, but it is our decision to do with our free time whatever we choose.

The second of the Seneca letters that I read concerned true and false friendships. Seneca felt that a true friend is someone you can trust, and who knows you as well as you know yourself. You should feel comfortable telling your friends anything, and you should keep friends that are loyal and are not deceiteful. Seneca's thoughts about this topic can be related to the philisophical techniques of negative visualization and self-denial. For example, if you visualize your life without your true friends, you will learn to appreciate their company more, and not take for granted their presence in your life. Self-denial could also be practiced by putting yourself in a situation in which you are around complete strangers. Therefore when you are with your friends, you will be able to reflect on that experience and enjoy the comfortibility of the situation.

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