21 September 2010

Seneca Essays

The first essay that I read was "Self-Control"- CXVI. This essay mainly focused on self control of indulging in our emotions and personal desires like wealth. Many people want to obtain wealth and a high status, but the stoics believe that this will not bring a person happiness. One quote from the essay says, "We are endowed by Nature with an interest in our own well-being; but this very interest, when overindulged, becomes a vice." The writer of the essay talks about how it is very important to at first resist and avoid any temptations of over indulging because it will almost always be easier to avoid them, than to rid yourself of the habit. The more temptations that we give in to will only lead to an unhappier life. The stoics believe that we should live a normal life, which would consist of normal-average daily living even if you have enough wealth to buy more expensive things. This way of living uses the philosophical technique dichotomy of control. When practicing dichotomy of self-control, a person must set the goal to not give in to ones personal desires. We have the ability to control things like our personality, values, and goals. The stoic of this essay says that many people make up excuses for not controlling their personal desires because they love those vices and are unwilling to practice control.

The second essay I chose was "On Values" XLII. This essay is also about having self-control. It talks about valuing ones self by not over indulging because when we over indulge in objects sometimes we ended paying for them more that we actually thought we would. Material things do not add much value to our lives and the feeling that they give us will eventually fade, so it is important to have the self-control not to indulge in these things. One quote from this essay that makes a good point is, "We are eager to attain them at the cost of anxiety, of danger, and of lost honour, personal freedom, and time; so true is it that each man regards nothing as cheaper than himself." We must own ourselves before we focus on owning other things.

Kailee Miller

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