21 September 2010

Seneca's Essays

For the first essay I chose "Instinct in Animals". In this essay Seneca talks of how our instincts are natural, just like animals instincts are natural. He also talks of how everyone has their own constitution and this constitution changes during the different stages of life. Seneca says we must act natural in all situations no matter what it may be because this is how Nature intended us to act. Constitution ties into this idea because Seneca says that during the stages of our life (infant, child, youth, adult) we learn actions that are appropriate for that age and we develop things that are needed for that age. Finally Seneca discusses our souls which he describes as "the consciousness of our constitutions". This is knowing that we are doing something from instinct but we don't know why we are doing it. In relation to our souls Seneca notices that animals show no sign of low self-esteem or carelessness of self so we should try to take after them in this manner.

For the second essay I chose "True and False Riches". Seneca says that it is not that impressive to refuse delicate food and eat common things, but it more impressive to give up common food and eat uncommon food. This causes us to appreciate the delicate foods when we have the opportunity to eat them. The same goes for other items of wealth. He says that as long as we have the essentials we should be happy and we will enjoy wealthy things more than those who experience wealth all the time.

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