Seneca, Epistulae ad Lucilium 16.7-8

“I consider as my own whatever is well-put by anyone else. Here too is a sentiment expressed by Epicurus: ‘If you live according to nature, you will never be poor; if you live according to fancy, you will never be rich.” For nature desires very little, but the desires of fancy are boundless.”

quicquid bene dictum est ab ullo, meum est. istud quoque ab Epicuro dictum est: ‘si ad naturam vives, numquam eris pauper: si ad opiniones, numquam eris dives.’ exiguum natura desiderat, opinio immensum.

Seneca feels the need to add the prefatory note of the first sentence in order to justify quoting Epicurus, whose philosophical system was most directly contrary to the one embraced by Seneca (and many other wealthy Romans), Stoicism. However, Seneca quotes Epicurus numerous times throughout these letters, and – contrary to our own modern methods of philosophical dispute – has no qualms about conceding that another thinker may be correct about a matter, though your philosophical systems be opposed. In truth, although Stoicism and Epicureanism are often presented as rivals and even diametrically-opposite belief systems, they are much more similar in aim, method, and thought than many rival philosophies of other times. Indeed, they share more in common with each other than either one does with the other two popular philosophical schools of Seneca’s time, Platonism and Skepticism.

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