True Wealth: Happiness in Poverty

Seneca, Epistulae ad Lucilium 1.4:

“Do you know what limits the law of nature would fix for us? Not to feel hunger, thirst, or pain. To dispel hunger and thirst, it is not necessary to sit at the thresholds of fat-cats, not to suffer a weighty brow or even the insulting mass of humanity; nor is it necessary to try your luck on the sea or enlist as a soldier. What Nature wants is easily gotten and ready to hand. All of the sweating in life is over unnecessary trifles – those things which wear out a toga, which compel us to grow old under a tent, which push us to foreign shores. There lies at our fingertips what is enough. The one who finds poverty agreeable is rich indeed.”

Lex autem illa naturae scis quos nobis terminos statuat? Non esurire, non sitire, non algere. Ut famem sitimque depellas non est necesse superbis assidere liminibus nec supercilium grave et contumeliosam etiam humanitatem pati, non est necesse maria temptare nec sequi castra: parabile est quod natura desiderat et appositum. [11] Ad supervacua sudatur; illa sunt quae togam conterunt, quae nos senescere sub tentorio cogunt, quae in aliena litora impingunt: ad manum est quod sat est. Cui cum paupertate bene convenit dives est. Vale.


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