Advice: No Need to Keep Living

Seneca, Epistulae ad Lucilium 1.12:

But now I should wrap up my letter. You ask, ‘Will it come to be thus without any little benefit?’ Fear not! It brings a little something. Well, why do I say ‘something’? It offers you a lot! What is it that I in my voice clearer than hand over as your lesson? ‘It is bad to live in necessity, but there is no necessity to live in necessity.’

So what if there isn’t? All over the many brief, easy roads to liberty lie open. Let us give thanks to the god that no one can be held here in life: we are allowed to stamp necessity underfoot. You say, ‘Epicurus said: what is another’s business to you?’ But this is truly my sentiment: I will continue to bring Epicurus to you, as those who swear upon words and don’t judge what is actually being said, but do it from the fact that they know that those things are best which are shared among us all. Farewell.

Sed iam debeo epistulam includere. ‘Sic’ inquis ‘sine ullo ad me peculio veniet?’ Noli timere: aliquid secum fert. Quare aliquid dixi? multum. Quid enim hac voce praeclarius quam illi trado ad te perferendam? ‘Malum est in necessitate vivere, sed in necessitate vivere necessitas nulla est.’ Quidni nulla sit? patent undique ad libertatem viae multae, breves faciles. Agamus deo gratias quod nemo in vita teneri potest: calcare ipsas necessitates licet. ‘Epicurus’ inquis ‘dixit: quid tibi cum alieno?’ Quod verum est meum est; perseverabo Epicurum tibi ingerere, ut isti qui in verba iurant nec quid dicatur aestimant, sed a quo, sciant quae optima sunt esse communia. Vale.

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