Seneca, Moral Epistle 10.5
“But let me send my letter with some little gift, as is my custom. I found this one in Athenodorus: “Understand that you are freed from all desires when you come to the point that you pray to god for nothing except what you can ask openly”.
How much madness there is among people today! They whisper the foulest requests to the gods–but if anyone eavesdrops, they hush up. They tell god what they don’t want people to know.
Don’t you think that some better advice can be offered? Live with other people as if god is watching; and speak with god as if everyone is listening. Goodbye!”
Sed ut more meo cum aliquo munusculo epistulam mittam, verum est, quod apud Athenodorum inveni: “Tunc scito esse te omnibus cupiditatibus solutum, cum eo perveneris, ut nihil deum roges, nisi quod rogare possis palam.” Nunc enim quanta dementia est hominum! Turpissima vota dis insusurrant; si quis admoverit aurem, conticescent. Et quod scire hominem nolunt, deo narrant. Vide ergo, ne hoc praecipi salubriter possit: sic vive cum hominibus, tamquam deus videat; sic loquere cum deo, tamquam homines audiant. Vale.
It seems the Stoic school was generally opposed to the early Greek philosophical precept (sometimes attributed to Epicurus) of “living unknown”
Plutarch, “On Whether Living Unknown is a Wise Precept”
1128a “But isn’t this very thing somehow evil—“living unknown” is like tomb-robbing, no? But living is a shameful thing, so that we should all be ignorant about it? I would say instead don’t even live badly in secret, but be known, be advised, and change! If you have virtue, don’t be useless; if you have weakness, don’t go without help.”
Ἀλλὰ τοῦτο μὲν αὐτὸ τὸ πρᾶγμα πῶς οὐ πονηρόν· λάθε βιώσας—ὡς τυμβωρυχήσας; ἀλλ᾿ αἰσχρόν ἐστι τὸ ζῆν, ἵνα ἀγνοῶμεν πάντες; ἐγὼ δ᾿ ἂν εἴποιμι μηδὲ κακῶς βιώσας λάθε, ἀλλὰ γνώσθητι, σωφρονίσθητι, μετανόησον· εἴτε ἀρετὴν ἔχεις, μὴ γένῃ ἄχρηστος, εἴτε κακίαν, μὴ μείνῃς ἀθεράπευτος.
“If you take public knowledge away from your life just as you might remove light from a drinking party—to make it possible to pursue every pleasure in secret—then “live unknown” indeed.
Εἰ δὲ ἐκ τοῦ βίου καθάπερ ἐκ συμποσίου φῶς ἀναιρεῖς τὴν γνῶσιν, ὡς πάντα ποιεῖν πρὸς ἡδονὴν ἐξῇ λανθάνουσιν, “λάθε βιώσας.”
The saying “live unknown” was attributed in antiquity to Epicurus. It had reached proverbial status by the Byzantine era (from the Suda):
λάθε βιώσας· “Live unknown”: This is said customarily in a proverb but enacted by deed. “Live unknown so that I might expect no one living or dead to understand what I say”
Λάθε βιώσας: τοῦ τε ἐν παροιμίᾳ λέγεσθαι εἰωθότος, ἔργῳ βεβαιωθέντος ὑπ’ ἐκείνου, τοῦ λάθε βιώσας: ὥστε οὐδένα τῶν τότε ζώντων ἀνθρώπων οὔτε τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἐλπίσαιμ’ ἂν εἰδέναι οἷον λέγω.
“Neokles, an Athenian philosopher and Epicurus’ brother. He wrote a book defending his own choice [of discipline]. The saying “Live unknown” is his.
Νεοκλῆς, ᾿Αθηναῖος, φιλόσοφος, ἀδελφὸς ᾿Επικούρου. ὑπὲρ τῆς ἰδίας αἱρέσεως. ὅτι Νεοκλέους ἐστὶ τό, λάθε βιώσας.