DYEP? (Do You Even Philosophy?)

Seneca, Moral Epistle 15.2-3

“The mind is sick without philosophy. The body too, even if it possesses great strength, remains no different from the strength of a man in rage or madness. So, care for the health of the first especially, and then the second, which will not be hard for you, if you want to be well.

It is foolish and not at all appropriate, my Lucilius, for an educated person to waste their time building muscles, and thickening their shoulders and strengthening their lungs. Even when the carbo-loading goes well, and your joints stay strong, you will never equal the strength and weight of the best bull. Add to this that the mind is squeezed by an overfull body and becomes less responsive. So, as much as you are able, discipline your body and give free space to your mind.

There are many other annoyances for people obsessed with the body. First, there is exercising: this drains all your energy and leaves you incapable of focusing on more serious studies. Then, nuanced thought is prevented by excessive amounts of food. Add to this that they take advice from the worst kinds of servants, people who switch off from olive oil to wine, whose whole day is complete if they have sweated well, and if they have poured into the same place as much drink as possible, all the more intensely because of their workout. A life of just drinking and sweating is chronic illness.”

Sine hoc aeger est animus. Corpus quoque, etiam si magnas habet vires, non aliter quam furiosi aut phrenetici validum est. Ergo hanc praecipue valitudinem cura, deinde et illam secundam, quae non magno tibi constabit, si volueris bene valere. Stulta est enim, mi Lucili, et minime conveniens litterato viro occupatio exercendi lacertos et dilatandi cervicem ac latera firmandi; cum tibi feliciter sagina cesserit et tori creverint, nec vires umquam opimi bovis nec pondus aequabis. Adice nunc, quod maiore corporis sarcina animus eliditur et minus agilis est. Itaque quantum potes, circumscribe corpus tuum et animo locum laxa. 

Multa secuntur incommoda huic deditos curae; primum exercitationes, quarum labor spiritum exhaurit et inhabilem intentioni ac studiis acrioribus reddit. Deinde copia ciborum subtilitas inpeditur. Accedunt pessimae notae mancipia in magisterium recepta, homines inter oleum et vinum occupati, quibus ad votum dies actus est, si bene desudaverunt, si in locum eius, quod effluxit, multum potionis altius ieiunio1 iturae regesserunt. Bibere et sudare vita cardiaci est

Painting from a Greek, Attic; Oinochoe (wine vase) fragmentary; a Satyr in the palaistra (exercise ground). The satyr stands with his left arm akimbo and his right hand holding a pair of jumping weights. On the ground to either side are a diskos and a pick for loosening soil
Harrow Painter, c. 490 BCE. MET 12.229.13 from Wikimedia Commons

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