The Countless Lives Within Us

Seneca, Moral Epistle 113.2-3

People agree that the soul is alive since it has the ability to make us alive and because “living things” have their name from it [anima, animal]. Virtue, moreover, is little more than a soul keeping itself a certain way. So, virtue is alive. In turn, virtue does something and nothing can do a thing without impetus. So, if a thing has impetus, then it has to be alive, since nothing has impetus unless it is alive.

A response might be that “if virtue is alive, then virtue itself has virtue.” Well, why wouldn’t it!? Just as a wise person does everything through virtue, so to does virtue accomplish its goals through itself. “Therefore, ” people continue, “all the arts are also alive and our thoughts and everything the mind contains with it.  So it follows that thousands of living things make their home in the narrows of a person’s heart and that each one of are made up many creatures or have many within us

Animum constat animal esse, cum ipse efficiat, ut simus animalia, cum ab illo animalia nomen hoc traxerint. Virtus autem nihil aliud est quam animus quodammodo se habens; ergo animal est. Deinde virtus agit aliquid; agi autem nihil sine impetu potest. Si impetum habet, qui nulli est nisi animali, animal est. “Si animal est,” inquit, “virtus, habet ipsa virtutem.” Quidni habeat se ipsam? Quomodo 3sapiens omnia per virtutem gerit, sic virtus per se. “Ergo,” inquit, “et omnes artes animalia sunt et omnia, quae cogitamus quaeque mente conplectimur. Sequitur, ut multa millia animalium habitent in his angustiis pectoris, et singuli multa simus animalia aut multa habeamus animalia.”

Picture of a crowd of people with the Latin aut multa habeamus animalia. This means "each one of are made up many creatures or have many within us"

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