Living Badly, The Way our Neighbors Do

Seneca, Moral Epistles 123.6

“We don’t realize how many things are silly unless they start to seem lacking. We have been using them because we possessed them, not because we needed them. How much do we possess just because others have them, or because most people do! The fact that we live by precedents and don’t figure out our lives by reason and are strung along by habits is the cause of many of our problems.

Some things that we’d refuse to copy if only a few people did them, we do once many pick them up, as if something is more honorable because it is more frequent. And worse: mistakes take the place of right action in our eyes once they become common.”

Multa quam supervacua essent, non intelleximus, nisi deesse coeperunt; utebamur enim illis, non quia debebamus, sed quia habebamus. Quam multa autem paramus, quia alii paraverunt, quia apud plerosque sunt! Inter causas malorum nostrorum est, quod vivimus ad exempla, nec ratione conponimur sed consuetudine abducimur.

Quod, si pauci facerent, nollemus imitari, cum plures facere coeperunt, quasi honestius sit, quia frequentius, sequimur. Et recti apud nos locum tenet error, ubi publicus factus est.

A cartoon rabbit from the old Trix cereal "silly rabbit, trix are for kids" advertisement in a meme format with the Latin "Multa quam supervacua essent, non intelleximus, nisi deesse coeperunt" which means we don't understand how many things are silly until they start to seem lacking"

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