Seneca On the Shortness of Life

‘life is short; art long.’

dont grieve

we are given a long life; but we waste a lot of us!

we have enough life and time to do the greatest things; if i invest all of my time and life well

don’t squander my life through soft and careless living

what worthwhile pursuit will i pursue in my life?

map out my life well; my lifetime will have ample scope!

if i know how to use my life; it is long.

avoid voracious avarice or luxury.

avoid pointless enterprises.

don’t be slack with idleness; never stop honorable industry and hustling.

avoid ambition that hangs on the judgement of others.

don’t voluntarily enslave myself.

never complain about my own wealth.

what is my CONSISTENT goal in life?

don’t be fickle in life; settle my purpose and stay satisfied

‘scant is the part of life in which we live’

Existence is not living, but merely time.

find full relaxation from my desires.

wealth is a burden.

‘no one acts as his own champion’

CHAMPION; fighter

don’t waste my life for the sake of others!

dark fog in the human mind; don’t let anyone trespass on my existence or life!

don’t invite others to take possession of my life.

we are stingy with money; why are we too generous with time?

Be generous with money; but be stingy with time.

the commodity of time: it is respectable to be greedy with time.

‘the limit of human life ‘ — 95?

submit my life to an audit.

don’t let time taken up by patron, client, arguing with wife, running around with social duties.

how much of my time was wasted idle?

never stop hustling!!!

am i sure of my purpose in life?

let my mind be free from disturbance.

‘you’re dying before your time’

don’t live like I’m going to live forever.

human frailty — we can still die from car accident.

i haven’t lived 60 years, I’ve died for 60 years.

today might be my last; why waste time to do 1:1 if today might be my last, and i already have enough money.

you’re like ordinary mortals in fearing everything, you’re like immortals in coveting everything.

what guarantee do you have that your life will last longer?

happiest day; lie aside my greatness and have leisure.

the scale of hidden anxieties from wealth?

I’m not half-free; I’m 100% free!

the sage will always enjoy complete and unalloyed liberty!

pure, unalloyed (not made into an alloy) of FREEDOM!

not subject to any constraints in life; I’m my own master, and i will tower over others!!!

if i rise above fortune, i am 100% free

don’t waste time looking at my bank account balance or finances!

‘learning how to live takes a whole lifetime’

‘it takes a whole lifetime to learn how to die’

set aside all my annoyances, business, encumbrances, pleasure— and still make it my sole aim at the end of my life to know how to live!!!

it is the mark of a great man, one rising above human weakness, to allow no part of his time to be skimmed off.

don’t let anyone skim off my life— like fat on the milk!

‘such a persons life is extremely long because he’s kept available for himself the whole of whatever amount of time he had’

only keep time for myself; be greedy.

All of my time is cultivated; none of my time is left fallow and uncultivated.

invest my time, plant my time, make crops grow.

i need to be a careful guardian of my time; there is nothing worth exchanging my time for!

be conscious of all the life and time I’ve already lost!

people leave me only the worthless time for myself

devote every second of my time to my own needs; organize each day like it were a complete life!

be greedy with my own needs; organize my entire life like it were a whole life.

I’ve already experienced and enjoyed all pleasures.

i can add to my life, but nothing can take away with my life.

addition in life; like I’m satisfied with a meal, and full, and take a little more food i don’t crave, yet i have room for it.

extra time in life; like dessert.

gray hair and wrinkles; not lived long, but long existed.

Death clock

See my time ticking down.

Live now

don’t be busy, preoccupied with my efforts to live better (for the future).

They plan out their lives at the expense of life itself.

Don’t waste my life, planning out the rest of my life.

They form their purposes with the distant future in mind.

The greatest waste of life lies in postponement; it robs us of each day in turn, and snatches away the present by promising the future.

The greatest impediment to living is expectancy, which relies on tomorrow and wastes today.

Don’t expect to live longer in life— therefore I won’t waste today.

Put no faith in tomorrow.

You map out what is in fortune’s hand but let slip what’s in your own hand.

Don’t let my time slip from my own hand. Don’t try to plan or map out what is in fortune’s hand — I might die.

What are you aiming at? What is your goal?

All that is to come lies in uncertainty: LIVE RIGHT NOW

Don’t be slow to action

Don’t hold back in life (publish all once, don’t wait to feed-drip):

Why are you holding back? Why are you slow to action? If you don’t seize the day, it slips away.


Even if you seize today, it will slip away.

Compete with time’s quickness in the speed in which you use it.

Speed up my hustle in life, to compete with the quickness of time — drink from time like a fast-moving torrent that will not always flow.

Avoid permanent (infinite/interminable) procrastination!

Never procrastinate on what is important to you.

What is each best ‘day’?

Don’t project for myself months and years in long sequence.

Seize TODAY — TODAY is slipping away!

Battle the passions with a vigorous attack!

Fight passion, the enemy front line with full-frontal assault!

CRUSH vices, don’t just nip them.

Crush the vice-head of snake.

WE have no control over the future

Vicissitude (alternation) — changing, fortune’s sway.

It takes a tranquil and untroubled mind to roam freely over all the parts of life.


We need tranquility and unperturbedness to roam over life — don’t let my mind be preoccupied.

Step certainly in face of death

Whenever his last day comes, the sage will not hesitate to go to his death with a SURE STEP.

Avoid idle preoccupation

Don’t collect.

Don’t waste time with entertainment.

Don’t waste time with sports.

Don’t waste time just learning songs or listening to songs for the sake of it— unfortunately, all audio and songs will be forgotten into the future.

Avoid ‘idle occupation’

Don’t become pampered

Pampered creatures — the right word for unlearning life and normal human practice.

What is ‘life’ and ‘normal’ human practice?

The brain-sick are as good as dead.

Be aware of my own leisure, use it to learn, to teach, to grow, and share.

Avoid useless information

Avoid useless facts.

Avoid useless knowledge!

Only study philosophy.

Achieve TRUE GLORY — how can I be of service to humanity?

Only study knowledge that will (practically) profit us.

What is profitable, practical knowledge?

What useful purpose information?

How to hold my passions in check?

How to become braver, more just (justice), and more ‘generous of spirit?’

How to become more generous

Better to not have useless information, than to have useless information.

True leisure: focusing on philosophy

Annex past lifetimes to my own life – all the years past from other philosophers added to my own life.

Be grateful to past philosophers, annex beautiful treasures of philosophy from the past. Bring past philosophy to light!

We have access to all ages from the past

Don’t be a weak human.

Become a God.

TRANSCEND the narrow limitations of human weakness — keep expanding my mind.

Overcome human nature with the Stoics; and go beyond it with the Cynics.

Give ourselves over completely to the past

Study the past, because it is measureless and eternal — so spending time with my betters!

Philosophers will teach me how to die.

Have a good role model of past philosophers to model myself after.

Open to myself the path to immortality, and raise myself to an elevation from nobody is cast down.

Prolong mortality — we cannot become immortal — extend lifespan.

All mortal: honor, monument, and ostentatious ambition (stone) are soon destroyed.

Theres nothing that the long lapse of time doesn’t demolish and transform.

Time cannot harm the works consecrated by wisdom: no age will efface (remove the face) them, no age will reduce them at all.

The next generation and age of humanity will enhance the respect, envy focuses on what is close at hand— yet freely admire things from a distance.

‘the sages life is ample in scope, and he is not constricted by the same limit that confines others’

The sage is alone released from the limitations of the human race, and he is the master of all ages as though a god.

If time is upon us, i can use it.

Be busy in ‘serene seclusion’ to do more important things in life!

know my balance sheet of life than the balance sheet of my bank account

serene seclusion, to help the greater number of people!

Choose pursuits that are calmer, safer, and more IMPORTANT (to humanity)

Leave ground level, and turn my eyes to studying the heavens, and universe!

Active interest, pursue my enthusiasm; to better things!

Love and practice of virtues, forgetfulness of passion, knowledge of how to live and die, and deep repose.

profit in life, have ppleasure, and have PROGRESS OF MIND

How to develop your mind

Always hold death in view, and refrain from vain distant hopes.

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