In this series of blog posts I attempt to translate the Moral letters to Lucilius by Seneca into modern English.
Letter 2. The Importance of Concentration and Focus
We live in a world full of information. So much so that it is easy to become diverted and side-tracked by it all. Even if you can ignore what is broadcast by the media, and you should try to filter this at the very least, there is still a massive amount of knowledge at hand.
As an example, a news story may interest you, then a political event catches your eye. Next, a report of a new gadget, followed by a desire to travel. Then you may go back to reading a book or writing a novel. Then its back to the news again, etc.
And while these topics may be more intellectually stimulating than the latest celebrity gossip, you still end-up only attaining superficial and shallow knowledge.
So why does a person do this? Because they capture his attention, well, for the moment anyway. After a little while its back to moving from one thing to another, to another. None of these topics will have an enduring effect on his life.
Its like a person who has a lot of Facebook friends, but few real friends. Pick a few authors, speakers, or topics and limit yourself to only these. Decide what is important then concentrate and focus on this.
Read the original text here.
I recommend you read all of the most influential Letters in this new Penguin Classic book. It is the best translation, in my opinion, because it captures Seneca’s humour and style. It is also the easiest to read. My copy is full of highlighted lines, margin notes and tabs. A treasure chest of profound, practical advice which you can apply immediately.
Warning: this is not an academic text; it describes a hands-on philosophy of life. Discover powerful, instantly helpful wisdom. The complete guide to a improving your day-to-day activities, thoughts and actions.