In this series of blog posts I attempt to translate the Moral letters to Lucilius by Seneca into modern English.
Letter 4. Don’t Fear Death
Achieve calmness by tackling your fear of death and desire for a longer life. Fear of the moment of death is pointless anyway as your existence leaves you constantly. It isn’t as though all your whole life disappears in one go.
It’s a little like having money in a bank account where you withdraw a small amount each day. If the bank closes suddenly you have lost less than you started with. Don’t concentrate on the last moment when it’s too late to spend your money. Use the money when you still can. If you do this with life then there is nothing to worry about.
Life has lots of opportunities to cause a person to worry about death, some of these are more commonplace than others. There are always hazards and perils, and the ways to lose what you own. I’m not suggesting you take no notice of these as it is prudent to be cautious. But I don’t recommend allowing these to always occupy your thoughts. If from time to time you reflect on these, then it’ll help you to be more resilient if they happen.
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.