BOOK REVIEW: ON THE SHORTNESS OF LIFE

 

The author, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, poured out deep thoughts in his book titled ‘On The Shortness Of Life’. In this unique piece, he exposed readers to vital parts of life that have been taken for granted for centuries. Explicitly, he talked about important aspects of life such as time, happiness, fulfilment, and a whole lot of others.

Here are some of the insightful messages shared in the book:

“It’s not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it’s been given to us in generous measure for accomplishing the greatest things, if the whole of it is well invested. But when life is squandered through soft and careless living, and when it’s spent on no worthwhile pursuit, death finally presses and we realize that the life which we didn’t notice passing has passed away”

“Many are kept busy either striving after other people’s wealth or complaining about their own. Many who have no consistent goal in life are thrown from one new design to another by a fickleness that is shifting, never settled and ever dissatisfied with itself Some have no goal at all toward which to steer their course, but death takes them by surprise as they gape and yawn”

“No one lets anyone seize his estates, and if a trivial dispute arises about boundary lines, there’s a rush to stones and arms; but people let others trespass on their existence-or rather, they go so far as to invite in those who’ll take possession of their lives.”

“All those who engage you in their business disengage you from yourself”

“There’s nothing that the long lapse of time doesn’t demolish and transform. But it cannot harm the works consecrated by wisdom: no age will efface them, no age reduce them at all”

” It takes a tranquil and untroubled mind to roam freely over all the parts of life; but preoccupied minds, as if under the yoke, cannot turn around and look backward”

“Just as conversation or reading or some deep reflection beguiles travelers and they find that they’ve reached their destination before being aware of approaching it, so with this ceaseless and extremely rapid journey of life, which we make at the same pace whether awake or sleeping: the preoccupied become aware of it only at its end”

“People trifle with the most precious commodity of all; and it escapes their notice because it’s an immaterial thing that doesn’t appear to the eyes, and for that reason it’s valued very cheaply-or rather, it has practically no value at all”

“Life will follow the path on which it began, and it will neither reverse nor halt its course. It will cause no commotion at all, it will call no attention to its own swiftness. It will glide on in silence. It will prolong itself at neither a king’s command nor his people’s clamor; it will run on just as it started out on the first day, with no diversions and no delays”

“You’ll find no one willing to distribute his money; but to how many people each of us shares out his life! Men are thrifty in guarding their private property, but as soon as it comes to wasting time, they are most extravagant with the one commodity for which it’s respectable to be greedy”

“To maintain prosperity we need fresh prosperity, and other prayers are to be offered instead of those that have already turned out well. Everything that comes our way by chance is unsteady, and the higher our fortunes rise, the more susceptible they are to falling”

“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”

“The plight of all preoccupied people is wretched, but most wretched is the plight of those who labor under preoccupations that are not even their own, whose sleep schedule is regulated by somebody else’s, who walk at somebody else’s pace, and who are under instructions in that freest of all activities-loving and hating. If these people want to know how short their life is, let them reflect on how small a part of it is their very own”

He is also the author of other books like Medea, Letters from a Stoic, Four tragedies and Octavia. Visit a book store today and get a copy.

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