On the Shortness of Life

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by Lucius Seneca

The Stoic philosopher Seneca offers piercing and profound insights into human nature and a vision of the good life, so that one may say with him “Life is long, if you know how to live it.”Seneca (5 BC to AD 65) was born in Cordoba and raised in Rome, where he was trained in rhetoric and philosophy. He was a tutor and later an advisor to Nero, but later Nero forced him to take his own life. His stoic and serene suicide is portrayed in countless paintings.

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It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. ... The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.

— Lucius Seneca, On the Shortness of Life