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Wealth According to Seneca

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 5:09 am
by Sertorio
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, 4 BC – AD 65
On Tranquility of Mind

"(...) We pass now to property, the greatest source of affliction to humanity. If you balance all our other troubles - deaths, diseases, fears, longings, subjections to labour and pain - with the miseries in which our money involves us, the latter will far outweigh the former. Reflect, then, how much less a grief it is not to have money than to lose it, and then you will realize that poverty has less to torment us with in the degree that it has less to lose. (...)"
My admiration for some of the Latin classics is ever increasing. Greece, Rome and their philosophy and literature are indeed the foundations of our civilization. We just have to pick up where they left, and we may end up with a much better world...

Re: Wealth According to Seneca

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 8:33 pm
by cassowary
Sertorio wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 5:09 am
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, 4 BC – AD 65
On Tranquility of Mind

"(...) We pass now to property, the greatest source of affliction to humanity. If you balance all our other troubles - deaths, diseases, fears, longings, subjections to labour and pain - with the miseries in which our money involves us, the latter will far outweigh the former. Reflect, then, how much less a grief it is not to have money than to lose it, and then you will realize that poverty has less to torment us with in the degree that it has less to lose. (...)"
My admiration for some of the Latin classics is ever increasing. Greece, Rome and their philosophy and literature are indeed the foundations of our civilization. We just have to pick up where they left, and we may end up with a much better world...
Yes, I can see where you are coming from, Sertorio. You are a Marxist or Socialist or Progressive or whatever label you choose to hide behind.

You have an agenda, like all leftists. That agenda includes the destruction of religion, especially Christianity. This is called “cultural Marxism”. Antonio Gramsci taught that the reason why communism had not overthrown capitalism yet is because the plutocrats dominated the culture which supports capitalism. Hence we have culture wars.

So you want to discredit Christianity by elevating the classical civilisations of Greece and Rome. Yet in their long history they had no abolition movement. They practiced infanticide and they had gladiatorial combat.
The Romans practiced collective punishment such as the decimation of rebellious army legions.

It was Christian ideas that put an end to all that.

Re: Wealth According to Seneca

Posted: Fri May 22, 2020 3:11 am
by Sertorio
cassowary wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:33 pm
Sertorio wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 5:09 am
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, 4 BC – AD 65
On Tranquility of Mind

"(...) We pass now to property, the greatest source of affliction to humanity. If you balance all our other troubles - deaths, diseases, fears, longings, subjections to labour and pain - with the miseries in which our money involves us, the latter will far outweigh the former. Reflect, then, how much less a grief it is not to have money than to lose it, and then you will realize that poverty has less to torment us with in the degree that it has less to lose. (...)"
My admiration for some of the Latin classics is ever increasing. Greece, Rome and their philosophy and literature are indeed the foundations of our civilization. We just have to pick up where they left, and we may end up with a much better world...
Yes, I can see where you are coming from, Sertorio. You are a Marxist or Socialist or Progressive or whatever label you choose to hide behind.

You have an agenda, like all leftists. That agenda includes the destruction of religion, especially Christianity. This is called “cultural Marxism”. Antonio Gramsci taught that the reason why communism had not overthrown capitalism yet is because the plutocrats dominated the culture which supports capitalism. Hence we have culture wars.

So you want to discredit Christianity by elevating the classical civilisations of Greece and Rome. Yet in their long history they had no abolition movement. They practiced infanticide and they had gladiatorial combat.
The Romans practiced collective punishment such as the decimation of rebellious army legions.

It was Christian ideas that put an end to all that.
Thank you, Cass. I was afraid no one would dare to comment on my small classical pearl of a text. But you got it all wrong. Romans were far from perfect and some of their actions were abhorrent. But we are talking about 2,000 years ago, and if you compare Rome with other contemporary cultures, Romans were by far the best. But what I wanted to draw your attention to, was the exceptional level of intelligence and culture of the top people in Rome. Their philosophy and literature are those of a modern people, not so different from us. And the ethics of the Stoics - such as Seneca or Marcus Aurelius - were in no way inferior to the Christian ethics. After Rome it took us over one thousand years of slide into barbarity before we shook away the ignorance and superstition of the Middle Ages (with some exceptions). But if you look to your ancestors China you will find similar reasons for wonder. Confucianism was the eastern equivalent of stoicism. And China the equivalent of Rome. You should be proud of your ancestry as I am of mine.

Re: Wealth According to Seneca

Posted: Sat May 23, 2020 7:03 pm
by cassowary
Sertorio wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 5:09 am
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, 4 BC – AD 65
On Tranquility of Mind

"(...) We pass now to property, the greatest source of affliction to humanity. If you balance all our other troubles - deaths, diseases, fears, longings, subjections to labour and pain - with the miseries in which our money involves us, the latter will far outweigh the former. Reflect, then, how much less a grief it is not to have money than to lose it, and then you will realize that poverty has less to torment us with in the degree that it has less to lose. (...)"
My admiration for some of the Latin classics is ever increasing. Greece, Rome and their philosophy and literature are indeed the foundations of our civilization. We just have to pick up where they left, and we may end up with a much better world...
It sounds like what is in the Bible, Sertorio.

“The love of money is the root of all evil.”

I am afraid Seneca, while he had some good ideas, will fail to inspire anyone to a higher moral standard. That’s because he was a hypocrite.

Seneca was fabulously wealthy even as he nattered on about how bad money was. And his wealth was not earned by selling people a useful product or service. Rockefeller grew rich by providing people with oil⛽️.

Seneca grew rich by advising a brutal dictator, Nero, one of Rome’s worst dictator. His money was tainted by blood.

Re: Wealth According to Seneca

Posted: Sun May 24, 2020 12:27 am
by cassowary
cassowary wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:33 pm
Sertorio wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 5:09 am
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, 4 BC – AD 65
On Tranquility of Mind

"(...) We pass now to property, the greatest source of affliction to humanity. If you balance all our other troubles - deaths, diseases, fears, longings, subjections to labour and pain - with the miseries in which our money involves us, the latter will far outweigh the former. Reflect, then, how much less a grief it is not to have money than to lose it, and then you will realize that poverty has less to torment us with in the degree that it has less to lose. (...)"
My admiration for some of the Latin classics is ever increasing. Greece, Rome and their philosophy and literature are indeed the foundations of our civilization. We just have to pick up where they left, and we may end up with a much better world...
Yes, I can see where you are coming from, Sertorio. You are a Marxist or Socialist or Progressive or whatever label you choose to hide behind.

You have an agenda, like all leftists. That agenda includes the destruction of religion, especially Christianity. This is called “cultural Marxism”. Antonio Gramsci taught that the reason why communism had not overthrown capitalism yet is because the plutocrats dominated the culture which supports capitalism. Hence we have culture wars.

So you want to discredit Christianity by elevating the classical civilisations of Greece and Rome. Yet in their long history they had no abolition movement. They practiced infanticide and they had gladiatorial combat.
The Romans practiced collective punishment such as the decimation of rebellious army legions.

It was Christian ideas that put an end to all that.
Seneca reminds of me of some modern people, like the top supporters of say Hugo Chavez. For example, former Venezuelan Electricity Minister, Luis Motta Dominguez, was charged in Miami of money laundering.

Seneca got rich by being an advisor of Nero likely much in the same way as Chavez's cronies. Like modern day Venezuela, the top 1% were all close friends and supporters of the top guy, Nero. Seneca wrote about how money corrupts people. Chavez and his cronies talked about redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. After all, they claimed to be Socialists. The result was that the people became poorer while they redistributed the wealth of the country to themselves who became the new top 1%.

A battle over billions in stolen Venezuelan funds is heating up in Miami federal court

The thing is that Socialist leaders always get rich while their people become poor. Then they put their money into capitalist countries. The Venezuelans are dumb to put their money in the US. The Americans are too honorable to take corrupt money from dictatorships. We have no such qualms in Singapore. Ask Robert Mugabe. He died a wealthy man in Singapore. And he was Socialist too.

Whenever a Socialist government wins power in a Third World country, we know what is going to happen. The country becomes a dictatorship. The people become poor while the leaders become rich through corruption and thievery. Such leaders are potential clients for the banking industry.

Remember my granny's wise words. Politicians join politics to gain power, money and girls. I think I will improve on that. Socialist politicians are in politics to gain power, money and girls.

Re: Wealth According to Seneca

Posted: Mon May 25, 2020 2:43 pm
by neverfail
Was Seneca a hypocrite then?

Re: Wealth According to Seneca

Posted: Mon May 25, 2020 3:35 pm
by Sertorio
neverfail wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 2:43 pm
Was Seneca a hypocrite then?
In terms of money, he undoubtedly was, but his fortune had little to do with any support he might have had from Nero. He simply lent money at very high rates of interest. As to his relationship with Nero, it seems that his influence was responsible for Nero's good behaviour as an emperor, in the first years of his reign.
From AD 54 to 62, Seneca acted as Nero's advisor, together with the praetorian prefect Sextus Afranius Burrus. One byproduct of his new position was that Seneca was appointed suffect consul in 56. Seneca's influence was said to have been especially strong in the first year. Seneca composed Nero's accession speeches in which he promised to restore proper legal procedure and authority to the Senate.

(...)

Tacitus and Dio suggest that Nero's early rule, during which he listened to Seneca and Burrus, was quite competent. However, the ancient sources suggest that, over time, Seneca and Burrus lost their influence over the emperor.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seneca_the_Younger
But I agree that his writings were of a higher quality than his actions. Fortunately we can judge him by what he wrote, which in my opinion was exceptionally good. Definitely worth reading.

Re: Wealth According to Seneca

Posted: Mon May 25, 2020 8:42 pm
by cassowary
Sertorio wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 3:35 pm
neverfail wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 2:43 pm
Was Seneca a hypocrite then?
In terms of money, he undoubtedly was, but his fortune had little to do with any support he might have had from Nero. He simply lent money at very high rates of interest. As to his relationship with Nero, it seems that his influence was responsible for Nero's good behaviour as an emperor, in the first years of his reign.
Sertorio,

I am not so sure that his fortune had little to do with Nero.
And what looks even worse is that Seneca grew rich from Nero’s crimes. Following Britannicus’ murder, the boy’s wealth was divvied up, and Seneca, it seems, got a piece.
You should read the entire article to learn of Roman life. Their terrible behavior shows the utter failure of your vaunted Stoics like Seneca to improve the morals of the Romans. Here are a few snippets:
Britannicus’ murder prompted one of Seneca’s most famous moral treatises, “On Mercy.” The work is addressed to Nero, who is also its subject. Seneca’s conceit is that the philosopher has nothing to teach the emperor about clemency; the essay is merely a “mirror” to show the young ruler his own virtues.
So Seneca got rich by serving this ancient Saddam Hussein. He wrote propaganda for Nero.
Agrippina arranged for Nero to marry one of Claudius’ daughters. A year after that, the story goes, she had Claudius murdered, using a poisoned mushroom.
Around the time that Seneca composed “On the Happy Life,” a former consul named Publius Suillius had the temerity to accuse him in public of hypocrisy and of sucking the provinces dry. Shortly thereafter, Suillius found himself exiled.
The scheming wife is a fixture of Roman history. As bad as the men are, the women are worse—ruthless, cunning, and often sex-crazed. Many of the stories that come down to us are difficult to credit; for example, before Claudius had his third wife, Messalina, whacked, she was reported to have held a twenty-four-hour sex competition with a hooker. (According to Pliny, she won.)
Don't you think that Christian civilization is better than pagan Roman civilization? The behavior of the ancient Romans showed that the Stoic philosophers failed to improve the behavior of the Roman people. One reason is because the philosophers themselves do not practice what they preached.

Another reason is that you need the belief in a Supernatural Being to punish and reward you in the afterlife to get people to behave. Having a human philosopher, who no doubt had his faults, does not serve this purpose. Take Confucius for example. People know he was human. They may admire his teachings but people take a "cafeteria approach" to his teachings. A frequent comment would be to say, "Well his teachings might be valid for ancient times, but they don't apply today." We can pick and choose when the moral teacher and exemplar is human.

Sertorio, your Marxist hope to build a new moral system on Roman philosophers to replace Christian ethics won't work.

Re: Wealth According to Seneca

Posted: Wed May 27, 2020 6:35 am
by neverfail
Roman civilization was pagan as well as stocic. Very likely the multitude of deities they recognised and whose intercession they sought did not hold them accountable in the next life for the sins and Grace's of this one:. unlike the God of Jews and Christians.

Re: Wealth According to Seneca

Posted: Wed May 27, 2020 10:31 pm
by cassowary
neverfail wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 6:35 am
Roman civilization was pagan as well as stocic. Very likely the multitude of deities they recognised and whose intercession they sought did not hold them accountable in the next life for the sins and Grace's of this one:. unlike the God of Jews and Christians.
You are right. Their gods were amoral. So they did not inspire good behavior with their human worshippers. The Christian conception of a loving Father in heaven inspires compassion but also sternness against wrongdoing.