Seneca on Providence

The following quotes in italics are said by Seneca, the stoic philosopher. Whats left is merely my reiteration, agreement and approval of what he said; and occasionally there will be a slight sense of accusation towards the reader. I am already not apologizing.

'Without an antagonist prowess fades away.'

If everything were like a hot knife through butter, merit would be non-existent. No man would be honorable for he never completed a thing above himself. An automaton incapable of doing poorly or even excellently.

'God's attitude to good men is a Father's; His love for them is a manly love. "Let them be harassed by toil and sorrow and loss," says he, "that so they may acquire true strength."'

Had we not been kicked out of paradise we would never learned our error. To know where we fall short of the glory of God is a fantastic gift to receive. It is not a malevolent God torturing us, but a loving God training us.

'Among the many magnificent sayings of our friend Demetrius is the following, which I have just heard; it still rings and reverberates in my ears. "No one is more unhappy, in my judgment," says he, "than a man who has never met with adversity."'

Those who live the luxurious life of endless pleasure fail their God and themselves to be accomplished. To have never exerted themselves to finish a project because everything was brought to them on a silver platter is a very sad living.

'A gladiator counts it a disgrace to be matched with an inferior; he knows that a victory devoid of danger is a victory devoid of glory.'

To where protective gear when executing a stunt is much like this. If there is no risk there is no glory. Don't make your kids wear helmets, otherwise you will raise timid children with no chest.

'Soldiers glory in their wounds and gladly vaunt themselves over the blood they were privileged to shed.'

No better thing to receive in battle than a scar. Tattoos? Please . . . . Slight non life threatening pain deserves no applause.

'Do not, I beseech you, dread the things which the immortal gods apply to our souls like goads; disaster is virtues opportunity.'

Like before, only in the face of calamity can we truly gauge a man's moral behavior. If they can't handle their will being beaten, they were never good men in the first place.

'And no man in such a detachment will say, "The general has treated me badly," but rather, "The general thinks well of me." Similarly, those told off to undergo what cowards and weaklings would weep over should say, "God has judged us fit subjects to try how much human nature can endure."'

If you are ordered to succeed through Hell, I couldn't imagine a greater honor. Christ went through Hell; are we not instructed to be Christ like? (Don't take this one out of context, or too far.)

'All excesses are injurious, but immoderate prosperity is the most dangerous of all. It affects the brain, it conjures empty fantasies up in the mind, and it befogs the distinction between true and false with a confusing cloud.'

Medications to relieve pain used in excess is cowardly and stupefying. Go on an illusory trip to a place where nothing harms you and pain is non-existent and tell me how great of an individual you are. Fools.

'Death by starvation comes gently, gluttony makes men explode.'

Which would you choose? Be honest.

'By suffering misfortune the mind grows able to belittle suffering.'

The more pain and thought, the more stoicism creeps in to help.

'What grounds do you have to complain of me, you who have opted for righteousness?'

This is quite Lewisian but who are we to speak to the gods "Till We Have Face?"

'The men you look upon as happy, if you could see not their outward appearance but their inward nature, are wretched, squalid, mean, well groomed on the surface like their own house walls . . . . But when something happens to set them awry and uncover them, then one can see what a mass of genuine foulness their adventitious glitter concealed.'

The most unhappy have the best disguises. Don't be fooled by them and their lifestyle. They wouldn't know the first rule to happiness.

'Even as you pray for life, study death.'

It is no problem to want to live comfortably, but know that it is not your right and may be taken away. And know why it happens as such.