16 July 2013

Wanting To Live But Not To Die?

He who does not wish to die cannot have wished to live. For life is granted to us with the reservation that we shall die; to this end our path leads.

                                      Seneca, Epistle 30 (Gummere translation)

     It is a strange thing - perhaps even a sign of a kind of madness - to expect or wish for something that cannot be. No man is so unstable as to be offended when one plus one equals two instead of three; or to lament that gravity causes an apple to fall downwards from a tree and not upwards; or to expect a rain cloud to produce sunshine. These are things that must be, ordained by the very Universe itself. 
    How foolish, then, that a mortal would wish to live forever! He torments himself, desiring the impossible, while neglecting the possible - to live life nobly while life still remains to him. This one thing should be his desire.