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On the Shortness of Life

Seneca, Charles Desmond Nuttall Costa

5 mins

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On The Shortness Of Life is a 2,000-year-old essay by the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca about how we can best use our time on Earth to lead a fulfilling life.

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On the Shortness of Life

On the Shortness of Life

by Seneca

Overview

It's often said that life is short. In fact, the average human life contains many thousands of days. Yet how many of the 86,400 seconds of each day do we use wisely? Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger was a writer, philosopher, and politician who lived from 4 BCE to 65 CE. Serving as tutor and advisor to the emperor Nero, Seneca was forced to commit suicide when he was – likely wrongly – accused of taking part in a conspiracy. In this essay addressed to his father-in-law Paulinus, the philosopher reflects on how we can best use the time given to us in our lives to live with dignity and purpose.

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You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire.

- Seneca the Younger

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