more from Seneca the Younger

Single Idea 13318

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / b. Living naturally]

Full Idea

Nature does not give a man virtue; the process of becoming a good man is an art. ...Virtue only comes to a character which has been thoroughly schooled and trained and brought to a pitch of perfection by unremitting practice.

Gist of Idea

Nature doesn't give us virtue; we must unremittingly pursue it, as a training and an art


Seneca the Younger (Letters from a Stoic [c.60], 090)

Book Reference

Seneca: 'Letters from a Stoic (Selections)', ed/tr. Campbell,Robin [Penguin 1969], p.176

A Reaction

This is an important gloss from a leading stoic on the slogan of 'live according to nature'. One might say that the natural life must be 'tracked' (as Philip Larkin says we track happiness). The natural life is, above all, the rational life, for stoics.