Ideas from 'On the Happy Life' by Seneca the Younger [60], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Dialogues and Essays' by Seneca (ed/tr Davie,John) [Penguin 2007,978-0-19-280714-4]].

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1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 2. Wise People
A wise man is not subservient to anything
                        Full Idea: I do not call any man wise who is subservient to anything.
                        From: Seneca the Younger (On the Happy Life [c.60], 11)
                        A reaction: At the very least, a wise man should be subservient to a wiser man.
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / a. Idealistic ethics
The supreme good is harmony of spirit
                        Full Idea: The highest good is harmony of spirit.
                        From: Seneca the Younger (On the Happy Life [c.60], 08)
                        A reaction: This idea is straight from Plato's Republic.
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / c. Motivation for virtue
I seek virtue, because it is its own reward
                        Full Idea: You ask what I seek from virtue? Virtue herself. For she has nothing better, she is herself her own reward.
                        From: Seneca the Younger (On the Happy Life [c.60], 09)
                        A reaction: Presumably this is the source of the popular saying that 'virtue is its own reward'. The trouble is that this doesn't seem a very persuasive thing to say to a sceptic who doubts whether being virtuous is worth the trouble.
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / j. Unity of virtue
Virtue is always moderate, so excess need not be feared
                        Full Idea: In the case of virtue excess should not be feared, since in virtue resides moderation.
                        From: Seneca the Younger (On the Happy Life [c.60], 13)
                        A reaction: This seems to imply that all of the virtues are unified in the one achievement of the virtuous state. It leaves the notion of 'virtue' a bit thin in content, though.
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / a. Virtues
It is shameful to not even recognise your own slaves
                        Full Idea: Why, to your shame, are you so careless that you do not know your handful of slaves by sight?
                        From: Seneca the Younger (On the Happy Life [c.60], 17)
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 4. External Goods / c. Wealth
If wealth was a good, it would make men good
                        Full Idea: Wealth is not a good; for it it was, it would make men good.
                        From: Seneca the Younger (On the Happy Life [c.60], 24)
                        A reaction: An immediately attractive argument, but should we assume that anything which is good will enhance our personal goodness? If goodness is a habit, then continual pursuit of wealth is the test case to examine. Seneca is right!
Why does your wife wear in her ears the income of a wealthy house?
                        Full Idea: Why does your wife wear in her ears the income of a wealthy house?
                        From: Seneca the Younger (On the Happy Life [c.60], 17)
There is far more scope for virtue if you are wealth; poverty only allows endurance
                        Full Idea: What doubt can there be that the wise man has greater scope for displaying his powers if he is rich than if he is poor, since in the case of poverty only one kind of virtue exists - refusal to be bowed down and crushed.
                        From: Seneca the Younger (On the Happy Life [c.60], 22)
                        A reaction: It is against this view that I see Jesus proposing poverty as central to virtue. But then he has the surprising view (to Seneca) that humility is a virtue. What Nietzsche calls the slaves' inversion of values.
25. Society / D. Political Doctrines / 5. Democracy / a. Nature of democracy
Unfortunately the majority do not tend to favour what is best
                        Full Idea: Human concerns are not so happily arranged that the majority favours the better things.
                        From: Seneca the Younger (On the Happy Life [c.60], 02)
                        A reaction: On the whole Seneca is unimpressed by democracy, as people are rushed into decisions by the crowd, and live to regret them.