Seneca the Younger and Good Life

1251 words 6 pages
Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c. 1 BCE ' CE 65), one of the most famous later Stoic philosophers who had a huge contribution to the Stoicism in Roman Imperial Period, claimed that practicing philosophy is the only way to live a good live (Cooper and Procope 1995: xv; Seneca Letter XC Ex. 1). It was a very brave statement at that time and has been a controversy until now. This essay will explain what philosophy and good life are in Seneca’s view, then consider the role of philosophy, and finally extend the reasons why that assertion cannot be accepted.

According to the Costa (1997: xv-xvii), Stoicism that was founded by Zeno had the most influence to Seneca’s beliefs about philosophy. Therefore, his philosophy was inclined to the stoic system.
…show more content…

This means that nature gives all human’s needs and it is the philosophy task to explore and live harmoniously with nature to live a good life (full of happiness).

On the contrary, I do not agree with Seneca, because his beliefs about suicide and practicing philosophy are very contradictory and unacceptable logically. As stated above, the examples of practicing philosophy are living in accordance with the nature and accepting fate (Campbell 2004: 15). Whereas he, as a Stoic, believes that suicide is permitted in some circumstances, for instance, when people are suffer because of the backache, become the victims of dictator, and work shamefully, as a way out of life’s difficulties (Brennan 2005: 8). Seneca allows suicide because he thinks that suicide makes all human feelings disappear to become unemotional. In fact, suicide means opposing our destiny that is given by nature because it is humans who decide whether to die or not, not nature. Another illustration of Seneca’s inconsistency is shown in his view about good life and his basic idea of a Stoic. He believed that virtue is the most essential components in achieving happiness or a good life (Sellars, 2006: 3), while he believed that people might not have emotions that can make them suffered (Seneca On Anger 3(1)). Whereas, some emotions, such as mercy