Just saw the fabulous play ‘Art’ by Yasmina Reza at Soulpepper. A line in the play is ‘Read Seneca’, which I have.

Seneca was born around 4 B.C. but his insights are still worth thinking about:

“Let our aim be a way of life not diametrically opposed to, but better than that of the mob.”

“There is no enjoying the possession of anything valuable unless one has someone to share it with.”

“Associate with people who are likely to improve you.”

“Only the wise man is content with what is his. All foolishness suffers the burden of dissatisfaction with itself.”

“…isn’t it the height of folly to learn inessential things when time’s so desperately short!…every life without exception is a short one.”

“With afflictions of the spirit, though, the opposite is the case: the worse a person is, the less he feels it…acknowledging one’s failings is a sign of health.”

“A man is as unhappy as he has convinced himself he is…everything hangs on one’s thinking…What’s the good of dragging up sufferings which are over, of being unhappy now just because you were then?…when some trouble or other comes to an end the natural thing is to be glad.”

“the feeling that one is tired of being, of existing, is usually the result of an idle and inactive leisure…Let us expand our life: action is its theme and duty.”

“drunkenness is nothing but a state of self-induced insanity.”

“Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are.”

“To govern was to serve, not to rule.”

“To be really respected is to be loved: and love and fear will not mix.”

“Every day, every hour sees a change in you, although the ravages of time are easier to see in others.”

“And what madness it is to deny ourself everything and so build up a fortune for your heir…for the more he’s going to get the more gleeful he’s going to be at your death.”