Saturday, March 23, 2019

Stoic Philosophy - Seneca - The life of the philosopher

The articles on stoic philosophy are a regular feature of the UU A Way Of Life blog which appear on Saturdays.


Seneca's little book, On The Shortness Of Life, has the ability to stimulate thoughts about the purpose and meaning of life, UU's fourth principle which is the affimation and promotion of the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Seneca is encouraging this search to take us into the realm of philosophy which leads us to the most fundamental question of "What is the good life and how to live it."

Socrates tells us that "The unexamined life is not worth living." It is in the examination of our experiences in life that we deepen and enrich our interior spiritual life and become more aware of our innate holiness.

The point made in A Course In Miracles is that we can walk the path of the ego, or the path of God. The Universalists have taught us that the path of God is the awareness of, and extension, of Unconditional Love. The path of the ego is the way of conditional love which brings grievance, resentment, fear, and sorrow. The only essential question in life is "Which path do we choose to walk, the path of the ego or the path of God."

Seneca's quote today reminds us that the life of the philosopher is not bound by the illusions and idols found on the path of the ego. "He alone is freed from the limitations of the human race." The life of the philosopher has taken him/her on the path of God into the realm of the nondualistic Oneness to which the perennial philosphy points us. It is this perennial philosophy accumlated from "all ages" as Seneca writes, "which serve him as if a god."

Unitarian Univeralism calls itself a "living tradition" which draws from many sources or which six are named but in summary make up what is called the perennial philosophy and Seneca calls "the wide range."

The quote above is very pithy and succinct and when deconstructed deepens our understanding of what can make life richer and more meaningful and deepen our spiritual lives.

1 comment:

  1. The articles on stoic philosophy are interesting and informative. I look forward to them on Saturdays. Thanks for bringing the gems of Stoic philosophy into our UU living tradition.

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