Today’s Quote: Seneca

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“This is what our mind should do: it should hide away all the materials by which it has been aided, and bring to light only what it has made of them. Even if there shall appear in you a likeness to him who, by reason of your admiration, has left a deep impress upon you, I would have you resemble him as a child resembles his father, and not as a picture resembles its original; for a picture is a lifeless thing.”

— Seneca, Epistle LXXXIV

Classical Revival

I’m almost ashamed to be writing this.

Although I’ve been familiar with the great names of our ancient western heritage—names like Homer, Virgil, Plato, Tacitus, Sophocles and many, many others—for pretty much my entire life, I didn’t begin earnestly reading and studying them until after I’d already passed my half-century mark. And me, the degreed historian too! I can recall playing King Agamemnon in a Junior High School class play, though I don’t remember much more than that. And everyone’s read The Iliad, right?

Oh boy—what I’ve been missing…

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Today’s Quote: Seneca

Quote

“We also, I say, ought to copy [the] bees, and sift whatever we have gathered from a varied course of reading, for such things are better preserved if they are kept separate; then, by applying the supervising care with which our nature has endowed us—in other words, our natural gifts—we should so blend those several flavors into one delicious compound that, even though it betrays its origin, yet it nevertheless is clearly a different thing from that whence it came.”

— Seneca, Epistle LXXXIV

Today’s Quote: Seneca

Quote

(Note: this is the first of several Seneca quotes from the same source—Epistle LXXXIV, On Gathering Ideas)

“And reading, I hold, is indespensible—primarily, to keep me from being satisfied with myself alone, and besides, after I have learned what others have found out by their studies, to enable me to pass judgment on their discoveries and reflect upon discoveries that remain to be made. Reading nourishes the mind and refreshes it when it is wearied with study; nevertheless, this refreshment is not obtained without study. We ought not to confine ourselves either to writing or reading; the one, continuous writing, will cast a gloom over our strength, and exhaust it; the other will make our strength flabby and watery. It is better to have recourse to them alternately, and to blend one with the other, so that the fruits of one’s reading may be reduced to concrete form by the pen.”

— Seneca, Epistle LXXXIV