No man is able to borrow or buy a sound mind ;. in fact, as it seems to me, even though sound minds were for sale, they
would not find buyers. Depraved minds, however,
are bought and sold every day. Seneca
What is a sound mind?
I was reading Seneca’s letters and this one in particular caught my attention.
“On the good which abides.”
At the beginning of the letter he first makes it clear that he does not want to correct Lucilious nor preach him about how he is supposed to live, for he himself is wondering the same thing as well.
That, right there, is a true teacher. Nobody can tell us what we have to do, we don’t have to do anything, and either way, every life is very different to follow the same path. I believe Seneca is here making Lucilious conscious of that. He’s doing a great job so far, but then he makes it even better.
He then starts talking about pleasures and their flettiness. True, pleasure is external and fleeting. Many times we do stuff that seems to be so good in the moment but regret stays with us far to long. Showing us that the pursuit of pleasure is not the best way to take if we ought to live cheerfully. How do we live cheerfully? Living by virtue.
Living with virtue is being in control, being the captain of the ship. Joy, springs from within, not from pleasure. That is the goal, no not goal, the process.
And it is a process. Remember when you were a child? We cried for candy, for potato chips, for our toys. Remember when you were a teenager? Cried for the girl or some other stuff.
A sound mind, is not easy attainable.
What is a sound mind exactly? I have a better answer now. A sound mind knows best from worse.
We have to work our whole lives, and fall and rise and fall and rise to get it and to realize that a life of virtue is what is best.
Because It is the best possible life we can get.
But nobody wants it. The pursuit of pleasure is ever more present in our society, we are constantly hitting dopamine on our cellphones, food and other cravings. The pursuit of philosophy and peace is rare. This is why Seneca said that if it were for sale, nobody would buy it.
Thanks for reading fellow stoic, happy to be with you in the everlasting attempt of achieving a sound mind.
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