The best life is the examined life

Seneca: On the Shortness of Life

In this workshop, we will turn our attention to the Stoic philosopher Seneca. He believed that philosophy is medicine for the soul. That is, self-examination through rational inquiry is necessary for living a flourishing life. As he says in letter 16:

“[Philosophy] molds and constructs the soul; it orders our life, guides our conduct, shows us what we should do and what we should leave undone; it sits at the helm and directs our course as we waver amid uncertainties. Without it, no one can live fearlessly, or in peace of mind. Countless things that happen every hour call for advice; and such advice is to be sought in philosophy”

We will center our discussion around Seneca’s essay: On the Shortness of Life. This will provide us with an excellent starting point for exploring Stoicism and how Seneca understands philosophy’s role in changing our lives for the better. More importantly, we will discuss how we can apply Seneca’s advice on life to our own lives.