4. Why do we Fear Death ? 我们为什么害怕死亡?

Why do we fear death ?
Unwilling to live, yet know not to die.

On the TERRORS of DEATH

Keep on as you have begun, & make all possible haste, so that you may have longer enjoyment of an improved mind,

One that is at peace with itself.

Doubtless you will derive enjoyment during the time when you are improving your mind & setting it at peace with itself;

but quite different is the pleasure which comes from contemplation when one’s mind is so cleansed from every stain that it shines.

Nevertheless, you may look for a still greater joy when you have laid aside the mind of childhood & when wisdom has enrolled you among adults.

For it is not childhood that still stays with us, but something worse, – childishness.

And this condition is all the more serious because we possess the authority of old age, together with the follies of childhood, yea, even the follies of infancy.

Babies fear trifles, children fear shadows, we fear both.

All you need to do is to advance; you will thus understand that some things are less to be dreaded,

Precisely because they inspire us with great fear.

No evil is great which is the last evil of all.

Death arrives;

it would be a thing to dread, if it could remain with you.

But death must either not come at all, or else must come and pass away.

“It is difficult, however,” you say, “to bring the mind to a point where it can scorn life.”

But do you not see what trifling reasons impel people to scorn life?

One hangs oneself before the door of their lovers; another hurls themself from the house-top that they may no longer be compelled to bear the taunts of the bad-tempered; a third, to be saved from arrest after running away, drives a sword into their vitals.

Do you not suppose that virtue will be as efficacious as excessive fear?

No one can have a peaceful life who thinks too much about lengthening it, or believes that living through many consulships is a great blessing.

Rehearse this thought every day, that you may be able to depart from life contentedly;

for many people clutch & cling to life, even as those who are carried down a rushing stream clutch & cling to briars & sharp rocks.

Most people ebb & flow in wretchedness between the fear of death & the hardships of life;

They are unwilling to live, & yet they do not know how to die.

For this reason, make life as a whole agreeable to yourself by banishing all worry about it.

No good thing renders its possessor happy, unless their mind is reconciled to the possibility of loss;

Nothing, however, is lost with less discomfort than that which, when lost, cannot be missed.

Therefore, encourage and toughen your spirit against the mishaps that afflict even the most powerful.

No one has ever been so far advanced by Fortune that it did not threaten them as greatly as it had previously indulged them.

Do not trust it’s seeming calm; in a moment the sea is moved to its depths.

Reflect that an enemy may cut your throat; &, though they are not your master, every slave wields the power of life & death over you.

Therefore I declare to you: One is lord of their life that scorns their own.

Think of those who have perished through plots in their own homes, slain either openly or by guile; you will then understand that just as many have been killed by angry slaves as by angry kings.

What matter, therefore, how powerful one be whom you fear, when everyone possesses the power which inspires your fear?

“But,” you will say, “if you should chance to fall into the hands of the enemy, the conqueror will command that you be led away,”

– Yes, whither, you are already being led.

Why do you voluntarily deceive yourself & require to be told now for the first time what fate it is that you have long been labouring under?

Take my word for it: since the day you were born you are being led thither.

We must ponder this thought, & thoughts of the like nature, if we desire to be calm as we await that last hour, the fear of which makes all previous hours uneasy.

But I must end my letter. Let me share with you the saying which pleased me to-day. It, too, is culled from another man’s Garden:

“Poverty brought into conformity with the law of nature, is great wealth.”

Do you know what limits that law of nature ordains for us?

Merely to avert hunger, thirst, and cold.

In order to banish hunger & thirst, it is not necessary for you to pay court at the doors of the purse-proud, or to submit to the stern frown, or to the kindness that humiliates;

nor is it necessary for you to scour the seas, or go campaigning; nature’s needs are easily provided & ready to hand.

It is the superfluous things for which people sweat, – the superfluous things that wear our clothes threadbare, that force us to grow old in camp, that dash us upon foreign shores.

That which is enough is ready to our hands.

One who has made a fair compact with poverty is rich.

FareWell。

Stoic, Seneca, StoicTaoist。

Death Arrives

我们为什么害怕死亡?
不愿活,却不知如何死。

论死亡的恐怖

继续你已经开始的生活,尽可能地加快速度,这样你就可以更长久地享受心灵的改善,

与自己和平相处的人。

毫无疑问,当你在改善你的思想时,你会得到快乐&让它平静下来;

但完全不同的是,当一个人的思想从它所闪耀的每一个污点上被如此净化时,来自沉思的快乐。

然而,当你抛开童年的思想&当智慧将你招入成人行列时,你可能会寻找更大的快乐。

因为与我们同在的不是童年,而是更糟糕的事情——孩子气。

这种情况更加严重,因为我们拥有老年的权威,以及童年的愚蠢,甚至是婴儿期的愚笨。

婴儿害怕琐事,孩子害怕阴影,我们两者都害怕。

你所需要做的就是前进;这样你就会明白有些事情不那么可怕,

正是因为它们激发了我们极大的恐惧。

没有什么邪恶是伟大的,它是所有邪恶中的最后一个。

死亡 得来临;

如果它能留在你身边,那将是一件可怕的事。

但死亡要么根本不来,要么就来了又走。

“然而,”你说,“很难让思维达到可以蔑视生命的地步。”

但你难道看不出是什么微不足道的理由促使人们蔑视生活吗?

一个人挂在爱人的门前;另一个人把自己从屋顶上摔下来,这样他们就不会再被迫忍受坏脾气的嘲笑;第三个逃走后被从逮捕中解救出来,用剑刺入他的要害。

你不认为美德和过度恐惧一样的效应吗?

没有人能拥有一个和平的生活,谁想延长它太多,或相信通过许多领事生活是一个伟大的祝福。

每天排练这个想法,这样你就可以心满意足地离开生活;

对许多人来说,他们紧紧抓住生命,就像那些被急流冲走的人紧紧抓住荆棘和尖锐的岩石一样。

大多数人在对死亡的恐惧和生活的艰辛之间的痛苦中起伏;

他们不愿生,但不知道如何死。

出于这个原因,让生活作为一个整体,让自己愉快的放逐所有担心它。

没有什么好东西能使拥有它的人快乐,除非他们的心能接受可能的损失;

然而,没有什么比失去时不能错过的东西更令人不安。

因此,鼓励和磨练你的精神,对抗那些折磨最强大的人的灾难。

从来没有人会因为命运的安排而受到如此大的威胁,以至于没有人会像以前那样放纵他们。

不要相信它看起来很平静;顷刻间,大海被移动到了它的深处。

反映出敌人可能会割断你的喉咙;&,虽然他们不是你的主人,但每一个奴隶都对你拥有生与死的力量。

想想那些在自己家中被阴谋杀害的人,他们要么被公开杀害,要么被狡诈杀害;你会明白,被愤怒的奴隶杀害的人和被愤怒的国王杀害的人一样多。

因此,当每个人都拥有激发你恐惧的力量时,你所恐惧的人有多强大又有什么关系呢?

“但是,”你会说,“如果你有机会落入敌人手中,征服者会命令你被带走。”

–是的,你已经被带到了哪里。

你为什么要自欺欺人&现在第一次要求别人告诉你,你长期以来所受的命运是什么?

相信我的话:从你出生的那天起,你就被带到了那里。

如果我们希望在等待最后一个小时时保持冷静,我们必须思考这种想法&类似性质的想法,因为对这一点的恐惧使之前的所有时间都感到不安。

但我必须结束我的信。让我和你分享一句今天令我高兴的话。它也是从另一个人的花园里挑选出来的:

符合自然规律的贫困是巨大的财富

你知道自然法则给我们规定了什么限制吗?

只是为了避免饥饿、干渴和寒冷。

为了消除饥饿和干渴,你没有必要在钱包门口高傲地求爱,也没有必要屈从于严厉的皱眉,或者屈从于羞辱你的仁慈;

你也没有必要去搜海,或者去竞选;大自然的需求很容易满足,随时可以满足。

正是那些让人们流失多余的东西,那些让我们衣衫褴褛多余的东西,迫使我们在营地变老,让我们冲向异国他乡。

足够的东西已经准备好交给我们了。

一个与贫穷达成了公平契约的人是富有的。

再会。

斯多葛派,塞内卡派,坚道学。

3. How to be Friends ?

One who reposes should act & One who acts should take repose.

When friendship is settled, you must trust; before friendship is formed, you must pass judgment.

How to be friends ?
Pass Judgment & Trust.

True and False Friendship.

You have sent a letter to me through the hand of a “friend” of yours.
And in your very next sentence you warn me not to discuss with them all the matters that concern you, saying that even you yourself are not accustomed to do this; in other words, you have in the same letter affirmed & denied that they are your friends. 

Now if you used this word of ours in the popular sense, & called them “friend” in the same way in which we speak of all candidates for election as “honourable persons,” and as we greet all people whom we meet casually, if their names slip us for the moment, with the salutation “my dear,” – so be it.

But if you consider anyone a friend whom you do not trust as you trust yourself, you are mightily mistaken & you do not sufficiently understand what true friendship means.

Indeed, I would have you discuss everything with a friend; but first of all discuss the person themselves.

When friendship is settled, you must trust; before friendship is formed, you must pass judgment.

Those people indeed put last first & confound their duties, who, violating the rules of Theophrastus, judge a person after they have made them their friends, instead of making them their friends after they have judged them.

Ponder for a long time whether you shall admit a given person to your friendship; but when you have decided to admit them, welcome them with all your heart & soul. Speak as boldly with them as with yourself. 

As to yourself, although you should live in such a way that you trust your own self with nothing which you could not entrust even to your enemy, yet, since certain matters occur which convention keeps secret, you should share with a friend at least all your worries & reflections.

Regard them as loyal, & you will make them loyal.

Some, for example, fearing to be deceived, have taught people to deceive; by their suspicions they have given their friends the right to do wrong.

Why need I keep back any words in the presence of my friend?
Why should I not regard myself as alone when in their company?

There is a class of people who communicate, to anyone whom they meet, matters which should be revealed to friends alone, & unload upon the chance listener whatever irks them.

Others, again, fear to confide in their closest intimates; & if it were possible, they would not trust even themselves, burying their secrets deep in their hearts.

But we should do neither.
It is equally faulty to trust everyone & to trust no one.
Yet the former fault is, I should say, the more ingenuous, the latter the more safe. 

In like manner you should rebuke these two kinds of people,
– both those who always lack repose, & those who are always in repose.

For love of bustle is not industry,
– it is only the restlessness of a hunted mind.

And true repose does not consist in condemning all motion as merely vexation; that kind of repose is slackness & inertia. 

Therefore, you should note the following saying, taken from my reading in Pomponius:
“Some people shrink into dark corners, to such a degree that they see darkly by day.”

No, people should combine these tendencies, &


One who reposes should act & One who acts should take repose.

Discuss the problem with Nature;


Nature will tell you that it has created both day & night.

FareWell。

Stoic, Seneca, StoicTaoist。

2. What is Enough ?

StoicTaoist

When being Everywhere means Nowhere.
Having what is necessary, is to have what is enough.

Discursiveness in Reading.

Judging by what you write me, and by what I hear, I am forming a good opinion regarding your future.

You do not run hither and thither and distract yourself by changing your abode;
for such restlessness is the sign of a disordered spirit.

The primary indication, to my thinking, of a well-ordered mind is a man’s ability to remain in one place and linger in his own company. 

Be careful, however, lest this reading of many authors and books of every sort may tend to make you discursive and unsteady.

You must linger among a limited number of master-thinkers, and digest their works,
if you would derive ideas which shall win firm hold in your mind.

Everywhere means nowhere.

When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends.

And the same thing must hold true of men who seek intimate acquaintance with no single author, but visit them all in a hasty and hurried manner. 

Food does no good and is not assimilated into the body if it leaves the stomach as soon as it is eaten;
nothing hinders a cure so much as frequent change of medicine;
no wound will heal when one salve is tried after another;
a plant which is often moved can never grow strong.

There is nothing so efficacious that it can be helpful while it is being shifted about.
And in reading of many books is distraction.

Accordingly, since you cannot read all the books which you may possess,
it is enough to possess only as many books as you can read. 

“But,” you reply, “I wish to dip first into one book and then into another.”

I tell you that it is the sign of an overnice appetite to toy with many dishes;
for when they are manifold and varied, they cloy but do not nourish.

So you should always read standard authors;
and when you crave a change, fall back upon those whom you read before.

Each day acquire something that will fortify you against poverty,
against death, indeed against other misfortunes as well;
and after you have run over many thoughts, select one to be thoroughly digested that day. 

This is my own custom; from the many things which I have read, I claim some one part for myself.

The thought for to-day is one which I discovered in Epicurus; he says

“Contented poverty is an honourable estate.”

Indeed, if it be contented, it is not poverty at all.
It is not the man who has too little,
but the man who craves more, that is poor.

What does it matter how much a man has laid up in his safe, or in his warehouse, how large are his flocks and how fat his dividends,
if he covets his neighbor’s property, and reckons, not his past gains, but his hopes of gains to come?

Do you ask what is the proper limit to wealth?

It is, first,
to have what is necessary,
and, second,
to have what is enough.

FareWell。

Enough

Stoic, Seneca, StoicTaoist。

1. Set Me Free !

Saving Time.

Greetings from Seneca to his friend Lucilius. Continue to act thus, my dear Lucilius –

Set yourself free for your own sake; gather and save your time,

which till lately has been forced from you, or filched away, or has merely slipped from your hands.

Make yourself believe the truth of my words,

– that certain moments are torn from us, that some are gently removed, and that others glide beyond our reach.

The most disgraceful kind of loss, however, is that due to carelessness.

Furthermore, if you will pay close heed to the problem, you will find that the largest portion of our life passes while we are doing ill,

a goodly share while we are doing nothing, and the whole while we are doing that which is not to the purpose. 

What man can you show me who places any value on his time, who reckons the worth of each day, who understands that he is dying daily?

For we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed. Whatever years lie behind us are in death’s hands.

Therefore, Lucilius, do as you write me that you are doing: hold every hour in your grasp.

Lay hold of to-day’s task, and you will not need to depend so much upon to-morrow’s.

While we are postponing, life speeds by.

Nothing, is ours, except time.

We were entrusted by nature with the ownership of this single thing, so fleeting and slippery that anyone who will can oust us from possession.

What fools these mortals be!

They allow the cheapest and most useless things, which can easily be replaced, to be charged in the reckoning, after they have acquired them;

but they never regard themselves as in debt when they have received some of that precious commodity,

TIME  !

And yet time is the one loan which even a grateful recipient cannot repay.

You may desire to know how I, who preach to you so freely, am practicing.

I confess frankly: my expense account balances, as you would expect from one who is free-handed but careful.

I cannot boast that I waste nothing, but I can at least tell you what I am wasting, and the cause and manner of the loss;

I can give you the reasons why I am a poor man.

My situation, however, is the same as that of many who are reduced to slender means through no fault of their own:

every one forgives them, but no one comes to their rescue.

For, as our ancestors believed, it is too late to spare when you reach the dregs of the cask.

Of that which remains at the bottom, the amount is slight, and the quality is vile.

I advise you, however, to keep what is really yours; and you cannot begin too early.

What is the state of things, then?

It is this: I do not regard a man as poor, if the little which remains is enough for him.

Farewell 。

Nourish before Craving 渴望 初中

Nourish before Craving

It is the sign of an overnice appetite to toy with many dishes; for when they are manifold and varied, they cloy but do not nourish.

So you should always read standard authors; and when you crave a change, fall back upon those whom you read before.

Nourish before Craving

当你胃口过度渴望多方面; 和多样化的迹象时,

当太多种多样时,通常是会令人反感; 最初令人愉悦的东西。

所以,当你渴望改变的时候,回到那些你以前初中的滋养。

渴望 初中
渴望 初中

Crave not for variety and plenty,

As it may fill up, yet not fulfilled.

Seek not the latest & newest aplenty,

Search that which is ready & awaits within.

StoicTaoist 坚道学
Nourish before Craving

Possess Distraction 拥有 分心

Possess Distraction

In reading of many books, many is a distraction. 

Accordingly, since you cannot read all the books which you may possess, it is enough to possess only as many books as you can read.

Possess Distraction

在阅读你所有许多书籍时,太多是一种分心。

既然你无法阅读所有您可能拥有的,

因此仅只拥有您可阅读的书籍就足够了。

拥有 分心
拥有 分心

Having too many, possessing too much,

Can be too distracting.

Having what is needed, is to posse that which is enough.

StoicTaoist 坚道学
Possess Distraction

Assimilate 融合

Assimilate

Food does no good, when it is not assimilated into the body;

nothing hinders a cure so much as frequent change of medicine;

a plant which is often moved can never grow strong.

There is nothing so efficacious that it can be helpful while it is being shifted about.

Assimilate
融合

食物没有被身体吸收就没有好处;

像频繁更换药那样 ;

经常被移动的植物永远无法茁强。

转移不融不被同化 ;

是没什么有效的了。

融合
Assimilate

There is nothing as efficacious, as constantly, shifting & searching for the most flavorful, the best & brightest.

Assimilate that which is important & available.

Absorb & thoroughly understand & utilize before moving on.

StoicTaoist 坚道学

Food does no good, when it is not assimilated into the body;

nothing hinders a cure so much as frequent change of medicine;

a plant which is often moved can never grow strong.

There is nothing so efficacious that it can be helpful while it is being shifted about.

There is nothing as efficacious, as constantly,

shifting & searching for the most flavorful, the best & brightest.

Assimilate that which is important & available.

Absorb & thoroughly understand & utilize before moving on.

食物没有被身体吸收就没有好处;

像频繁更换药那样 ;

经常被移动的植物永远无法茁强。

转移不融不被同化 ;

是没什么有效的了。

Everywhere means nowhere 匆忙 无处

When one spends all their time in foreign travel, they end by having many acquaintances, but no friends.

The same thing hold true of those who seek intimate acquaintance with no single author, but visit all in a hasty & hurried manner.

Everywhere means Nowhere

无处不在, 意味着无处可去。

当一个人把所有的时间都花在国外旅行时,他最终会结识很多熟人,但没有朋友。

同样的事情适用于那些寻求, 与没有

一个单一的作者,但又匆匆忙忙地

访问所有人的人, 也是如此。

匆忙 无处

To be Everywhere,

Is to be Nowhere.

Be presence Now.

StoicTaoist 坚道学
Everywhere means Nowhere

Linger & Digest

Linger Digest

Be careful, lest reading of many authors of every sort,

may tend to make one discursive.

Linger among a limited number of master thinkers.

Digest their works, & derive ideals that shall win

a firm hold in your mind.

Linger & Digest

小心,以免阅读众多作者,

往往会让人觉得 散漫扯不着边的离题。

在有限的大师家中徘徊。

领会他们的思想,

并能赢得一个坚定的理念。

徘徊 领会

Let not the multitude of authors,

cloud your thoughts.

Grasp the essence of great master,

thus can one strengthen the mind.

StoicTaoist 坚道学
Linger & Digest