5. How to Live ? 如何生活?

How to Live ?

Live according to Nature.

On the Philosopher’s Mean

I commend you & rejoice in the fact that you are persistent in your studies, & that, putting all else aside,

you make it each day your endeavour to become a better person.

I do not merely exhort you to keep at it; I actually beg you to do so.

I warn you, however, not to act after the fashion of those who desire to be conspicuous rather than to improve,

by doing things which will rouse comment as regards your dress or general way of living.

Repellent attire, unkempt hair, open scorn of silver dishes, a couch on the bare earth,

& any other perverted forms of self-display, are to be avoided.

The mere name of philosophy, however quietly pursued, is an object of sufficient scorn;

& what would happen if we should begin to separate ourselves from the customs of our fellowships?

Inwardly, we ought to be different in all respects, but our exterior should conform to society.

Do not wear too fine, nor yet too frowzy, a toga.

One needs no silver plate, encrusted & embossed in solid gold;

but we should not believe the lack of silver & gold to be proof of the simple life.

Let us try to maintain a higher standard of life than that of the multitude, but not a contrary standard;

otherwise, we shall frighten away & repel the very persons whom we are trying to improve.

The first thing which philosophy undertakes to give is fellow-feeling with everyone;

in other words, sympathy & sociability.

We part company with our promise if we are unlike everyone else.

We must see to it that the means by which we wish to draw admiration be not absurd & odious.

Our motto, as you know, is

“Live according to Nature”;

but it is quite contrary to nature to torture the body, to hate unlaboured elegance, to be dirty on purpose,

to eat food that is not only plain, but disgusting & forbidding.

Just as it is a sign of luxury to seek out dainties,

so it is madness to avoid that which is customary & can be purchased at no great price.

Philosophy calls for plain living, but not for penance;

& we may perfectly well be plain & neat at the same time.

This is the mean of which I approve;

our life should observe a happy medium between the ways of a sage & the ways of the world at large;

all & one should admire it, but they should understand it also.

“Well then, shall we act like other people?

Shall there be no distinction between ourselves & the world?”

Yes, a very great one;

let people find that we are unlike the common herd, if they look closely.

If they visit us at home, they should admire us, rather than our household appointments.

One is a great person who uses earthenware dishes as if they were silver;

but One is equally great who uses silver as if it were earthenware.

It is the sign of an unstable mind not to be able to endure riches.

I wish to share with you to-day’s profit also, in the writings of Hecato that the limiting of desires helps also to cure fears:

“Cease to hope, & you will cease to fear.”

“But how,” you will reply, “can things so different go side by side?”

In this way, my dear Lucilius: though they do seem at variance, yet they are really united.

Just as the same chain fastens the prisoner & the soldier who guards them,

so hope & fear, dissimilar as they are, keep step together;

fear follows hope.

I am not surprised that they proceed in this way;

each alike belongs to a mind that is in suspense,

a mind that is fretted by looking forward to the future.

But the chief cause of both these ills is that we do not adapt ourselves to the present,

but send our thoughts a long way ahead.

And so foresight,

the noblest blessing of the human race, becomes perverted.

Many of our blessings bring bane to us;

for memory recalls the tortures of fear,

while foresight anticipates them.

The present alone can make no One wretched.

Beasts avoid the dangers which they see, & when they have escaped them are free from care;

but we torment ourselves

Over that which is to Come

as well as

Over that which is Past.

FareWell。

Stoic, Seneca, StoicTaoist。

如何生活?

按自然规律生活。

论哲学家的中庸

我赞扬你,并为你坚持不懈地学习而高兴,抛开其他一切,

你每天都在努力成为一个更好的人。

我不仅劝你坚持下去;我真的请求你这么做。

然而,我警告你们,不要仿效那些希望引人注目而不是改进的人,

做一些会引起人们对你的衣着或一般生活方式的评论的事情。

令人厌恶的衣着,蓬乱的头发,对银盘的公然蔑视,光秃的土地上,

&应避免任何其他扭曲的自我展示形式。

哲学的名称,不管它如何被悄悄地追求,都是一个备受蔑视的对象;

&如果我们开始脱离习俗,会发生什么?

在内心,我们应该在各个方面都有所不同,但我们的外表应该与社会相适应。

不要穿得太细,也不要穿得太邋遢。

一个人不需要镀银板,用纯金镶嵌;

但是,我们不应该相信金银的缺乏就是简单生活的证明。

让我们努力保持比大众更高的生活标准,但不要有相反的标准;

否则,我们将吓跑和排斥那些我们正试图改进的人。

哲学承诺给予的第一件事是与每个人的同情心;

换句话说,同情和社交。

如果我们与其他人不同,我们就会放弃自己的承诺。

我们必须确保我们希望获得赞赏的手段不是荒谬和可憎的。

你知道,我们的座右铭是

“按自然生活”;

但是,折磨身体,痛恨无拘无束的优雅,故意弄脏身体,是完全违背自然的,

吃不光是普通的食物,而且是令人厌恶和禁止的食物。

正如追求美味是奢侈的象征,

因此,避免那些习惯性的东西是疯狂的&可以用不高的价格买到。

哲学要求朴素的生活,但不要求忏悔;

&我们很有可能同时做到朴素和整洁。

这是我赞同的意思;

我们的生活应该在圣人的生活方式和整个世界的生活方式之间找到一个幸福的中介;

所有人都应该钦佩它,但他们也应该理解它。

“那么,我们应该像其他人一样行事吗?

难道我们和世界之间没有区别吗?”

是的,非常棒;

如果人们仔细观察的话,让他们发现我们与普通人群不同。

如果他们在家里拜访我们,他们应该钦佩我们,而不是我们的家具陈设。

一个伟人,能把陶器盘子当作银器来使用;

但同样伟人使用银就像使用陶器一样。

不能忍受财富是精神不稳定的标志。

我也希望与你们分享今天的利润,在赫卡托的著作中,欲望的限制也有助于治愈恐惧:

“停止希望,你将停止恐惧。”

“但是,”你会回答,“如此不同的事情怎么能同时发生呢?”

就这样,我亲爱的卢西柳斯:虽然他们看起来不一致,但他们真的是团结一致的。

就像同一条锁链把囚犯和看守他们的士兵拴在一起一样,

所以希望和恐惧,尽管它们是不同的,但却要步调一致;

恐惧伴随着希望。

我对他们这样做并不感到惊讶;

每个人都属于一个悬念中的心灵,

一颗因展望未来而烦恼的心。

但这两种弊病的主要原因是我们不适应现在,

但让我们的思想向前走很长一段路。

所以 有远见,,

人类最崇高的祝福,却被扭曲了。

我们的许多祝福给我们带来了祸害;

因为记忆回忆起恐惧的折磨,

而远见卓识则预示着他们。

不能使任何人痛苦的 是现在。

野兽逃避他们所看到的危险,一旦逃脱,他们就无忧无虑;

但我们折磨自己

在即将到来的事情上

以及

在过去的事情上。

再会。

斯多葛派,塞内卡派,坚道学。

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 。