Stoicism and Seneca

Rode down to a presentation at Smithsonian about stoicism and got a practical  lesson in stoicism on the way down. I used the hourly weather prediction to get plan to ride my bike when it was not raining. About 15 minutes into my ride, it started to rain, really hard.

Stoics do not seek suffering, contrary to popular perception, but neither do they avoid it if it stands in they way of what they want. Once you get really soaked, you cannot get any wetter, so it does not matter.

The lecture at Smithsonian was about Seneca. He was an interesting case. He wrote beautifully about Stoicism, but he was one of the richest men in Rome and he worked for the very immoral Emperor Nero. It is not necessary for the person to be personally virtuous in order to preach virtue.

But I think it might go deeper than that. None of the ancient philosophers can really play in the big leagues today. They simply did not have the intellectual resources we enjoy, since they were the ones building the intellectual resources we enjoy. Ancient Stoicism did not have the moral structure that we need to go with the methods they used. It is great to practice self-control and reason, but modern readers are also looking for a moral structure. Reason is not sufficient. It must be right reason. At least that is the way I feel about it.

The lecture was good. I learned a little about the life and times of Seneca. I like him less than I did before the lecture.

My pictures show the rain on the way. It stopped when I was about a 30 minutes out, but I did not dry out. Next to the bike trail if Four Mile Creek. I took the picture at the underpass at Wilson Blvd. The creek floods there. It was filling up as I watched. I enjoyed the lecture a little less being soaked and itchy. Last picture is the lecture.

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