In the use of individual freedom the wise must shun idle and futile pursuits. A recipe aimed at the search for a difficult but longed for inner stillness, which removes boredom, the abyss of guilt, alienation, restlessness, anguish, the oppression of having to realize oneself at all from the human being costs in the economic sphere. Slavery is not a social status, but rather a characteristic of the soul, from which one must get rid of as soon as possible.
Following virtue and reason, hurling himself against the hypocrisy, the vices, the degrading fashions imposed by the public opinion, Seneca elaborated educational proposals in order to allow the student to reach an emotional stability through intellectual awareness. Everything is summed up in a dominant synthetic concept, that of allowing man to grasp the meaning of existence and thus accept the travails, freeing himself from physical and mental suffering: to live with dignity, it is necessary to prepare to die peacefully.
Following hard work on one’s psychic interiority, of a daily exercise to achieve balance in choices and moderation, a burning enemy of excesses, the great Latin philosopher wrote the two dialogues The tranquility of the soul e On happiness, on newsstands tomorrow with the Corriere, among the best treatises on spiritual medicine ever, which are part of his Operette morali.
According to the natural course of things, the wise man must remain imperturbable in front of any event, never deny the reality that surrounds him, but live by merging and merging in it. Any action of others cannot affect him in the slightest.
Seneca’s reflections are particularly relevant today in a contemporary globalized and enslaved society, cerebrally shaped by hyper-technologies, in which the dimension of inner bliss is most often associated with the possession of money, aesthetic appearance and increasingly pushed hedonism.
Historically gripped by the frenzy of a large metropolis like Rome, the capital of the Empire, while his powerful role close to Nero falters and the philosopher tries in vain to cover the disgust for the sordidness of his pupil and the compromises to which he is forced to submit to maintain a political rank now in deep decline, with vigor Seneca faces the eternal anxieties and existential anxieties, which have always troubled man, through the power of meditation. These are the same torments present in various ways in the works of Dante, Shakespeare, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Rimbaud, Svevo, Sartre, Dino Campana, Moravia, Pasolini, not forgetting Montale’s evil of living.
For a necessary analysis of the two dialogues, it is necessary to immediately clear the field of the accusations often advanced by some critics about the lack of originality in Seneca, for whom he would be nothing more than a scholastic emulating the Stoics. The same assumption could then be valid for the comic Plautus against Aristophanes and Menander, for Virgil instead of Homer, for Phaedrus’s fables in comparison with those of Aesop, for Horace and Ovid compared to Greek lyrics.
Unlike, Seneca’s originality lies precisely in his lexical ability to describe in Latin the psychological tangle that a Roman intellectual lives in the first century AD The profound boredom of existing, which evokes the theme of suicide, and the desire to get away from the crowd as soon as possible , from the court and from the circus performances, combine in a well-photographed painting with an incisive, penetrating, authentic style.
In The peace of mind, dedicated to the disciple Sereno, conforming to some dictates of Stoicism, Seneca offers a wide range of enlightening examples of fortifying tranquility of numerous scholars of the past in the face of extreme situations, when they found themselves in the heart of the storm, from Attilio Regolo to Catone Uticense, from Socrates to Giulio Cano , put to death by a cruel whim of Caligula.
Wisdom is thus configured in Seneca as a dominion of the passions by means of reason and not as apathy in the face of feelings. In short, we can define it as a practical manual to achieve and keep the soul balanced.
In De vita beata, in controversy with the epicurean doctrine Seneca underlines the importance of living according to nature, reasoning and ethics, for which happiness authenticates the virtue par excellence and consists in possessing freedom of thought, without ever being conditioned by desires, greed, greed, pleasures, with honesty as its ultimate goal. In this way Seneca, our contemporary, teaches to fill the void, to silence thehorror void, but above all it invites everyone to ask themselves what to wish for in order to feel truly happy.
On newsstands two important classics with the Latin text opposite
A volume containing two works by Lucio Anneo Seneca is out on newsstands with Corriere della Sera on 28 May On happiness e The tranquility of the soul, at the price of € 7.90 plus the cost of the newspaper. This is the first issue of the Biblioteca della felicit series created in collaboration with Io Donna, the women’s weekly supplement of the via Solferino newspaper. A collection of ancient and modern works, by various authors, which provides a broad and articulated overview of the ways in which human beings have tried to discover the secret of a peaceful and fulfilling life. Both works by Seneca, a Roman philosopher of Stoic tendency who lived in the first century after Christ, have the Latin text opposite. On happiness, whose original title De vita beata, accompanied by an essay by Alessandro Schiesaro, while the translation and notes are by Donatella Agonigi. The tranquility of the soul (The peace of mind the original title) in turn offered to readers with an essay by Gianfranco Lotito, translation and notes entrusted to Caterina Lazzarini. Seneca was born in Cordoba, Spain, in 4 BC. Stoic philosopher and member of the Roman Senate, he was tutor to the young Nero and assisted him in the first period of his reign. It was then the emperor himself, convinced that the master had conspired against him, who forced him to commit suicide in 65 AD. The next issue of the series, on newsstands from 4 June, will be The pursuit of happiness by Bertrand Russell. They will follow: Peace of mind the Dalai Lama (11 June); Moments of happiness by Marc Aug (June 18); Congratulations – Freedom of Sant’Agostino (June 25).
May 26, 2021 (change May 26, 2021 | 21:21)
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