Episode 36: Seneca on Pleasures & Punishments

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“So called pleasures, when they go beyond a certain limit, are but punishments.” ~ Seneca from Letters from a Stoic

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Seneca on Pleasures & Punishments

“So called pleasures, when they go beyond a certain limit, are but punishments.” ~ Seneca from Letters from a Stoic

Deeply influenced by the classic Greek philosophers like Aristotle, the Stoics were/are all about self-control, self-mastery and virtuous living.

Reminds me of Aristotle’s “Virtuous Mean” from The Nicomachean Ethics:

For both excessive and insufficient exercise destroy one’s strength, and both eating and drinking too much or too little destroy health, whereas the right quantity produces, increases or preserves it. So it is the same with temperance, courage and the other virtues... This much then, is clear: in all our conduct it is the mean that is to be commended.”

Aristotle establishes the fact that virtue lies between the vice of excess and the vice of deficiency. And Seneca reminds us here that “so-called pleasures,” when they go past a certain point, become punishments. Powerful stuff.

Spotlight’s back on you: what PLEASURES in your life are you taking so far that they’ve become PUNISHMENTS? It could be drinking a bit too much, watching a bit too much TV (that would be just past any... just kidding... mostlee :), eating too much, spending too much time online, whatever. What is it for you? And how can you get back to the virtuous mean?

[And remember this the next time you go out hitting the bars: “Drunkenness is nothing but a self-induced state of insanity.”]

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