Saturday, May 9, 2009

15 Lucius Annaeus Seneca

To me this project of introducing 100 philosophers is an interesting experience. In the first place you, my audience, from Sweden to Newzealand.

And in the second place philosophically. As a young student I studied the history of philosophy of course. Did an exam, passed and all was done...

But now, after so many years, reviewing this history of philosophy again, I realize how little I understood when I was young. This i SL is such a nice and rewarding experience and it is happening because of you, being my audience, And I am grateful for that.

Now I see the history of philosophy in an overall context. It is not a sequence of individual philosophers (A thought like this, B thought like that, C thought otherwise). It is the story of how Western culture developed.

The question WHY it developed like it did, is not intersting for us now, I think. Observing how it developed, seeing the relations and overall context, the direction it all took that is so fascinating.

In Seneca we meet a nice uninteresting interesting guy. Uninteresting because he wasnt. like Cicero, an original thinker. Like Cicero he was an eclectic....a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Interesting because he continued a route that Western mind had taken. Compare it to the Arab world....a thing like that never happened there. And when you look at China...did developments stop there after Confucius?

What I am thinking of is the development of science on the on hand and a specific view on man in an ethical sense on the other hand.

Seneca is an example of that. Thre is here a picture onthe wall....it is from about
1330...Plato - Seneca - Aristotle. All acceppted by Christianity.

Why was he so acceptable for Christianity. In the first place because Christianity, as Philo has demonstrated, is a mix of Judaian and Greek philosophies.

Seneca just folowed in the footsteps of the Stoic philosophers....main theme was living a good life guided by reason.

Reason would provid the insight in the natural law, the good and help man to be a good man. He believed thart reason was the ultimate source. Reason leadsto virtue.

Just notice.....from the Greek until now...which is 65 C.E. we have developed a philosophy of man, in which the main theme is REASON. And an other theme is how to handle our passions.....by REASON.

This is a fascinating observation for me....to see how the Western mind was shaped already so long ago.
Seneca was such a man...like Cicero...death wasnt a problem at all......jsut the end of life.

When he was convicted by Nero, he cut his wrists in the presence of friend and family. According to Tacitus, an historian in those days, He was Stoic in this...controlled. His philosophical convictions were a way of life.

The Discussion

[12:23] Herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks..feel free
[12:24] Herman Bergson: Ah...cool...I left you speechless..:-)
[12:24] Osrum Sands: contemplating
[12:24] Herman Bergson: even better, Osrum
[12:24] Hope McAlpine: I don't think we have reach the apex point of your lecture .. just yet
[12:24] Cailleach Shan: I am thinking about the present day reaction to someone who would slit their wrists in the presence of friends and family....
[12:25] Cailleach Shan: Moral values and judgements have changed I think.
[12:25] Herman Bergson: yes I understand Cailleach
[12:25] Herman Bergson: YEs indeed
[12:26] Osrum Sands: It would sure mess up my day
[12:26] Cailleach Shan: lol
[12:26] Gemma Cleanslate: sorry\
[12:26] Herman Bergson: Have a seat Jeff
[12:27] Cailleach Shan: So Herman, if Seneca was the ordinary in the extraordinary how did he have such an influence in his day.
[12:27] Herman Bergson: Cicero had his throat cut
[12:28] Herman Bergson: he didnt have so much influence...
[12:28] Herman Bergson: he just was an upper class person....
[12:28] Herman Bergson: and he was a writer.
[12:28] Herman Bergson: and respected as a scolar
[12:29] Herman Bergson: just the ordinary teacher...just like me :-)
[12:29] Cailleach Shan thinks.... no so ordinary..
[12:29] Osrum Sands: OH no not another case of Justitius
[12:30] Herman Bergson: what I am thinking of all the time is books...
[12:30] Herman Bergson: people had 'books' with texts from Plato for instance...
[12:30] Cailleach Shan: So Herman.... if Seneca was ordinary.... and yet he is remembered today.... where other socalled 'ordinary' people of his time are forgotten.
[12:31] You: that must have been very precious possessions
[12:31] Herman Bergson: and especially..reading such books must have been an experience
[12:32] Herman Bergson: Does anyone know The Name of th Rose by Umberto Ecco?
[12:32] Duo Afarensis: yes
[12:32] Onna Writer: :))
[12:32] Herman Bergson: and the movie?
[12:32] Cailleach Shan: It was a movie..
[12:32] Duo Afarensis: sure
[12:32] Onna Writer: Poison
[12:32] Herman Bergson: Sean Connery..?
[12:32] Herman Bergson: yes..
[12:32] Cailleach Shan: Yes.... A good Scot! lol
[12:32] Osrum Sands: yes
[12:32] Onna Writer: and precious knowledge of poison
[12:33] Herman Bergson: and it all was about reading a book on laughter
[12:33] Herman Bergson: laughing
[12:33] Herman Bergson: Hello Andismo..[avatar dressed ass policeman enters classroom]
[12:33] Herman Bergson: What brings you here?
[12:34] Cailleach Shan laughs.... Oh I love Second Life......
[12:34] Andismo Dollinger: i was just exploring sl and i happened upon this place
[12:34] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[12:34] Gemma Cleanslate: welcome
[12:34] Andismo Dollinger: thank you
[12:34] Herman Bergson: you are most welcome..this is the Philosophy Class
[12:34] Cailleach Shan: Hi Andi
[12:35] Andismo Dollinger: hi cailleach
[12:35] Herman Bergson: Well..but what I wanted to say...in those days..reading a book....that was something..and privileged
[12:36] Herman Bergson: Hey Lighthorse..:-)
[12:36] Lighthorse Wilkinson: Sorry.
[12:36] Lighthorse Wilkinson: Tome problem.
[12:36] Cailleach Shan: Hi Light....:)
[12:36] Lighthorse Wilkinson: Hellow everyone.
[12:36] Manoly Demina: hi lighthorse
[12:36] Lighthorse Wilkinson: Hi
[12:37] Anna Adamant is Offline
[12:37] You: Well..Seneca is another Stoic like Cicero....
[12:37] Catt Gable is Online
[12:37] Herman Bergson: not an original philosopher..
[12:37] Herman Bergson: like all romans..pragmatic
[12:38] Herman Bergson: there is a picture on the wall
[12:38] Herman Bergson: plato-seneca-aristotle...1330
[12:38] Herman Bergson: All accepted by christian theology
[12:39] Herman Bergson: to have more philosophical fun we have to wait for Anselmus and Thomas of Aquino
[12:40] Cailleach Shan: SoHerman... maybe Seneca is remembered for his stoic suicide... Twice cut his wrists poison, drowning, then suffocation!!! That's pretty stoic.
[12:40] oola Neruda: sounds like rasputin
[12:40] baby Hotaling is Online
[12:41] Herman Bergson: no..oola...not rasputin....they even couldnt kill him with arsenic..:-)
[12:41] oola Neruda: lol yes
[12:41] Onna Writer: :))
[12:41] oola Neruda: lol
[12:42] Rosmairta Kilara is Online
[12:42] You: Well..we have to live through history....the ups and downs...
[12:42] Manoly Demina is Offline
[12:42] Cailleach Shan: Herman, the term 'stoic' has rather different connotations today don't you think.... it's more....putting up with pain...
[12:42] Manoly Demina is Online
[12:43] Herman Bergson: I think it still has its origianl meaning Cailleach
[12:43] Herman Bergson: it means....not to have your life disrupted by passion or emotion
[12:44] Lighthorse Wilkinson: Boring.
[12:44] Gemma Cleanslate: :-))
[12:44] Herman Bergson: yes..maybe...
[12:45] Herman Bergson: It is a thing to think about...
[12:45] Herman Bergson: why would man prefer to ignore passion and emotion ?
[12:45] Herman Bergson: it isnt an invention of the stoic
[12:46] Herman Bergson: you see it in eastern philosophies too
[12:46] Lighthorse Wilkinson: Could it be the lack of self esteem?
[12:46] Ninia Loon is Online
[12:46] Osrum Sands: surly its all part of the diciplined reasoned life
[12:47] Cailleach Shan: Playing safe..... in a very dangerous world that they lived in.
[12:47] Herman Bergson: yes...reason..playing safe....
[12:47] Cailleach Shan: Or an eye on the 'afterlife'
[12:48] Herman Bergson: what is dominant in those days is REASON
[12:48] Herman Bergson: The afterlife?
[12:48] Herman Bergson: difficult to say
[12:49] Herman Bergson: it was in those days like it is in our days
[12:49] Herman Bergson: some believed some didnt
[12:49] Andismo Dollinger: I enjoyed listening to what you guys have to say here, but I'm going to continue exploring SL now
[12:49] Andismo Dollinger: take care, everyone
[12:49] Cailleach Shan: Bye Andi.
[12:49] Herman Bergson: Be well andi
[12:49] Andismo Dollinger: thanks, guys
[12:50] Andismo Dollinger: i'll definitely visit here again
[12:50] Hope McAlpine: bye bye Andismo
[12:50] Lighthorse Wilkinson: go get 'em
[12:50] Andismo Dollinger: lol
[12:50] Andismo Dollinger: if you guys ever need anything, any griefers or such, just im the federal police group members
[12:50] Andismo Dollinger: we'll be happy to come to your assistance
[12:50] Herman Bergson: well...not everyone is a philosopher..:-)
[12:50] Andismo Dollinger: Good day, Sir!
[12:51] Lighthorse Wilkinson: :)))
[12:51] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[12:51] herman Bergson grins
[12:52]
Herman Bergson: ok..if you have any questions left?
[12:52] Cailleach Shan: Thanks Herman.... I have to go now.... Bye everyone...
[12:53] Osrum Sands: by
[12:53] Gray Cardiff: bye
[12:53] Duo Afarensis: bye:-)
[12:53] Onna Writer: byee
[12:53] Qwark Allen: thx herman
[12:53] Lighthorse Wilkinson: Good bye fair Callieach.
[12:53] Manoly Demina: bye caileach


Due to confusion because of Daylight Saving time changes class is held again on hour later..:-)

[13:19] herman Bergson: If you have any remarks or questions..fel free..:-)
[13:20] You: When you say end of life
[13:20] You: do you mean this life
[13:20] You: or life in general
[13:20] oola Neruda: is stoicism traceable to one philosopher
[13:20] You: Did he accept an afterlife ?
[13:21] herman Bergson: I understood what you meant Osrum...
[13:21] herman Bergson: the idea of an afterlife was very diffus in those days
13:22] herman Bergson: due to Democritus here was the believe tha there was no afterlife at all
[13:22] AristotleVon Doobie: Did the Stoics encourage abstenence or moderation in passion?
[13:22] herman Bergson: but others believed in an afterlife...but that was mainly for the Greek
[13:23] herman Bergson: The Stoic believed in the negation of passion
[13:24] herman Bergson: What started with epicurus...the idea of moderation....
[13:25] herman Bergson: you all see it return in the monastic life
[13:25] oola Neruda: the stoics did not seem like monks to me tho
[13:25] herman Bergson: christianity took over all these ideas
[13:25] oola Neruda: they sounded almost hedonistic in ways
[13:25] oola Neruda: i could be wroing
[13:25] oola Neruda: wrong
[13:26] herman Bergson: yes...
[13:26] herman Bergson: there was the controvery between hedonism and eudaimonism.
[13:26] oola Neruda: or did it just invite not having a concience... therefore it is ok
[13:27] AristotleVon Doobie: Concience would implicate harm done in some way.
[13:28] herman Bergson: the philosophy wasnt just the strive for ultimate lust
[13:28] AristotleVon Doobie: Is passion necessarily harmful?
[13:28] oola Neruda: just indulge like an animal?
[13:28] herman Bergson: it was a philosophy of being a man in balance
[13:28] oola Neruda: no good no bad
[13:29] You: balance is good imbalance is bad
[13:29] herman Bergson: yes...but would be ..drinking wine unlimited...but the result would be a hangover...so drinking unlimited wasnt real lust
[13:30] herman Bergson: the real lust would be drinkinfg wine moderately
[13:30] Lighthorse Wilkinson: Wasnt womans role much diffenent in the ;consenting' gme then?
[13:31] oola Neruda: it almost sounds like balance is a neutral place.... almost like zero in math... sort of an empty place... as in no conscience....
[13:31] herman Bergson: maybe that really is the Stoic position. Oola
[13:31] AristotleVon Doobie: Would no concience be ground 0?
[13:32] herman Bergson: and women, Lighthouse....I dont know
[13:32] oola Neruda: i would think that finding ground zero would depend upon how you measure
[13:32] Lighthorse Wilkinson: I mean in regards to sexual passion.
[13:32] Rodney Handrick: do you mean conscience?
[13:34] herman Bergson: philosophy and sexual passion..Lighthorse?????
[13:34] herman Bergson: I dont know how to combine that..:-)
[13:34] You: just think about it
[13:34] Lighthorse Wilkinson: What pasions then were they trying control?
[13:34] Lighthorse Wilkinson: Or negate.
[13:35] herman Bergson: well..I guess passion in general
[13:35] oola Neruda: doesn't war become passionate? in some way... if only in fear or hate
[13:35] herman Bergson: the uncontrolled srtiving for something
[13:35] AristotleVon Doobie: I thnk war is merely political.
[13:36] oola Neruda: not to the individual... or the mother
[13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: Yes the victims.
[13:37] herman Bergson: I agree Aristotle...war is politics with other means as Clausewitz stated
[13:37] AristotleVon Doobie: But tje particiments as Oola says have to be passionate.
[13:37] Ludwig John: but unacceptable means
[13:38] herman Bergson: of course unacceptable Ludwig
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: Why else do we have 'boot camps' but to instill passion.
[13:39] oola Neruda: instill unquestioning obedience
[13:39] Ludwig John: what are boot camps?
[13:39] You: bingo Oola
[13:39] herman Bergson: yeah?
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: Yes and hatred toward an unknown persom.
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: Basic military traing camps.
[13:40] herman Bergson: Ok....
[13:40] You: Herman do you think there is anysuch thing as a 'just was'
[13:40] herman Bergson: well ...time to dismiss class..I think..:-)
[13:40] You: *war
[13:41] oola Neruda: it seems like a funny thing to talk about war and philosophy...but weren't there a number of philosophers who talked about ruling etc
[13:42] herman Bergson: there were philosophers who talked about the perfect state Oola...to begin with Plato's Politeia

Posted by herman_bergson on 2007-11-05 10:57:49 |

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