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Some Rules For The Self

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In his essay, On The Happy Life, Seneca makes an extended list of what he thinks a happy man ought to be. These rules, with only slight editing, are important enough to be laid out here in full. And worth trying to follow not only today but every day:

-Let a man not be corrupted by external things

-Let him be unconquerable and admire only himself

-Let him be courageous in spirit and ready for any fate

-Let him be the molder of his own life

-Let not his confidence be without knowledge, nor his knowledge without firmness

-Let his decisions once made abide

-Let not his decrees be altered by any alteration

-Let him be poised and well-ordered

-Let him show majesty mingled with courtesy in all his actions

Certainly there are other important traits to show, but this is a good start. Let us follow them and let us pair with them Marcus’s “epithets for the self.” And let us get back up and keep trying when we inevitably fall short of these high marks.

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