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More on the Scope of Wisdom

A widespread caricature of the Stoic idea of wisdom look something like: "Don't waste time on reading, thinking and discussing. Just go out and do the right thing". That's very far from Seneca's conception of wisdom - according to which wisdom requires extensive studies of the laws of life.

"Wisdom is a great and extensive thing; it needs space; one must learn about matters divine and human, about the past and future, about transient and eternal matters, about time"

- Seneca, Letters 88.33

"the condition of the mind will not be in its best state unless it has understood the laws of life in its entirety"

- Seneca, Letters 95.57


  1. Sadly, what I describe as a caricature here is exactly the position of Marcus Aurelius in Meditations 10.16:

    "No more of all this talk about what a good man should be, but simply be one!"


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