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The Scope of Wisdom

It's easy to get the impression from Seneca's writings, that wisdom equals practical wisdom - that the goal of wisdom is simply to give us control over our passions and, thus, peace of mind. This is not the case. We can only call us wise when:

"We have achieved knowledge of the universe. We know the origins of nature’s development, how it organizes the world, through what changes it restores the year, and how it contains all that will ever be and makes itself its own goal. We know that the stars move by their own force, that nothing besides the earth is stationary, and that the remaining bodies proceed with unceasing speed. We know how the moon overtakes the sun and why, though it is slower, it leaves what is faster behind; we know how the moon receives or loses its light, and the causes that bring on night and restore day"

- Seneca, Letters 93.9

For, as Seneca says,

"The virtue to which we aspire is marvelous not because freedom from evil is in itself wonderful, but because it releases the mind, prepares it for knowledge of the celestial, and makes it worthy to enter into partnership with god"

- Seneca, Naturales quaestiones Book I, praefatio 1-7

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