Seneca on Man's Moral Purpose | Harper's Magazine

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Seneca on Man’s Moral Purpose


God is near you, is with you, is inside you…. If you have ever come on a dense wood of ancient trees that have risen to an exceptional height, shutting out all sight of the sky with one thick screen of branches upon another, the loftiness of the forest, the seclusion of the spot, your sense of the wonder at finding so deep and unbroken a gloom out of doors, will persuade you of the presence of a deity…. And if you come across a man who is not alarmed by dangers, not touched by passionate longing, happy in adversity, calm in the midst of storm… is it not likely that a feeling of awe for him will find its way into your heart?… Praise in him what can neither be given nor snatched away, what is peculiarly human. You ask what that is? It is his soul, and reason perfected in the soul. For the human being is a rational animal.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Epistolae morales ad Lucilium, lib iv, epis 41 (64 CE)

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