3. Slave or master of things

Index

1. - Wisdom of the stoics
2. - Seneca as a teacher of life

3. Slave or master of things


4. - Teacher of a calm, serene life
5. - Live happily
6. - Seneca and Marcus Aurelius
7. - Learn to live
8. - How you become a master of life
9. - Philosophy as the art of life
10. The school of life
11. More powerful as fate
12. More currage towards yourself!
13. The actions decide
14. Strong character
15. Necesseties of life
16. The mind as guide
17. Illness and self-control
18. Fearlessness
19. Overcoming of rage
20. Self-education
21. Obsession of posessions
22. Putting up with losses
23. Wealth from within
24. Happiness as a source of power
25. Reap the benefits of the present!
26. Safeguarding happiness
27. Avoid the crowd
28. Friendship
29. Nobility of the soul
30. The attitude decides
31. State of mind and direction of life
32. Behaviour and Circumstances
33. Correct self-direction
34. Resistances as the driving force
35. Will as the power to change
36. Self-knowledge
37. Self-confidence and life-confidence
38. Virtue as life-fitness
39. Calmness
40. Self-completion
41. Stages of self-completion
42. Correct evaluation of life
43. Wisdom of life
44. Wisdom on the way
45. The Golden Rule 1
46. The Golden Rule 2
47. Calm state of mind
48. The right view
49. Correct conduct
50. Correct self-safeguarding
51. Goal-setting of your life
52. Power of thoughts
53. Everything is inside
54. The spirit in you
55. The power in you
56. Seclusion
57. To come to oneself
58. Nursing of the soul
59. Basics of life
60. The shortness of our existance
61. Time as a life-aid
62. More consciousness of eternity
63. About death and loss
64. Superiority over death
65. Un-transitoriness
66. On the way to completion
67. Life is eternal
68. All is one
69. God in us

What Seneca can teach us is fidelity to ourselves - to God within us - and kindness towards our fellow human beings:

»Wisdom teaches to worship the divine and love the human. Continuing goodness overcomes evil. --- In order to stay the same in the alternation of happiness and misfortune, to learn from all and to gain wisdom, and often withdraw back into yourself. The object of your strivings should be to become a living image of God, and to obey more the inner voice than follow the lure of things. Make an account of yourself daily, and make sure your striving is always good. Good is what makes you better and more efficient and makes the people around you happier. Whoever lives like this, becomes the master of things and destinies.«

Rudolf Eucken, the philosopher of culture, notes in his work "Die Weltanschauung der großen Denker" that the Stoics have done an incomparably great deal for solving the problem of life, especially through the scientific foundation of ethics:

»Man is a member of the world, which is a realm of reason, a system of meaningful order and strict interconnection. Through his nature he is able to grasp the All-Reason. He can behave in two ways: he can, without his own impulse, let happen what is going on in the world, or seize the idea of the world, and see its necessities, and thus transform it into freedom ...

Here is the point of your own decision: whether that, what must happen, happens without and against him or with his consent. This alters completely the character of his life, which makes him either a slave or the master of things.«

The idea of the world-reason, however, -- according to Euken -- can only grant freedom and happiness when our whole being is transformed into thought, and everything is removed from it, which subordinates us to alien powers. This, however, do the feelings with his affects, by entangling us in the sorrows and sufferings of existence -- especially by misjudging things. Because the sufferings as well as the external existence have power only over the person, who gives them reality through his own thinking, as the Stoic teaches: "It is not things that disturb us, but our opinions on things".

Thus the thinking becomes action, a think-action, the wisdom and the virtue are merged into one. Only this think-action offers real happiness. But the severity of the task did not escape the Stoics. For them, live is struggle -- against the wrong assessment of things and the dangers of one's own nature.«

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© (Versión Alemán) Karl O. Schmidt, Drei Eichen Verlag, Engelberg / Schweiz
(English traduction by Jörn Malek)