Eucken saw in the philosophy of the Stoics a helpful weapon in the struggle of life, especially against the unrest, worries and suffering of existence. This weapon is "the entrance into one's own inner being, the unfolding of the divine, which is inherent in every human being, the liberation from evils and the gain of pure happiness. It elevates the eternity of an invisible order from a hope to full certainty, and causes man to rise above the vices of everyday life and live like on top of a mountain.«
This is entirely true of Seneca's doctrine of life, in which the wisdom of Egypt is combined with the philosophy of Greece and Rome to create a practical way of life , which can help everyone to help themselves. Those who follow Seneca's instructions have the best chance to become a master of life in every respect.
»I have retired myself« -- schreibt Seneca -- »not only from men, but from things too, to be able to be as useful as possible. To posterity is my concern; I write down for them what could be useful: warnings and recipes for self-help. That they are effective and helpful in daily life, I have learned from my own problems, which, although they are not completely cured, have ceased to have access to me, and bother me. I now show others the right way, which I did not know until late in my life...
... Because the insights that I have only for myself, without participating comrades, would not make me happy, even if they were very beneficial ...
There is but little what I have to say; but when the soul takes it properly, it grows and multiplies. It grows in action. It is as in the case of the seedlings: they are small, and yet they become great; In order to notice them, the mind must be receptive and intimate. Then it will produce a multiplicity of itself and reproduce more than it has received.«
When Seneca's way of life is given here in measured doses, it is, because it is a life-blessing that works the best when it is given in gentle and delicate individual doses that way its hidden healing powers can unfold more sustained in the mind. It is important that we take a few drops of this elixir every day and the additives that promote it, to influence our thinking and feeling, plans and doings. The more surely it will activate the inner strength and serenity, the self-confidence and the courage to live, as you will be shown in the following chapters.
© (Versión Alemán) Karl O. Schmidt, Drei Eichen Verlag, Engelberg / Schweiz
(English traduction by Jörn Malek)