Time Deconstructed. Part 1. Seneca: Saving time

Introduction

In these series we would like to present how time can be thought of in philosophy – that is, time reflected out and through man’s experience and then put back into the experience to transform or modify it. If time is viewed as an objective essence beyond all consciousness, then we deal with a scientific view, which is not the purpose here.

Alex Strohl Alone in the water
The picture is kindly provided by Alex Strohl

Seneca: Saving time 

The first reflection upon the nature of time should begin with the acknowledgment of the shortage of human life. It cannot be yet profound, and instead, it shows that people have only finite time at their disposal. As obvious it seems, the lack of such awareness is evident in a person who acts as if though he were prepared to exist forever. In other words, he does not attach any value to time or squanders it. Do not jump to the conclusion that the purpose of awareness is to rouse a person from sleep to the full potential of life and to fill the latter with excitement. For a philosopher, and especially the one we are going to talk about, the life void of proper thinking would be even worse than day-to-day reality of opinions. As an example, we are taking a stoic who, by the very nature of Stoicism, places value only on the life of the mind.
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Plotinus on Ugliness of Self-Ignorance

Plotinus.jpg

We often try to justify our activities. Especially nowadays, if we study philosophy, we want to explain the goal of philosophy to ourselves and others. But do we really need anything more than this – ‘We ourselves possess beauty when we are true to our own being; our ugliness is in going over to another order; our self-knowledge, that is to say, is our beauty; in self-ignorance we are ugly.’ (Plotinus. Enn. V.8 / The Heart of Plotinus: The Essential Enneads. p. 186).