"Fill your life with color" - What Seneca meant by it

Life is like a play. What matters is not how long it is, but how colorful.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

As with many things in life, life in and of itself does not depend on length or size. But how active and good you make it. The stoic philosopher Seneca wants to tell us with this quote that it is more important to lead a beautiful and livable life than an eternal one.

In Hinduism, the world is called as we perceive it, Maya. The material world we perceive - thus Maya - can also be seen as the great illusion or the great game. However, it is also no more than that, that is, it is a game in the sense of a theater game (Simon has a Talk by Alan Watts which also deals with Maya and explains why we should not take life too seriously).

So if you relate this Hindu view to Seneca's quote, you could say that it is more important to play a good play than a long one.

Let's now play out two scenarios:

In the first scenario you live isolated in a house that has no openable windows. The food is brought to you daily through a flap in the door, it is a very nutrient-rich gray porridge that hardly tastes of anything. Artificial light imitates, the sun enough. Human contact you avoid completely, for fear that you might catch a disease. You are safe in this house but you are not able to really gain new experiences, meet new people or really experience variety.

In the second scenario you live as we know it. You go out into nature, meet friends and experience new things every day. However, this free lifestyle comes with some risks, after all, you could fall off a cliff while hiking in nature. You might also catch a disease if you meet a lot of people, but you are aware of the risk and can weigh how likely it is to happen.

In the first example, it is more likely that you will live to a ripe old age, but the price is that this life will be gray and boring. You will hardly experience anything and every day will resemble the previous one. In the second scenario, the probability that you will die earlier is much higher. However, every day you will experience something new, you will lose yourself in life and paint it, in all the colors in which a life should be painted, you will make it colorful.

I hope these very simple examples illustrate that what matters in life is to live and not to survive. Those who live merely to survive can hope for a longer life, but is this really more worth living than a short one?

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