"Hurry up and live" - that sounds like the motto of an influencer on Instagram who encourages his followers to make the most of their days. But in fact, this quote comes from the ancient philosopher Seneca. Nearly two millennia ago, he urged us to live a life that is fast, vibrant, and full of energy. We may not all consider ourselves natural Stoics, but Seneca's words have resonated even in the 21st century.
What does "hurry up and live" mean?
Basically, it is a reminder that our time on earth is short. No matter how long we live, our existence always has a limit. Seneca himself was aware of this - he was born in 4 BC and died in 65 AD, just 61 years later. In that time he became one of the most famous writers and thinkers of his time - oh and one of the richest and most influential men in Rome - but even he knew how fleeting life can be.
So we have to make the most of our time. To hurry does not mean to rush through life without a thought for what we are doing. Instead, it means having experiences that are full of vitality, excitement and wonder. Whether that means traveling to new places, learning new skills, or spending time with the people we love, we should look for experiences that make us feel truly alive.
For Seneca, however, this phrase had another aspect. "Life" for Seneca was not just about having fun - it was about finding meaning and purpose in our lives. In his view, we should all strive to live a life that is honorable, rewarding, and doing work that we love - much like it was typical for the Stoa. Although the details may vary from person to person, everyone should strive to live a life that has meaning and direction.
What can we learn from it today?
First we can be reminded that life is fleeting and we need to make the most of it. Of course, that doesn't mean we should be running around doing things all the time - sometimes we need a break. But if we have the energy, we should try to fill our lives with experiences that fulfill and enrich us.
Second we can realize how important it is to find meaning and purpose in our lives. Work can be one way to do this, but it is not the only way. Whether through community service, creative activities, or a new hobby, we should all strive to find something that gives meaning to our lives.
Third: We can remember that these ideas are not new. The quote may sound like a modern catchphrase, but it comes from an ancient philosopher who lived thousands of years ago. It's just another reminder that the human condition has remained relatively constant over time - we still face the same challenges and struggles that have existed for millennia.
Seneca's words still resonate today, thousands of years later. We should all strive to live courageously, find meaning in our lives, and make the most of the time we have. Whether we are studying philosophy or simply going about our daily lives, we can all take a moment to remember these wise words - "Hurry up and live."
How to navigate through life properly according to SenecaBy the way, we explain this here.