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The Shortness of Life: Seneca on Busyness and the Art of Living Wide Rather Than Living Long

The Shortness of Life: Seneca on Busyness and the Art of Living Wide Rather Than Living Long
“How we spend our days,” Annie Dillard memorably wrote in her soul-stretching meditation on the life of presence, “is, of course, how we spend our lives.” And yet most of us spend our days in what Kierkegaard believed to be our greatest source of unhappiness — a refusal to recognize that “busy is a decision” and that presence is infinitely more rewarding than productivity. I frequently worry that being productive is the surest way to lull ourselves into a trance of passivity and busyness the greatest distraction from living, as we coast through our lives day after day, showing up for our obligations but being absent from our selves, mistaking the doing for the being. Despite a steadily swelling human life expectancy, these concerns seem more urgent than ever — and yet they are hardly unique to our age. In fact, they go as far back as the record of human experience and endeavor. Seneca writes: It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Thanks, Liz

https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/09/01/seneca-on-the-shortness-of-life/

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