Episode 9 – Seneca with James Romm

On today’s show, I talk with James Romm, Professor of Classics at Bard College and the author of the books Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero, and How to Die: An Ancient Guide to the End of Life.  Seneca was an influential Stoic philosopher who left us with a number of masterful works on how to live and, interestingly, he also wrote a lot about how to die. 

You might be asking yourself, for a show about the Good Life, why so much talk of death? Well, as you’ll learn from James in this episode, many philosophers through the years, Seneca included, believed that, if we want to get the most out of life, it’s important to confront the ultimate end point we all face, and that is death.  It can be helpful to start from the end and work backwards to cultivate a life that gets the most out of every day and doesn’t leave us with regrets.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Why Seneca viewed death as the ultimate test
  • How Seneca’s advice to “die every day” is actually life affirming
  • How life can be long if we know how to use it
  • Why many people believe Seneca was a hypocrite
  • Why Seneca is still relevant and widely read today

Books & Resources

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