Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bullshit or Not: Seneca Edition

There's an old sketch film called Amazon Women on the Moon and one of the bits is a parody of the old Leonard Nimoy show, "In Search Of..." called, "Bullshit or Not?" with the tagline "Bullshit or not? You decide." It's a line I like so much that I've stolen it for an irregular series of posts.

Today's quotation comes from the roman orator Seneca, specifically number 90 of his letters:

"My dear Lucius, who can doubt that life is a gift from the immortal gods, but that the good life is the gift of philosophy? And so our debt to philosophy would undoubtedly seem to be greater than our debt to the gods by the same degree that the good life is a greater blessing than life, were it not that philosophy itself was bestowed on us by the gods. They have given to no one the knowledge of philosophy, but to everyone the faculty of acquiring it."
So much in there. Does philosophy really contribute to the good life? Do we owe a debt to philosophy? Does everyone really have the faculty to acquire it?

Bullshit or not? You decide.

As usual, feel free to leave anything from a one word response to a dissertation.