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Fat-cat Seneca

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• Is the world eternal? YES
• Do humans have contra-causal free will (i.e., can humans do otherwise)? NO
• Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? YES
• Do humans have souls? YES
• Are there natural rights? YES
• Is it morally permissible to eat meat? NO
• Is the unexamined life worth living? NO
• Is truth subjectivity? YES
• Is virtue necessary for happiness? YES
• Can a computer have a mind? YES
• Can humans know reality as it is in itself? YES
• Is hell other people? YES
• Can art be created accidentally? NO
• Can we change the past? NO
• Are numbers real? NO
• Is it always better to know the truth? YES

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Seneca was easily within the 1% – and yet –

The problem, for Seneca, is not that owning slaves is bad for the slaves, or that the rich man’s wealth might be better spent feeding the hungry than buying another ivory-legged table. The problem is rather that owning too much – whether slaves or tables – can be damaging for the owner, because he (it is always “he”) will be unable to achieve what we all really need, which is the peace of mind that comes from virtue and truth. “We would belong to ourselves if those things were not ours,” he declares. Consumerist desires are essentially insatiable, because they are desires for things we do not really need: “You see, it’s not thirst; it’s disease.”

The rest of the article (by Emily Wilson) is here.


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