Listen to episode 236 of the Inspirational Living podcast: How to Live a Good Life | Lubbock, Seneca, Epictetus. Edited and adapted from edited and adapted from The Use of Life by Sir John Lubbock.
Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. To gain access to the full transcripts of our more than 200 podcasts, please become our monthly patron for less than the price of your favorite Latte. Learn more at LivingHour.org/patron. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from The Use of Life by Sir John Lubbock, published in 1894.
The most important thing to learn in life, is how to live. There is nothing people are so anxious to keep as life, and nothing they take so little pains to keep well. This is no simple matter. "Life is short. Art is long. Opportunity fleeting. Experiment uncertain, and Judgment difficult,'' says Hippocrates.
Happiness and success in life do not depend on our circumstances, but on ourselves. More people have ruined themselves than have ever been destroyed by others: more houses and cities have perished at the hands of men, than storms or earthquakes have ever destroyed."
There are two sorts of ruin; one is the work of time, the other of humankind. Of all ruins, the ruins of humanity are the saddest, and our worst enemy, as Seneca said, is the one in our breast. Providence does not create evil, but gives liberty, and if we misuse it we are sure to suffer, but have only ourselves to blame."
I am sometimes accused of being optimistic. But I have never ignored or denied the troubles and sorrows of life: I have never said that we all are happy, only that we might be so; and that if we aren’t, the fault is generally our own: that most of us throw away more happiness than we enjoy. And this makes it all the more melancholy. In other words, "For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: it might have been."