Seneca’s On Benefits

A series of short audio meditations on Seneca’s On Benefits, a book that deals with how to give and receive gifts, understood as an important glue that keeps human relationships harmonious.

image from

I.1: Among the numerous faults of those who pass their lives recklessly and without due reflexion, I should say that there is hardly any one so hurtful to society as this, that we neither know how to bestow or how to receive a benefit.

I.1: Let us bestow benefits, not put them out at interest.

I.1: It is the property of a great and good mind to covet, not the fruit of good deeds, but good deeds themselves.

I.2: The book-keeping of benefits is simple: it is all expenditure; if any one returns it, that is clear gain; if he does not return it, it is not lost, I gave it for the sake of giving.

I.2: Do not grow weary, perform your duty, and act as becomes a good person. Help one with money, another with credit, another with your favor; this one with good advice, that one with sound maxims.

I.5: What value has the crown in itself? or the purple-bordered robe? or the judgment-seat and car of triumph? None of these things is in itself an honour, but is an emblem of honour.

I.7: Seneca reminds us that virtue ethics is about motivations and the improvement of one’s character, not just about material help, as much as the latter may be needed.