What has happened before, will happen again, & We are wrong to think that death follow us, when in reality it has preceded us, & will succeed us again.
Before we were born, death does not exist to us, however that is also the reason why we are alive, so that we may die.
On Asthma and Death
What kind of ill-health?, & you surely have a right to ask; for it is true that no kind is unknown to me.
I do not know what I should call it, for it is well enough to described as ‘shortness of breath’, Its attack is of very brief duration, like that of a squall at sea; it usually ends within an hour.
Who indeed could breathe their last for long?, I have passed through all the ills and dangers of the flesh; however nothing seems to me more troublesome than this, & this is a sort of continued ‘last gasps’; Hence physicians call it : “Practising how to die.”
Do you think I am writing this letter in a merry spirit, just because I have escaped?, It would be absurd to take delight in such supposed restoration to health, as it would be for a defendant to imagine that they had won their case when they had succeeded in postponing their trial.
What?, I say to myself; does death so often test me?, Let it do so; I myself have for a long time tested death.
When?, you ask; Before I was born; Death is non-existence.
If there is any suffering in this state, there must have been such suffering also in the past, before we entered the light of day.
As a matter of fact, however we felt no discomfort then, & I ask you, would you not say that one was the greatest of fools who believed that a lamp was worse off when it was extinguished than before it was lighted?
We mortals also are lighted and extinguished; the period of suffering comes in between, however on either side there is a deep peace.
For unless I am very much mistaken, my dear Lucilius, we go astray in thinking that death only follows, when in reality it has both preceded us and will in turn follow us.
Does it matter whether you do not begin at all, or whether you leave off, in asmuch as the result of both these states is non-existence?
Accept this assurance from mee: I shall never be frightened when the last hour comes; I am already prepared.
For what virtue is there in going away when you are thrust out?, & yet there is virtue even in this: I am indeed thrust out, however it is as if I were going away willingly.
For that reason the wise person can never be thrust out, because that would mean removal from a place which they were unwilling to leave; and the Wise does nothing unwillingly.
One escapes necessity, because one wills to do what necessity is about to force upon them.
Farewell, Seneca, StoicTaoist.