On Duties by Cicero

1. Philosophy

Philosophy, the love of wisdom, is it not the most wonderful thing in all the world? To seek knowledge, both human and divine, is indeed mankind’s greatest blessing. Through philosophy, we are able to achieve happiness, know goodness, and develop our character.

There is a way to live the good life, and it is philosophy which shows us the way.

But why do I care about philosophy? In the past, when Rome was governed by men voluntarily elected to be its rulers, I was content to participate in the public’s affairs. But now, unfortunately, Rome lay in the hands of Caesar alone, and so there is no room for anyone else to be of influence.

I therefore turn my energies to philosophy, and its principle question: How should we live our lives as good men?

Come, let us understand, according to wisdom and goodness, what it means to live the good life.