Health Advice from a Roman Philosopher

While reading Letters From a Stoic I came across a powerful 2,000-year-old statement made by Lucius Annaeus Seneca: “In the case of some sick people it is a matter for congratulation when they come to realize for themselves that they are sick.”

It resonated with me because it relates to the “Big Idea” of health care. You see, millions of medicated Americans are under the assumption that if they manage their symptoms with drugs, they’ll go back to being perfectly healthy again.

But at some point, a fortunate few will begin to question this mindset, eventually realizing that slavish dependency on medication is not okay, and that it’s the wrong road to be on… or to quote one of my surly old science teachers, they’re headed “Up sh*t creek without a paddle.”

They’ll recognize for themselves that this course of action could have some very undesirable long-term consequences, and will actively begin searching for another way.

In this respect, I believe Seneca was right. When a person who’s sick or in pain decides to start looking for something more (the cause, not just the effects), they deserve to be congratulated.

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