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True, false, or useful?
April 21, 2014 9:07 AM   Subscribe

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful" Seneca's famous quotation demonstrates the foolishness of blind faith. Ironically it is often repeated without checking whether Seneca actually said it.

As far as can be determined, the quote is a very loose paraphrase of something Augustine said that Seneca said. But what did Seneca actually believe, e.g. about providence?
posted by EnterTheStory (14 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Heya, quote-hunting is an interesting topic but the framing here, espcially leading with just a wiki talk page above the fold, is not really great for a mefi post. -- cortex



 
"Anecdotes are regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful."
posted by 3FLryan at 9:12 AM on April 21 [5 favorites]


I think I saw that on a Facebook image macro last week.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:14 AM on April 21


"Anecdotes about religion are regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful."
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:16 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Anecdotes are like assholes...everyone's got one. I believe that's what Seneca actually said.
posted by spicynuts at 9:17 AM on April 21 [4 favorites]


"A lie told often enough becomes the truth."
—Vladimir Lenin
—Josef Goebbels
—William James
posted by Sys Rq at 9:23 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]


He who smelt it dealt it
posted by edgeways at 9:25 AM on April 21 [3 favorites]


"The problem with internet quotes is that you can't always depend on their accuracy" -Abraham Lincoln, 1864
posted by Lafe at 9:25 AM on April 21 [4 favorites]


The great thing about a truism is it doesn't matter who said it. I always attribute this one to Peewee Herman. At least everyone knows who he is.
posted by klanawa at 9:27 AM on April 21


"A lie told often enough becomes the truth."

—Michael Scott
posted by Naberius at 9:29 AM on April 21


Knowledge is Power.

--France is Bacon
posted by The Potate at 9:36 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]


well, all this may be so, but what am I supposed to say to the kids about Easter actually being Ishtar? I mean, ten thousand Facebook friends can't be wrong. Can they?
posted by philip-random at 9:40 AM on April 21


"No leg is too short to reach the ground"

- ancient Bulgarian saying
posted by iotic at 9:42 AM on April 21


 I supposed to say to the kids about Easter actually being Ishtar?

Show them the movie. Then show them that Dustin Hoffman continued to act in great roles. Use this to demonstrate that resurrection is possible even after apparent career suicide.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:43 AM on April 21 [3 favorites]


"That Seneca, what an asshole! He always had an opinion about something!" -- Ben Franklin
posted by briank at 9:43 AM on April 21


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