A philosopher learns from everyday life

I am sharing this quote because it is a fascinatingly fresh scene from ancient Rome and because it serves as a great illustration of what kind of work Seneca's "Natural questions" is. I can easily imagine Seneca taking time to sit and watch a launderer to see what he can learn and perhaps put into his writings :-)

"Another explanation is given for the rainbow as follows: when a pipe bursts at some point, we see water forced out through the tiny hole; when it is sprayed against the obliquely angled sun, it displays the form of a rainbow. You will see the same thing happening if you ever feel like watching a launderer: when he has filled his mouth with water and lightly sprays the clothes that are spread out on stretching-frames, you can see various colors produced in the air that is filled with spray, like the ones that normally shine in a rainbow".

- Seneca, Natural questions 1.3.2