"A person who hurries to repay at all costs has the attitude not of a grateful man, but of a debtor. And, to put it briefly, a person who is too eager to pay his debt is unwilling to owe, and he who is unwilling to owe is ungrateful."
- Seneca, On Benefits, 4.40.5
A lot of people think that when Seneca talks about benefits he is talking about the exchange of gifts that was common in Roman culture. That is not the case. A benefit is a standard Stoic term going back to Socrates. To benefit someone means to truly do them good - in relation to their progress in wisdom and happiness. Because of this, all truly meaningful human relations are exchange of benefits:
"Human life is constituted by the harmonious exchange of benefits, and is held fast in a pact of mutual assistance not by fear but by mutual affection".
- Seneca, On Anger 1.5.3
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