"A golden bit does not make a better horse."
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
(4 B.C.-A.D. 65) Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, "Seneca the Younger"
Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium (Moral Letters to Lucilius), Letter XLI: On the god within us
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Reader comments about this quote:
One application could be compared to materialism. The external display of quality does not necessarily demonstrate any inner quality. Politicians my display a taste for quality ice cream while inwardly, their intent is to reek havoc and mayhem.

 -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 4
     -- jim k, Austin      
     -- Mary, MI      
    I like Mike's approach to this one, but still, I have another approach that might be of interest.
    My first interpretation is that Seneca pointed out how doing just a little bit of good, or a little bit of good work, or shining in a specific aspect, isn't enough. The horse that has a golden bit doesn't become a golden horse or a perfect ride. Similarly, we can't just say "I give some money to charity, so I'm a good person". It might not be enough. It might be just a golden appearance. We need to strive to be "golden" in everything we do, say, and think, instead.

     -- Felipe, São Paulo     
  • 1
    Lot's of meaning here.  ;-)  Focusing on the word 'bit'  just because your jail cell has been decorated doesn't make you free.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
    There is something priced beyond gold or silver, Call Wisdom your Sister and Understanding her kinswoman. independence is to be perpetuated, through the act of kindness. the act is Not the focus. yet the act of kindness Lifts one up to and for the independent stand of prosperity. accomplishing the task with kindness. 
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
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