Seneca was a prominent Roman philosopher and playwright who published several essential works about Stoicism. What about losing a friend? Those who want more than what they need and what they have will always want more, and this only leads to a cycle of dissatisfaction. And the only reason he died then is that his emperor, Nero, forced him to commit suicide, believing he had been part of a conspiracy. Seneca gives us guidelines on how to free ourselves from this mindset. Besides learning from our mistakes, or occasionally reflecting on a fond memory, dwelling on the past does us no good – it’s already over with! We also participate in the Blinkist Affiliate Program. Bragging about this lifestyle not only defeats part of the essence of the lifestyle, as showing off to others is an external form of validation rather than inner, but it also may alienate others from trying it out. “But when you are looking on anyone as a friend when you do not trust him as you trust yourself, you are making a grave mistake, and have failed to grasp sufficiently the full force of true friendship.”. Seneca was a prominent Roman philosopher and playwright who published several essential works about Stoicism. One of the many ways a calm mind helps you build a good life is by allowing you on only surrounding yourself with true friends. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.”, “If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you’re needing is not to be in a different place but to be a different person.”, “It is not the man who has too little that is poor, but the one who hankers after more.”, “For the only safe harbor in this life’s tossing, troubled sea is to refuse to be bothered about what the future will bring and to stand ready and confident, squaring the breast to take without skulking or flinching whatever fortune hurls at us.”, “Barley porridge, or a crust of barley bread, and water do not make a very cheerful diet, but nothing gives one keener pleasure than having the ability to derive pleasure even from that– and the feeling of having arrived at something which one cannot be deprived of by any unjust stroke of fortune.”, “I have withdrawn from affairs as well as from society, and from my own affairs in particular: I am acting on behalf of later generations. Stoics would choose no friends over fair-weather-friends, but because of their self-sufficiency and ability to trust, they make the few loyal friends everyone should have easily. “Philosophy calls for simple living, not for doing penance, and the simple way of life need not be a crude one.”. Seneca trusted that our capability for rational thought is what makes us truly unique among all creatures in the universe. We should learn from each other’s wisdom – what is the point of knowledge if we don’t share it? This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. There’s no way to tell if Seneca really sent those letters or wrote them as fiction, but their lessons about the good life are invaluable regardless, like the following 3: Are you ready to learn more about what may be the most suitable philosophy for the modern world? Finally, we should embrace the present moment. However, Seneca expands upon self-improvement in more ways throughout his texts. to spend time living without these extras of our own free will. Developing our inner selves is a lifelong process that we must always work at. Some philosophies aim to eliminate feeling those troubles at all. Letters From A Stoic is a collection of moral epistles famous Roman Stoic and philosopher Seneca sent to his friend Lucilius, in order to help him become less emotional, more disciplined, and find the good life. . ? Letters from a Stoic is presumably a collection of 124 letters Seneca sent to his friend Lucilius – then the procurator of Sicily (essentially an official in Ancient Rome) — advising him on how to become a better Stoic. The sections above cover the majority of the musings and lessons found in, . Seneca was one of the foremost Stoic philosophers and this book along with, On The Shortness of Life, should be read by anyone looking for further insight into the philosophy. Trust is the best foundation of any relationship, but it’s hard to give and hard to get. Summary Notes. Next, we should consider our potential friend’s character. We are raised in a society that values ornamentation, so it may be tricky to rid ourselves of that desire. . Published by Penguin Books Ltd 2004-08-26, London (2004) ISBN 10: 0140442103 ISBN 13: 9780140442106. Unlike our minds, however, we don’t control our souls. This mob mentality is not only dangerous to others, but to our own character. We should surround ourselves with people we seek to be like, who will help us improve and grow, rather than those who may negatively impact our lives. Being content with enough as discussed above is an important piece. We should have comfortable homes, but shouldn’t concern ourselves with ornamentation that serves no functional purpose – it’s a waste of resources and energy. 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