But Seneca reminds us that the judgments of others do not matter as much as our own – we must strive to live with virtue and integrity, because at the end of the day it is ourselves we must face. “Why be concerned about others, come to that, when you’ve outdone your own self? The core of the stoic philosophy is not about learning theories, but about a desire to imitate the good philosophers. Associate with people who are likely to improve you. a plant which is frequently moved never grows strong. So always read well-tried authors, and if at any moment you find yourself wanting a change from a particular author, go back to ones you have read before. The process is a mutual one: men learn as they teach. We should have comfortable homes, but shouldn’t concern ourselves with ornamentation that serves no functional purpose –. The first recorded full translation of these letters to English was by Thomas Lodge in 1614, and they have been translated many times since. While some philosophical schools of thought teach that “enough” is meager food, a shack to live in, threadbare clothing and then learning how to be satisfied with that. Letters from a Stoic by Seneca Book Review The great life is a real existence lived as per nature. We should, surround ourselves with people we seek to be like. Ask nature: she will tell you that she made both day and night. was a prominent Roman philosopher and playwright who published several essential works about, (alongside Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus), counseled Emperor Nero, and is often credited with rendering Stoicism more accessible to a larger audience than his counterparts. But something that can never be learnt too thoroughly can never be said too often. In this way we shall arrive at the true end of man, happiness, through having attained the one and only good thing in life, the ideal or goal called arete in Greek and in Latin virtus – for which the English word ‘virtue’ is so unsatisfactory a translation. But where do we start on this self-improvement journey? I also include new articles and book notes. Something went wrong while submitting the form. IT is clear to you, I know, Lucilius, that no one can lead a happy life, or even one that is bearable, without the pursuit of wisdom, and that the perfection of wisdom is what makes the happy life. set aside now and then a number of days during which you will be content with the plainest of food, and very little of it, and with rough, coarse clothing, and will ask yourself, ‘Is this what one used to dread?’. What fortune has made yours is not your own. They never venture to do for themselves the things they have spent such a long time learning. , such as making the most with what we have in the time we have. We should spend our energy on cultivating a few friendships rather than many. We should work on being satisfied with what we do have, to take pleasure in the simple things. However, Seneca expands upon self-improvement in more ways throughout his texts. We should be able to tell our friends things we only tell ourselves. Philosophy…. We gather that the family moved to Rome during the boyhood of Lucius, that he was educated for the bar, and that he was soon attracted by the Stoic philosophy, the stern nurse of heroes during the first century of the Empire. We should. ? While grief is only natural, we should not succumb to it. The fact that the body is lying down is no reason for supposing that the mind is at peace. Nor does their so moving together surprise me; both belong to a mind in suspense, to a mind in a state of anxiety through looking into the future. Seneca insists that these are not worthy excuses –, we can and should make time for our mental health. It's a collection of fascinating finds from my week, usually about psychology, technology, health, philosophy, and whatever else catches my interest. And we should, indeed, live as if we were in public view, and think, too, as if someone could peer into the inmost recesses of our hearts – which someone can! Seneca’s letters read like a diary, or a handbook of philosophical meditations. Okay, say we’ve done all that vetting. Perhaps you will be cajoled, made fun of, or otherwise judged – peer pressured — by those who want to bring you to their level. The many speak highly of you, but have you really any grounds for satisfaction with yourself if you are the kind of person the many understand? Okay, say we’ve done all that vetting. 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