Letters from a Stoic - Sêneca

Posted by Polly Kohler
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Letters from a Stoic - Sêneca

“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.”

“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.”

This book contains all of the 124 Letters on Moral and Ethics written by Seneca. His philosophy addresses the search for happiness, preparation for death, disappointments, friendship and raises one of the main human questions: how to combine quality of life and time scarcity. Readers of the 21st century will be surprised by lessons such as: "Men do not care how nobly they live, but only how long, although it is within the reach of every man to live nobly, but within no man's power to live long."; "It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor"; "What is the appropriate limit for wealth? It is, first, to have what is necessary, and, second, to have what is sufficient". Or yet: "Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life's account every day".

The work can be interpreted as a practical guide to frugality and how to be content with enough. The practice of stoicism makes you less emotionally reactive, more aware of the present, and more resilient. As you navigate through life, this kind of mental strength training also facilitates difficult decisions, whether it is giving up a job, starting a business, asking someone out, ending a relationship, or whatever.

Seneca's letters show him upholding the ideals of Stoicism - the wisdom of the self-possessed person immune to life's setbacks - while valuing friendship and courage, and criticizing the harsh treatment of slaves and the cruelties in the gladiatorial arena. The virtue and wisdom revealed in Seneca's interpretation of Stoicism is a passionate and inspiring declaration of the dignity of the individual mind.

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