Letters From a Stoic by Seneca

I borrowed this book last summer from a co-worker and still have it. It has taken me a longer time than is polite to have someone’s book but I think any true readers can understand sometimes book reading does not go according to plan.

I finally finished it and I wanted to read this book because all through my undergrad there was a teacher that kept telling us that he did not know why our school put Plato and Aristotle on such a high horse as the Stoics were better. I was never really sure what he was talking about but I made a mental note to get to the books eventually and I guess I finally did.

I loved this book and as much as I am concerned with communities and the collective we can never forget the individuals that make up those collectives. As a person that is constantly in my mind trying to make myself better I learnt from this book. It was a reminder that the quest for success is kinda stupid its best to be a good and wise person that does not worry too much about silly things and that one must at least try to be vegetarian.

  1. What really ruins our characters is the fact that none of us look back over his life. We think about what we’re going to do, and only really of that, and feel to think about what we have done, yet any plans for the future a dependent on the past. Page 140

You must be reflective of yourself not only right now but the past you and the future you.

  1. The geometrician teaches me how I may avoid losing any fraction of my estate, but what I really want to learn is how to lose the lot and still keep smiling. Page 154

Do not focus too much on material gain. Spiritual gain is something to be desired and a good in itself

  1. Turning to the musical scholar, I say this. You teach me how bass and treble harmonize, or how strings producing different notes can give rise to Concord. I would rather you brought about some harmony in my mind and got my thoughts into tune. Page 154

On this I disagree I think there is a lot of music that calms people’s minds. When you hear the right song the right lyrics it allows you to know that someone else has gone through this, someone else has felt what I am feeling that can give your mind some harmony

  1. But I’m being turned off the land of my father and my grandfather owned it before me! Well so what? Who owned the land before your grandfather? Are you in a position to identify the community, let alone the individual, to whom it originally belong to? You entered on it is a tenant, not an absolute honor. Who’s tenant you may ask? Your heirs and that’s only if you are lucky. Page 154

Dreams of communism and banishment of inheritance.

  1. I am ready for everything. If I’m late often anyway, I’m pleased. The day in question please me one in a sense if it’s treats me leniently, but even so not really long, for just as I know that anything is capable of happening so also do I know that it is not bound to happen. So I look for the best and I’m prepared for the opposite. Page 155

You control nothing so be surprised by nothing and happy with the good.

  1. The fact that the ship can’t begin to exist without the Timbers of which it’s built doesn’t mean that the timbers are of help to it. There’s no reason for you to assume that, X being with being something without which Y could never have come about, why came about as a result of the assistance of X. And indeed it can actually be argued that the attainment of wisdom is perfectly possible without the liberal studies; or the moral values of things which have to be learned, they are not learned through the studies. Besides, what grounds could I possibly have for supposing that a person who has no acquaintance with the books will never be a wise man? For wisdom publishes not words but truths- and I’m not sure that the memory isn’t more reliable when it has no external aids. Page 158

Do not be fooled into thinking that wisdom comes only from plaques on your wall.

  1. When you come to writers in our own school, for that matter, I’ll show you plenty of works which could do with some ruthless pruning. It cost a person in an in Normas amount of time and other people’s ear an in Normas amount of boredom before he in such a complement is what I learned person! Let us become tent with them much less fashionable label, what a good man! Page 160

Let being a good person be the highest honor that we all seek.

  1. Protagoras declared that it is possible to argue either side of any question with equal force, even the question whether or not one can equally argue either side of any question! Page 160

Yes but on the otherhand…

  1. Among human beings the highest married means the highest position. So do you switch to the ruler for his character. Hence people were supremely fortunate one among them and then could never be more powerful than others unless he was a better man than they were. For there is nothing dangerous in a man in a man’s having as much power as he likes if he takes the view that he has the power to do only what it is his duty to do. To Govern was to serve, not to rule. No one used to try out the extent of his power over those to whom he owed that power in the first place. And no one had either reason or inclination to perpetrate injustice, since people governing well were equally well obeyed, and the king could issue no greater threat to disobedient subjects than that of his own abdication. Page 163

Those that are leaders must remember that is a job, you have responsibilities that come with that and you cannot forget that you have been put in that position by those that you lead. Politicians come to mind in relation to this.

  1. Sextius, was a vegetarian. Each one has a quite different reason, But each was a striking one. Sextius believed that man had enough food to sustain him without shedding blood, and that when men took this tearing or flesh so far that it became a pleasure a habit of cruelty was formed. Page 205

Dreams of Vegetarianism

  1. For those who follow nature everything is easy and straightforward, whereas those who fight against her life is just like rowing against the stream. Page 226

The universe, Ancestors and God will guide you so don’t worry.

  1. One he used to think that the type of person who spreads tale was as bad as any: but is there a persons who spread vices. And association with them does a lot of damage. Even if it’s success is not immediate, it leaves a seed in the mind, and even after we said goodbye to them, the evil follows us, to rear it’s head at some of time or other in the future. Page 228


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