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100 Best Quotes from Seneca the Younger

          Seneca the Younger, also known as Lucius Annaeus Seneca, was a Roman Stoic philosopher and a central figure in the Stoic philosophy, and his works have had a lasting impact on the development of Western thought.  This is an ultimate Seneca quote collection mostly from his work Letters from a Stoic – a collection of 124 letters written by Seneca the Younger at the end of his life. These letters, addressed to Lucilius – then the procurator of Sicily – are essentially moral essays in which Seneca articulates his Stoic beliefs and imparts advice on how to lead a good life.

           We are bringing our top 100 picks from our letters from a stoic summary and key takeaways where we summarize and highlights the best of Seneca quotes and wisdom for each of the 124 letters. This collection is special and a lot of these you won’t find somewhere else at the time of this writing.

          We read all of his letters and most of his best quotes are centered around his love for philosophy, approach to anxiety, acceptance on the unavoidable death and advice on friendships.

"Nothing, Lucilius, is ours, except time."

"It is likely that some troubles will befall us; but it is not a present fact. How often has the unexpected happened! "

"Some things torment us more than they ought; some torment us before they ought; and some torment us when they ought not to torment us at all "

"There are more things, Lucilius, likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality "

"It is equally faulty to trust everyone and to trust no one."

"Largest portion of our life passes while we are doing ill, a goodly share while we are doing nothing, and the whole while we are doing that which is not to the purpose. ."

"The primary indica­tion, to my thinking, of a well-ordered mind is a man’s ability to remain in one place and linger in his own company. "

"It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor."

"Ponder for a long time whether you shall admit a given person to your friendship; but when you have decided to admit him, welcome him with all your heart and soul. Speak as boldly with him as with yourself. "

“No good thing renders its possessor happy unless his mind is reconciled to the possibility of loss”.

“Cease to hope and you will cease to fear.”

"The living voice and the intimacy of a common life will help you more than the written word. You must go to the scene of action” ."

"You should not copy the bad simply because they are many, nor should you hate the many because they are unlike you. "

"Associate with those who will make a better man of you. Welcome those whom you yourself can improve. "

"If you would enjoy real freedom, you must be the slave of Philosophy. For the very service of Philosophy is freedom. "

"The wise man is sufficient unto himself for a happy existence."

"“I do not know any person with whom I should prefer you to associate rather than yourself.” "

"We can get rid of most sins, if we have a witness who stands near us when we are likely to go wrong. "

"Without philosophy the mind is sickly, and the body, too "

"The fool’s life is empty of gratitude and full of fears; its course lies wholly toward the future. "

“Philosophy.... moulds and constructs the soul; it orders our life, guides our conduct, shows us what we should do and what we should leave undone; it sits at the helm and directs our course as we waver amid uncertainties. Without it, no one can live fearlessly or in peace of mind. Countless things that happen every hour call for advice; and such advice is to be sought in philosophy.”

"If you live according to nature, you will never be poor; if you live according to opinion, you will never be rich. "

"Nature’s wants are slight; the demands of opinion are boundless. "

"The acquisition of riches has been for many men, not an end, but a change, of troubles.’ I do not wonder. For the fault is not in the wealth, but in the mind itself. "

"Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: ‘Is this the condition that I feared? "

“If you wish, to make Pythocles rich, do not add to his store of money, but subtract from his desires...if you wish Pythocles to have pleasure for ever, do not add to his pleasures, but subtract from his desire”

“A man has caught the message of wisdom, if he can die as free from care as he was at birth”

“ 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. “

"Pleasure, unless it has been kept within bounds, tends to rush headlong into the abyss of sorrow. "

“If you would put off all worry, assume that what you fear may happen will certainly happen in any event; whatever the trouble may be, measure it in your own mind, and estimate the amount of your fear. You will thus understand that what you fear is either insignificant or short-lived.” 

"We die every day. For every day a little of our life is taken from us; even when we are growing, our life is on the wane. "

“There is no real doubt that it is good for one to have appointed a guardian over oneself, and to have someone whom you may look up to, someone whom you may regard as a witness of your thoughts”

“He who has learned to die has unlearned slavery”.

"No man is able to borrow or buy a sound mind. "

"Knowledge of sin is the beginning of salvation... For he who does not know that he has sinned does not desire correction.” "

“I have never wished to cater to the crowd; for what I know, they do not approve, and what they approve, I do not k n o w”

"It takes trickery to win popular approval; and you must needs make yourself like unto them; they will withhold their approval if they do not recognise you as one of themselves. However, what you think of yourself is much more to the point than what others think of you "

“I hold that one is braver at the very moment of death than when one is approaching death. For death, when it stands near us, gives even to inexperienced men the courage not to seek to avoid the inevitable. “

“For life is granted to us with the reservation that we shall die; to this end our path leads. Therefore, how foolish it is to fear it, since men simply await that which is sure, but fear only that which is uncertain!"

"Death has its fixed rule—equitable and unavoidable. Who can complain when he is governed by terms which include everyone?. "

"This is sound practice—to refrain from associating with men of different stamp and different aims. "

"Let there be a difference between yourself and your book! How long shall you be a learner? From now on be a teacher as well! "

"If reason becomes your ruler, you will become ruler over many."

“For man is a reasoning animal. Therefore, man’s highest good is attained, if he has fulfilled the good for which nature designed him at birth.”  "

"You will perceive that it is not the loss that troubles us with reference to these things, but a notion of loss.

“Good people don’t know they are good”

"And no one can live happily who has regard to himself alone and transforms everything into a question of his own utility; you must live for your neighbor, if you would live for yourself.”

"I am not your friend unless whatever is at issue concerning you is my concern also."

"It is possible, or rather usual, for a man who has lived long to have lived too little. "

" Show me that the good in life does not depend upon life’s length, but upon the use we make of it "

“For what else are you busied with except improving yourself every day, laying aside some error, and coming to understand that the faults which you attribute to circumstances are in yourself?”

“And what is freedom, you ask? It means not being a slave to any circumstance, to any constraint, to any chance”

“Choose as a guide one whom you will admire more when you see him act than when you hear him speak.”

"Philosophy, however, is the only power that can stir us, the only power that can shake off our deep slumber. Devote yourself wholly to philosophy” "

"Accept this assurance from me – I shall never be frightened when the last hour comes; I am already prepared and do not plan a whole day ahead."

"Our luxuries have condemned us to weakness. "

"Before I became old I tried to live well; now that I am old, I shall try to die well; but dying well means dying gladly. "

"We must make ready for death before we make ready for life."

"To me, the thought of my dead friends is sweet and appealing. For I have had them as if I should one day lose them; I have lost them as if I have them still. "

"Let us greedily enjoy our friends, because we do not know how long this privilege will be ours. "

""The cures for the spirit also have been discovered by the ancients; but it is our task to learn the method and the time of treatment." "

"The effect of wisdom is a joy that is unbroken and continuous."

“Vice, Lucilius, is what I wish you to proceed against, without limit and without end. For it has neither limit nor end. If any vice rend your heart, cast it away from you; and if you cannot be rid of it in any other way, pluck out your heart also. Above all, drive pleasures from your sight. Hate them beyond all other things”

“The spirit is weakened by surroundings that are too pleasant, and without a doubt one’s place of residence can contribute towards impairing its vigour.“

"A good conscience welcomes the crowd, but a bad conscience, even in solitude, is disturbed and troubled."

"A good conscience welcomes the crowd, but a bad conscience, even in solitude, is disturbed and troubled."

"The Stoic also can carry his goods unimpaired through cities that have been burned to ashes;for he is self-sufficient."

"Accordingly, look about you for the opportunity; if you see it, grasp it, and with all your energy and with all your strength devote yourself to this task."

"Be a philosopher now, whether you have anything or not—for if you have anything, how do you know that you have not too much already?"

"Death is non-existence, and I know already what that means. What was before me will happen again after me. If there is any suffering in this state, there must have been such suffering also in the past, before we entered the light of day. As a matter of fact, however, we felt no discomfort then."

"He really lives who is made use of by many; he really lives who makes use of himself."

"How long shall we go on making demands upon the gods, as if we were still unable to support ourselves?"

"I cannot boast that I waste nothing, but I can at least tell you what I am wasting, and the cause and manner of the loss."

"I spend my time in the company of all the best; no matter in what lands they may have lived, or in what age, I let my thoughts fly to them."

"It is a characteristic of real joy that it never ceases, and never changes into its opposite."

"It is because we seek the proofs of our bereavement in our tears, and do not give way to sorrow, but merely parade it. "

"It is not the last drop that empties the water-clock, but all that which previously has flowed out; similarly, the final hour when we cease to exist does not of itself bring death; it merely of itself completes the death-process."

"Make progress, and, before all else, endeavour to be consistent with yourself"

"Make yourself happy through your own efforts; you can do this, if once you comprehend that whatever is blended with virtue is good, and that whatever is joined to vice is bad"

"One must not talk to a man unless he is willing to listen."

"Our not wanting pleasures has taken the place of the pleasures themselves. How comforting it is to have tired out one’s appetites, and to have done with them!"

"Since you cannot read all the books which you may possess, it is enough to possess only as many books as you can read The mind must be exercised both day and night."

"Virtue alone affords everlasting and peace-giving joy; even if some obstacle arise, it is but like an intervening cloud, which floats beneath the sun but never prevails against it"

"We ought to see to it that we flee to the greatest possible distance from provocations to vice."

"We should cherish the body with the greatest care; but we should also be prepared, when reason, self-respect, and duty demand the sacrifice, to deliver it even to the flames."

"What man can you show me… who reckons the worth of each day, who understands that he is dying daily? … Therefore, Lucilius, hold every hour in your grasp."

"Why wait until there is nothing left for you to crave? That time will never come… If you retreat to privacy, everything will be on a smaller scale"

"You must be not only present in the body, but watchful in mind, if you would avail yourself of the fleeting opportunity."

“Fortune has no jurisdiction over character.”

"See to it that all your actions and words harmonize and correspond with each other and are stamped in the same mould. If a man’s acts are out of harmony, his soul is crooked”

“Wisdom offers wealth in ready money, and pays it over to those in whose eyes she has made wealth superfluous.”

"No man was ever wise by chance."

"True happiness is... to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future."

"Sometimes even to live is an act of courage."

"Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity."

"The greatest remedy for anger is delay."

"Time discovers truth."

"If you wished to be loved, love."

"Not how long, but how well you have lived is the main thing."

"A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials."

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