Letters from a Stoic 8 – Key Takeaways

           In this eighth letter, Seneca described his life in solitude after retirement. He turned to writing at this point to inspire the younger generation. “I have withdrawn not only from men, but from affairs, especially from my own affairs; I am working for later generations, writing down some ideas that may be of assistance to them”. It is known that the wise old was extremely during this part of his life.

            Seneca warns the younger generation about the dangers of chasing externals such as wealth, fame, and power which he terms “gift of Chance”. If I am not mistaken Chance is a goddess in ancient Greece and Rome that snares humans on wealth and possessions. Seneca reminds us that these things can be taken from us at any given time by Chance. Instead, he wants us to focus on things that would nourish our mind and soul because it’s the only one that cannot be taken from us. He said that this can be done by studying philosophy and use a quote from Epicurus to stress its importance “‘if you would enjoy real freedom, you must be the slave of Philosophy.’ For the very service of Philosophy is freedom. For me, this line is very powerful. I am subscribed to the idea that all our sufferings came from our irrational thoughts and our systems of beliefs which cause various kinds of negative emotions. Since I studied philosophy especially stoicism, I learned to question my own thoughts and belief and learned to redirect them to feel good about myself.

*****   Letters from a Stoic Key Takeaways is a collection of short key takeaways from the letters sent by Seneca to Lucilius. Read each letter’s key takeways here .

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