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Letters from a Stoic 44 – Summary and Key Takeaways

                In letters from a stoic 44,   Seneca emphasized that philosophy does not care about ancestry. “If there is any good in philosophy, it is this—that it never looks into pedigrees. All men, if traced back to their original source, spring from the gods.” Lucilius seems to be feeling unworthy of his status and Seneca reminds him that a noble mind is free to anyone.

        Philosophy does not care about your status or ancestral origins. All one needs to be a nobleman is to practice virtue which the Stoics defined to be the only absolute good. “Then who is well-born? He who is by nature well fitted for virtue… the soul alone renders us noble.” Seneca and the Stoics believe that virtue is sufficient to have a happy life. “If there is anything that can make life happy, it is good on its own merits; for it cannot degenerate into evil.” 


          Seneca also pointed out that one of the reasons why we make mistakes is when we “regard the means for producing happiness as happiness itself” and that in reality, we are actually fleeing from real happiness. For example, we think of money as a source of happiness and we equate it with happiness. 

         That’s entirely not true because we know from the Stoics that it’s only our perception that tells us that money itself is happiness. As a result, we crave more money and do everything to accumulate as fast and as much as we can and this is a bad idea. As Seneca puts it “when you hurry through a maze; the faster you go, the worse you are entangled.

*****   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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