Letters from a Stoic 51– Summary and Key Takeaways

                 In letters from a stoic 51, Seneca talks about the importance of living in a place that’s far from vices but one that should enhance our character instead. “We ought to select abodes which are wholesome not only for the body but also for the character… We ought to see to it that we flee to the greatest possible distance from provocations to vice.” He mentioned several places in ancient Rome such as Baiae and Canopos that were known for their luxuries and pleasurable activities. He advised Lucilius not to live in these places because they will corrupt his character.

                 The Stoics and Seneca have repeatedly reminded us of the danger of pleasures and vices. Seneca said we should not let our guard down against them because they can destroy even the wisest men and carry off those with the sternest characters. Vices are a threat to freedom. “And what is freedom, you ask? It means not being a slave to any circumstance, to any constraint, to any chance”, Seneca said. Having these thoughts in mind a wise man should live in an “austere and pure-dwelling place” away from pleasurable places, Seneca argues. “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. “ In the last part of the letter, Seneca talks about the nature of vices and why Lucilius should avoid and condemn them. “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

*****   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 .

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

FREE weekly practical tips, reflections and key takeaways from the works of the stoics