Letters From A Stoic Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Letters From A Stoic. Here they are! All 200 of them:

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If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you’re needing is not to be in a different place but to be a different person.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are. We've been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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If you live in harmony with nature you will never be poor; if you live according what others think, you will never be rich.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Enjoy present pleasures in such a way as not to injure future ones.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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It is not the man who has too little that is poor, but the one who hankers after more.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Regard [a friend] as loyal, and you will make him loyal.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Withdraw into yourself, as far as you can. Associate with those who will make a better man of you. Welcome those whom you yourself can improve. The process is mutual; for men learn while they teach.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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You should … live in such a way that there is nothing which you could not as easily tell your enemy as keep to yourself.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Nothing is burdensome if taken lightly, and nothing need arouse one's irritation so long as one doesn't make it bigger than it is by getting irritated.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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To win true freeedom you must be a slave to philosophy.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Of this one thing make sure against your dying day - that your faults die before you do.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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To be everywhere is to be nowhere.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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There is no enjoying the possession of anything valuable unless one has someone to share it with
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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For many men, the acquisition of wealth does not end their troubles, it only changes them
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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But when you are looking on anyone as a friend when you do not trust him as you trust yourself, you are making a grave mistake, and have failed to grasp sufficiently the full force of true friendship.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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What man can you show me who places any value on his time, who reckons the worth of each day, who understands that he is dying daily? For we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed, Whatever years be behind us are in death's hands.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Philosophy calls for simple living, not for doing penance, and the simple way of life need not be a crude one.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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For what prevents us from saying that the happy life is to have a mind that is free, lofty, fearless and steadfast - a mind that is placed beyond the reach of fear, beyond the reach of desire, that counts virtue the only good, baseness the only evil, and all else but a worthless mass of things, which come and go without increasing or diminishing the highest good, and neither subtract any part from the happy life nor add any part to it? A man thus grounded must, whether he wills or not, necessarily be attended by constant cheerfulness and a joy that is deep and issues from deep within, since he finds delight in his own resources, and desires no joys greater than his inner joys.
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Seneca (The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters)
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The difficulty comes from our lack of confidence.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic (and Biography))
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What really ruins our character is the fact that none of us looks back over his life.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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What fortune has made yours is not your own.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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There are more things, Lucilius, likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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A woman is not beautiful when her ankle or arm wins compliments, but when her total appearance diverts admiration from the individual parts of her body.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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I have learned to be a friend to myself Great improvement this indeed Such a one can never be said to be alone for know that he who is a friend to himself is a friend to all mankind
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Let us say what we feel, and feel what we say; let speech harmonize with life.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Limiting one’s desires actually helps to cure one of fear. β€˜Cease to hope … and you will cease to fear.’ … Widely different [as fear and hope] are, the two of them march in unison like a prisoner and the escort he is handcuffed to. Fear keeps pace with hope … both belong to a mind in suspense, to a mind in a state of anxiety through looking into the future. Both are mainly due to projecting our thoughts far ahead of us instead of adapting ourselves to the present.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Each day acquire something that will fortify you against poverty, against death, indeed against other misfortunes as well; and after you have run over many thoughts, select one to be thoroughly digested that day.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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People who know no self-restraint lead stormy and disordered lives, passing their time in a state of fear commensurate with the injuries they do to others, never able to relax.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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As it is with a play, so it is with life - what matters is not how long the acting lasts, but how good it is.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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All this hurrying from place to place won’t bring you any relief, for you’re traveling in the company of your own emotions, followed by your troubles all the way.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Because thou writest me often, I thank thee ... Never do I receive a letter from thee, but immediately we are together.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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For the only safe harbour in this life's tossing, troubled sea is to refuse to be bothered about what the future will bring and to stand ready and confident, squaring the breast to take without skulking or flinching whatever fortune hurls at us.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Wild animals run from the dangers they actually see, and once they have escaped them worry no more. We however are tormented alike by what is past and what is to come. A number of our blessings do us harm, for memory brings back the agony of fear while foresight brings it on prematurely. No one confines his unhappiness to the present.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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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.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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When a mind is impressionable and has none too firm a hold on what is right, it must be rescued from the crowd: it is so easy for it to go over to the majority.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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the more a mind takes in the more it expands.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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As Lucretius says: 'Thus ever from himself doth each man flee.' But what does he gain if he does not escape from himself? He ever follows himself and weighs upon himself as his own most burdensome companion. And so we ought to understand that what we struggle with is the fault, not of the places, but of ourselves
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Seneca (The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters)
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Hold fast, then, to this sound and wholesome rule of life - that you indulge the body only so far as is needful for good health. The body should be treated more rigorously, that it may not be disobedient to the mind.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Words need to be sown like seeds. No matter how tiny a seed may be, when in lands in the right sort of ground it unfolds its strength and from being minute expands and grows to a massive size.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Most men ebb and flow in wretchedness between the fear of death and the hardships of life; they are unwilling to live, and yet they do not know how to die.Β 
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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A guilty person sometimes has the luck to escape detection, but never to feel sure of it.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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To expect punishment is to suffer it; and to earn it is to expect it.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Life is slavery if the courage to die is absent.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Preserve a sense of proportion in your attitude to everything that pleases you, and make the most of them while they are at their best.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Reason shows us there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Death hangs over thee. While thou livest, while it is in thy power, be good.
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Marcus Aurelius (Stoic Six Pack - Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Golden Sayings, Fragments and Discourses of Epictetus, Letters From A Stoic and The Enchiridion (Illustrated))
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It is a great man that can treat his earthenware as if it was silver, and a man who treats his silver as if it was earthenware is no less great.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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It is in no man's power to have whatever he wants, but he has it in his power not to wish for what he hasn't got, and cheerfully make the most of the things that do come his way.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Here is your great soulβ€”the man who has given himself over to Fate; on the other hand, that man is a weakling and a degenerate who struggles and maligns the order of the universe and would rather reform the gods than reform himself.
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Seneca (Letters From A Stoic: Epistulae Morales AD Lucilium (Illustrated. Newly revised text. Includes Image Gallery + Audio): All Three Volumes)
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The fool, with all his other faults, has this also, he is always getting ready to live.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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No man’s good by accident. Virtue has to be learnt.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Nothing, Lucilius, is ours, except time. We were entrusted by nature with the ownership of this single thing, so fleeting and slippery that anyone who will can oust us from possession.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Soft living imposes on us the penalty of debility; we cease to be able to do the things we've long been grudging about doing.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Every day as it comes should be welcomed and reduced forthwith into our own possession as if it were the finest day imaginable. What flies past has to be seized at.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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However much you possess there's someone else who has more, and you'll be fancying yourself to be short of things you need to exact extent to which you lag behind him.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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For love of bustle is not industry, β€”it is only the restlessness of a hunted mind.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic (and Biography))
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And this, too, affords no small occasion for anxieties - if you are bent on assuming a pose and never reveal yourself to anyone frankly, in the fashion of many who live a false life that is all made up for show; for it is torturous to be constantly watching oneself and be fearful of being caught out of our usual role. And we are never free from concern if we think that every time anyone looks at us he is always taking-our measure; for many things happen that strip off our pretence against our will, and, though all this attention to self is successful, yet the life of those who live under a mask cannot be happy and without anxiety. But how much pleasure there is in simplicity that is pure, in itself unadorned, and veils no part of its character!{PlainDealer+} Yet even such a life as this does run some risk of scorn, if everything lies open to everybody; for there are those who disdain whatever has become too familiar. But neither does virtue run any risk of being despised when she is brought close to the eyes, and it is better to be scorned by reason of simplicity than tortured by perpetual pretence.
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Seneca (The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters)
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But only philosophy will wake us; only philosophy will shake us out of that heavy sleep. Devote yourself entirely to her. You're worthy of her, she's worthy of you-fall into each other's arms. Say a firm, plain no to every other occupation.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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The boon that could be given can be withdrawn.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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No man is good by chance. Virtue is something which must be learned.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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For Fate/ The willing leads, the unwilling drags along.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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I never spend a day in idleness; I appropriate even a part of the night for study. I do not allow time for sleep but yield to it when I must, and when my eyes are wearied with waking and ready to fall shut, I keep them at their task.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic (and Biography))
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My advice is really this: what we hear the philosophers saying and what we find in their writings should be applied in our pursuit of the happy life. We should hunt out the helpful pieces of teaching, and the spirited and noble-minded sayings which are capable of immediate practical applicationβ€”not far-fetched or archaic expressions or extravagant metaphors and figures of speechβ€”and learn them so well that words become works. No one to my mind lets humanity down quite so much as those who study philosophy as if it were a sort of commercial skill and then proceed to live in a quite different manner from the way they tell other people to live.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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The Chair I’m writing to you, who made the archaic wooden chair look like a throne while you sat on it. Amidst your absence, I choose to sit on the floor, which is dusty as a dry Kansas day. I am stoic as a statue of Buddha, not wanting to bother the old wooden chair, which has been silent now for months. In this sunlit moment I think of you. I can still picture you sitting there-- your forehead wrinkled like an un-ironed shirt, the light splashed on your face, like holy water from St. Joseph’s. The chair, with rounded curves like that of a full-figured woman, seems as mellow as a monk in prayer. The breeze blows from beyond the curtains, as if your spirit has come back to rest. Now a cloud passes overhead, and I hush, waiting to hear what rests so heavily on the chair’s lumbering mind. Do not interrupt, even if the wind offers to carry your raspy voice like a wispy cloud.
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Jarod Kintz (A Letter to Andre Breton, Originally Composed on a Leaf of Lettuce With an Ink-dipped Carrot)
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It is uncertain where Death will await you; there expect it everywhere.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic (and Biography))
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Desultory reading is delightful, but to be beneficial, our reading must be carefully directed.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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If i had not been admitted to these studies it would not have been worth while to have been born.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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What difference does it make, after all, what your position in life is if you dislike it yourself?
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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If you look on wealth as a thing to be valued your imaginary poverty will cause you torment.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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I will keep constant watch over myself andβ€”most usefullyβ€”will put each day up for review. For this is what makes us evilβ€”that none of us looks back upon our own lives. We reflect upon only that which we are about to do. And yet our plans for the future descend from the past.” β€”SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 83.2
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Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
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If you have nothing to stir you up and rouse you to action, nothing which will test your resolution by its threats and hostilities; if you recline in unshaken comfort, it is not tranquillity; it is merely a flat calm.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself." That was indeed a great benefit; such a person can never be alone. You may be sure that such a man is a friend to all mankind.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Everywhere means nowhere. When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends. And the same thing must hold true of men who seek intimate acquaintance with no single author, but visit them all in a hasty and hurried manner. 3. Food does no good and is not assimilated into the body if it leaves the stomach as soon as it is eaten; nothing hinders a cure so much as frequent change of medicine; no wound will heal when one salve is tried after another; a plant which is often moved can never grow strong. There is nothing so efficacious that it can be helpful while it is being shifted about. And in reading of many books is distraction.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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If you look on wealth as a thing to be valued you’ll always fancy yourself to be short of the things you need to the extent to which you lag behind what others have.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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An unpopular rule is never long maintained.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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philosophy teaches us to act, not to speak;
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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There is but one chain holding us in fetters, and that is our love of life.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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that you would not anticipate misery since the evils you dread as coming upon you may perhaps never reach you at least they are not yet come Thus some things torture us more than they ought, some before they ought and some which ought never to torture us at all. We heighten our pain either by presupposing a cause or anticipation
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Barley porridge, or a crust of barley bread, and water do not make a very cheerful diet, but nothing gives one keener pleasure than having the ability to derive pleasure even from that-- and the feeling of having arrived at something which one cannot be deprived of by any unjust stroke of fortune.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Possession of a friend should be with the spirit: the spirit's never absent: it sees daily whoever it likes.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Excellence withers without an adversary.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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And when the soul has yielded to pleasure, its functions and actions grow weak, and any undertaking comes from a nerveless and unsteady source.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic (and Biography))
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How can you wonder your travels do you no good, when you carry yourself around with you? You are saddled with the very thing that drove you away.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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there are a few men whom slavery holds fast, but there are many more who hold fast to slavery.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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The shortest route to wealth is the contempt of wealth.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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A man is as unhappy as he has convinced himself he is.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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by overloading the body with food you strangle the soul and render it less active.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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In the ashes all men are levelled. We're born unequal, we die equal.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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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.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic (and Biography))
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Similarly, too rich a soil makes the grain fall flat, branches break down under too heavy a load, excessive productiveness does not bring fruit to ripeness.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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The man who spends his time choosing one resort after another in a hunt for peace and quiet will in every place he visits find something to prevent him from relaxing.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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No man has ever been so far advanced by Fortune that she did not threaten him as greatly as she had previously indulged him. Do not trust her seeming calm; in a moment the sea is moved to its depths. The very day the ships have made a brave show in the games, they are engulfed.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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From this state also will he flee. If I should attempt to enumerate them one by one, I should not find a single one which could tolerate the wise man or which the wise man could tolerate.
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Seneca (The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters)
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Anyone who likes may make things easier for himself by viewing them with equanimity.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Believe me if you consult philosophy she will persuade you not to lit so long at your counting desk
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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What then is good? The knowledge of things. What is evil? The lack of knowledge of things.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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what is freedom, you ask?Β  It means not being a slave to any circumstance, to any constraint, to any chance; it
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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to make Pythocles rich, do not add to his store of money, but subtract from his desires.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed, Whatever years be behind us are in death's hands.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Humanity is the quality which stops one being arrogant towards one's fellows, or being acrimonious.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Philosophy is good advice; and no one can give advice at the top of his lungs.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Any man,’ he says, β€˜who does not think that what he has is more than ample, is an unhappy man, even if he is the master of the whole world.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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what's the use of overcoming opponent after opponent in the wrestling or boxing rings if you can be overcome by your temper?
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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pleasure, unless it has been kept within bounds, tends to rush headlong into the abyss of sorrow.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Prove - and an easy task it is - that so-called pleasures, when they go beyond a certain limit, are but punishments...
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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a good man will not waste himself upon mean and discreditable work or be busy merely for the sake of being busy.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Away with the world’s opinion of you – it’s always unsettled and divided. Away with the pursuits that have occupied the whole of your life – death is going to deliver the verdict in your case. ... It’s only when you’re breathing your last that the way you’ve spent your time will become apparent.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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The wise man, he said, lacked nothing but needed a great number of things, whereas 'the fool, on the other hand, needs nothing (for he does not know how to use anything) but lack everything.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Why be concerned about others, come to that, when you've outdone your own self? Set yourself a limit which you couldn't even exceed if you wanted to, and say good-bye at last to those deceptive prizes more precious to those who hope for them than to those who have won them. If there were anything substantial in them they would sooner or later bring a sense of fullness; as it is they simply aggravate the thirst of those who swallow them.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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For a delight in bustling about is not industry - it is only the restless energy of a hunted mind. And the state of mind that looks on all activity as tiresome is not true repose, but a spineless inertia.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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you shall be told what pleased me to-day in the writings of Hecato; it is these words: "What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself." That was indeed a great benefit; such a person can never be alone. You may be sure that such a man is a friend to all mankind.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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The trip doesn’t exist that can set you beyond the reach of cravings, fits of temper, or fears … so long as you carry the sources of your troubles about with you, those troubles will continue to harass and plague you wherever you wander on land or on sea. Does it surprise you that running away doesn’t do you any good? The things you’re running away from are with you all the time.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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I do not regard a man as poor, if the little which remains is enough for him.
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Marcus Aurelius (Stoic Six Pack - Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Golden Sayings, Fragments and Discourses of Epictetus, Letters From A Stoic and The Enchiridion (Illustrated))
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if we do not want to be overwhelmed and struck numb by rare events as if they were unprecedented ones; fortune needs envisaging in a thoroughly comprehensive way.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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We are weak, watery beings standing in the midst of unrealities; therefore let us turn our minds to the things that are everlasting.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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To live under constraint is a misfortune, but there is no constraint to live under constraint.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Leisure without study is death; it is a tomb for the living man.
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Seneca (Letters From A Stoic: Epistulae Morales AD Lucilium (Illustrated. Newly revised text. Includes Image Gallery + Audio): All Three Volumes)
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You must linger among a limited number of master thinkers, and digest their works, if you would derive ideas which shall win firm hold in your mind.Β 
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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And there’s no state of slavery more disgraceful than one which is self-imposed.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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For those who follow nature everything is easy and straightforward, whereas for those who fight against her life is just like rowing against the stream.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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All things were ready for us at our birth; it is we that have made everything difficult for ourselves, through our disdain for what is easy.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic (and Biography))
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And if you want to know why all this running away cannot help you, the answer is simply this: you are running away in your own company.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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IN THE morning when thou risest unwillingly, let this thought be present- I am rising to the work of a human being. Why then am I dissatisfied if I am going to do the things for which I exist and for which I was brought into the world?
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Marcus Aurelius (Stoic Six Pack - Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Golden Sayings, Fragments and Discourses of Epictetus, Letters From A Stoic and The Enchiridion (Illustrated))
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Those who wish their virtue to be advertised are not striving for virtue but for renown. Are you not willing to be just without being renowned? Nay, indeed you must often be just and be at the same time disgraced. And then, if you are wise, let ill repute, well won, be a delight. Farewell.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Therefore, my dear Lucilius, begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life. He who has thus prepared himself, he whose daily life has been a rounded whole, is easy in his mind;
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Seneca (Letters From A Stoic: Epistulae Morales AD Lucilium (Illustrated. Newly revised text. Includes Image Gallery + Audio): All Three Volumes)
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What good does it do you to go overseas, to move from city to city? If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you're needing is not to be in a different place but to be a different person.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Think for a long time whether or not you should admit a given person to your friendship. But when you have decided to do so, welcome him heart and soul, and speak as unreservedly with him as you would with yourself
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Spurn everything that is added by way of decoration and display by unneccesary labour. Relect that nothing merits admiration except the spirit, the impressiveness of which prevents it from being impressed by anything.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Reflect that nothing merits admiration except the spirit, the impressiveness of which prevents it from being impressed by anything.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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I do not regard a man as poor, if the little which remains is enough for him.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Peace you can claim for yourself without being disliked by anyone, without any sense of loss, and without any pangs of spirit.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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We Stoics are not subjects of a despot: each of us lays claim to his own freedom.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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I learned endurance of labour, and to want little, and to work with my own hands, and not to meddle with other people's affairs, and not to be ready to listen to slander.
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Marcus Aurelius (Stoic Six Pack - Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Golden Sayings, Fragments and Discourses of Epictetus, Letters From A Stoic and The Enchiridion (Illustrated))
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It is not the man who has too little who is poor, but the one who hankers after more.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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a man when he has done a good act, does not call out for others to come and see, but he goes on to another act, as a vine goes on to produce again the grapes in season.-
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Marcus Aurelius (Stoic Six Pack - Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Golden Sayings, Fragments and Discourses of Epictetus, Letters From A Stoic and The Enchiridion (Illustrated))
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The fool's life is empty of gratitude and full of fears; its course lies wholly toward the future.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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That which takes effect by chance is not an art.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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To have may be taken from us, to have had, never. A man is thankless in the highest degree if, after losing something, he feels no obligation for having received it.
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Seneca (Letters From A Stoic: Epistulae Morales AD Lucilium (Illustrated. Newly revised text. Includes Image Gallery + Audio): All Three Volumes)
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BEGIN the morning by saying to thyself, I shall meet with the busy-body, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial.
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Marcus Aurelius (Stoic Six Pack - Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Golden Sayings, Fragments and Discourses of Epictetus, Letters From A Stoic and The Enchiridion (Illustrated))
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He who needs riches least, enjoys riches most."[8]
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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The acquisition of riches has been for many men, not an end, but a change, of troubles.
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Seneca (Letters From A Stoic: Epistulae Morales AD Lucilium (Illustrated. Newly revised text. Includes Image Gallery + Audio): All Three Volumes)
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How much better to follow a straight course and attain a goal where the words "pleasant" and "honourable" have the same meaning!
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic (and Biography))
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No one dies except on his own day. You are throwing away none of your own time; for what you leave behind does not belong to you.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Do you ask what is the foundation of a sound mind? It is, not to find joy in useless things.Β 
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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The wise man will not upset the customs of the people, nor will he invite the attention of the populace by any novel ways of living.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic: All Three Volumes)
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[E]verything which went beyond our actual needs was just so much unnecessary weight, a burden to the man who had to carry it.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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What's the good of dragging up sufferings which are over, of being unhappy now just because you were then?
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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And what is more wretched than a man who forgets his benefits and clings to his injuries?
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Where you arrive does not matter so much as what sort of person you are when you arrive there.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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The road is long if one proceeds by way of precepts but short and effectual if by way of personal example.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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When one is busy and absorbed in one's work, the very absorption affords great delight; but when one has withdrawn one's hand from the completed masterpiece, the pleasure is not so keen.
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Seneca (Letters From A Stoic: Epistulae Morales AD Lucilium (Illustrated. Newly revised text. Includes Image Gallery + Audio): All Three Volumes)
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it makes no difference how important the provocation may be, but into what kind of soul it penetrates. Similarly with fire; it does not matter how great is the flame, but what it falls upon.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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So long, in fact, as you remain in ignorance of what to aim at and what to avoid, what is essential and what is superfluous, what is upright or honorable conduct and what is not, it will not be travelling but drifting. All this hurrying from place to place won’t bring you any relief, for you’re travelling in the company of your own emotions, followed by your troubles all the way.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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But it is one thing to remember, another to know. Remembering is merely safeguarding something entrusted to the memory; knowing, however, means making everything your own; it means not depending upon the copy and not all the time glancing back at the master.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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I wish Lucilius you had been so happy as to have taken this resolution long ago I wish we had not deferred to think of an happy life till now we are come within light of death But let us delay no longer
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself." That was indeed a great benefit; such a person can never be alone. You may be sure that such a man is a friend to all mankind.
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Marcus Aurelius (Stoic Six Pack - Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Golden Sayings, Fragments and Discourses of Epictetus, Letters From A Stoic and The Enchiridion (Illustrated))
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Count your years and you'll be ashamed to be wanting and working for exactly the same things as you wanted when you were a boy. Of this one thing make sure against your dying day - that your faults die before you do. Have done with those unsettled pleasures, which cost one dear - they do one harm after they're past and gone, not merely when they're in prospect. Even when they're over, pleasures of a depraved nature are apt to carry feelings of dissatisfaction, in the same way as a criminal's anxiety doesn't end with the commission of the crime, even if it's undetected at the time. Such pleasures are insubstantial and unreliable; even if they don't do one any harm, they're fleeting in character. Look around for some enduring good instead. And nothing answers this description except what the spirit discovers for itself within itself. A good character is the only guarantee of everlasting, carefree happiness. Even if some obstacle to this comes on the scene, its appearance is only to be compared to that of clouds which drift in front of the sun without ever defeating its light.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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The most important contribution to peace of mind is never to do wrong. Those who lack self-control lead disturbed and tumultuous lives; their crimes are balanced by their fears, and they are never at ease.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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what is sweeter than to be so valued by one's wife that one becomes more valuable to oneself for this reason? Hence my dear Paulina is able to make me responsible, not only for her fears, but also for my own.
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Seneca (Letters From A Stoic: Epistulae Morales AD Lucilium (Illustrated. Newly revised text. Includes Image Gallery + Audio): All Three Volumes)
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I never spend a day in idleness; I appropriate even a part of the night for study. I do not allow time for sleep but yield to it when I must, and when my eyes are wearied with waking and ready to fall shut, I keep them at their task. 2. 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.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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[Philosophers] have come to envy the philologist and the mathematician, and they have taken over all the inessential elements in those studiesβ€”with the result that they know more about devoting care and attention to their speech than about devoting such attention to their lives.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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philosophy teaches us to act, not to speak; it exacts of every man that he should live according to his own standards, that his life should not be out of harmony with his words, and that, further, his inner life should be of one hue and not out of harmony with all his activities.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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we deceive ourselves in thinking that death only follows life whereas it both goes before and will follow after it for where is the difference in not beginning or ceasing to exist the effect of both is not to be
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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But consider whether you may not get more help from the customary method[1] than from that which is now commonly called a "breviary," though in the good old days, when real Latin was spoken, it was called a "summary."[2]
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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What is death? Either a transition or an end. I am not afraid of coming to an end, this being the same as never having begun, nor of transition, for I shall never be in confinement quite so cramped anywhere else as I am here.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Let us cherish and love old age; for it is full of pleasure if one knows how to use it. Fruits are most welcome when almost over; youth is most charming at its close; the last drink delights the toper, the glass which souses him and puts the finishing touch on his drunkenness. Each pleasure reserves to the end the greatest delights which it contains. Life is most delightful when it is on the downward slope, but has not yet reached the abrupt decline.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Treat your inferiors in the way in which you would like to be treated by your own superiors. And whenever it strikes you how much power you have over your slave, let it also strike you that your own master has just as much power over you.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Once you have rid yourself of the affliction there, though, every change of scene will become a pleasure. You may be banished to the ends of the earth, and yet in whatever outlandish corner of the world you may find yourself stationed, you will find that place, whatever it may be like, a hospitable home. Where you arrive does not matter so much as what sort of person you are when you arrive there.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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The past is ours, and there is nothing more secure for us than that which has been. We are ungrateful for past gains, because we hope for the future, as if the future – if so be that any future is ours – will not be quickly blended with the past.
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Seneca (Letters From A Stoic: Epistulae Morales AD Lucilium (Illustrated. Newly revised text. Includes Image Gallery + Audio): All Three Volumes)
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Furthermore, if you will pay close heed to the problem, you will find that the 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.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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What really ruins our characters is the fact that none of us looks back over his life. We think about what we are going to do, and only rarely of that, and fail to think about what we have done, yet any plans for the future are dependent on the past.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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To want to know more than is sufficient is a form of intemperance. Apart from which this kind of obsession with the liberal arts turns people into pedantic, irritating, tactless, self-satisfied bores, not learning what they need simply because they spend their time learning things they will never need. The scholar Didymus wrote four thousand works: I should feel sorry him if he had merely read so many useless works.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Now all men suffer from ignorance of the truth; deceived by common report, they make for these ends as if they were good, and then, after having won their wish, and suffered much, they find them evil, or empty, or less important than they had expected.
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Seneca (Letters From A Stoic: Epistulae Morales AD Lucilium (Illustrated. Newly revised text. Includes Image Gallery + Audio): All Three Volumes)
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Our Stoic philosophers, as you know, maintain that there are two elements in the universe from which all things are derived, namely cause and matter. Matter lies inert and inactive, a substance with limited potential, but destined to remain idle if no one sets it in motion; and it is cause (this meaning the same as reason) which turns matter to whatever end it wishes and fashions it into a variety of different products.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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The day has already begun to lessen. It has shrunk considerably, but yet will still allow a goodly space of time if one rises, so to speak, with the day itself. We are more industrious, and we are better men if we anticipate the day and welcome the dawn;
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic (and Biography))
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It is the superfluous things for which men sweat, - the superfluous things that wear our togas threadbare, that force us to grow old in camp, that dash us upon foreign shores. That which is enough is ready to our hands. He who has made a fair compact with poverty is rich.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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A man who examines the saddle and bridle and not the animal itself when he is out to buy a horse is a fool; similarly, only an absolute fool values a man according to his clothes, or according to his social position, which after all is only something that we wear like clothing.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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What is my object in making a friend? To have someone to be able to die for, someone I may follow into exile, someone for whose life I may put myself up as security and pay the price as well. The thing you describe is not friendship but a business deal, looking to the likely consequences, with advantage as its goal.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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But nothing will help quite so much as just keeping quiet, talking with other people as little as possible, with yourself as much as possible. For conversation has a kind of charm about it, an insinuating and insidious something that elicits secrets from us just like love or liquor. Nobody will keep the things he hears to himself, and nobody will repeat just what he hears and no more. Neither will anyone who has failed to keep a story to himself keep the name of his informant to himself. Every person without exception has someone to whom he confides everything that is confided to himself. Even supposing he puts some guard in his garrulous tongue and is content with a single pair of ears, he will still be the creator of a host of later listeners – such is the way in which what was but a little while before a secret becomes common rumor.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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judge a man after they have made him their friend, instead of making him their friend after they have judged him. 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.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic (and Biography))
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The soul is our king. If it be safe, the other functions remain on duty and serve with obedience; but the slightest lack of equilibrium in the soul causes them to waver along with it. And when the soul has yielded to pleasure, its functions and actions grow weak, and any undertaking comes from a nerveless and unsteady source.
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Seneca (Letters From A Stoic: Epistulae Morales AD Lucilium (Illustrated. Newly revised text. Includes Image Gallery + Audio): All Three Volumes)
β€œ
In truth, Serenus, I have for a long time been silently asking myself to what I should liken such a condition of mind, and I can find nothing that so closely approaches it as the state of those who, after being released from a long and serious illness, are sometimes touched with fits of fever and slight disorders, and, freed from the last traces of them, are nevertheless disquieted with mistrust, and, though now quite well, stretch out their wrist to a physician and complain unjustly of any trace of heat in their body. It is not, Serenus, that these are not quite well in body, but that they are not quite used to being well; just as even a tranquil sea will show some ripple, particularly when it has just subsided after a storm. What you need, therefore, is not any of those harsher measures which we have already left behind, the necessity of opposing yourself at this point, of being angry with yourself at that, of sternly urging yourself on at another, but that which comes last -confidence in yourself and the belief that you are on the right path, and have not been led astray by the many cross- tracks of those who are roaming in every direction, some of whom are wandering very near the path itself. But what you desire is something great and supreme and very near to being a god - to be unshaken.
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Seneca (The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters)
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Be careful, however, lest this reading of many authors and books of every sort may tend to make you discursive and unsteady. You must linger among a limited number of master thinkers, and digest their works, if you would derive ideas which shall win firm hold in your mind. Everywhere means nowhere. When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends. And the same thing must hold true of men who seek intimate acquaintance with no single author, but visit them all in a hasty and hurried manner.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic (and Biography))
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Beasts avoid the dangers which they see, and when they have escaped them are free from care; but we men torment ourselves over that which is to come as well as over that which is past. Many of our blessings bring bane to us; for memory recalls the tortures of fear, while foresight anticipates them. The present alone can make no man wretched.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic (and Biography))
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But both courses are to be avoided; you should not copy the bad simply because they are many, nor should you hate the many because they are unlike you. Withdraw into yourself, as far as you can. Associate with those who will make a better man of you. Welcome those whom you yourself can improve. The process is mutual; for men learn while they teach.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Cling, therefore, to this sound and wholesome plan of life; indulge the body just so far as suffices for good health. ... Your food should appease your hunger, your drink quench your thirst, your clothing keep out the cold, your house be a protection against inclement weather. It makes no difference whether it is built of turf or variegated marble imported from another country: what you have to understand is that thatch makes a person just as good a roof as gold.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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If he lose a hand through disease or war, or if some accident puts out one or both of his eyes, he will be satisfied with what is left, taking as much pleasure in his impaired and maimed body as he took when it was sound. But while he does not pine for these parts if they are missing, he prefers not to lose them. 5. In this sense the wise man is self-sufficient, that he can do without friends, not that he desires to do without them. When I say "can," I mean this: he endures the loss of a friend with equanimity.
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Seneca (Moral Letters to Lucilius - Letters from a Stoic)
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Continue to act thus, my dear Lucilius – set yourself free for your own sake; gather and save your time, which till lately has been forced from you, or filched away, or has merely slipped from your hands. Make yourself believe the truth of my words, – that certain moments are torn from us, that some are gently removed, and that others glide beyond our reach. The most disgraceful kind of loss, however, is that due to carelessness. Furthermore, if you will pay close heed to the problem, you will find that the 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. What man can you show me who places any value on his time, who reckons the worth of each day, who understands that he is dying daily? For we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed. Whatever years be behind us are in death's hands.
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Seneca (Letters From A Stoic: Epistulae Morales AD Lucilium (Illustrated. Newly revised text. Includes Image Gallery + Audio): All Three Volumes)
β€œ
And so, if only we are willing to withdraw our necks from the yoke, we can keep as stout a heart against such terrors as these. But first and foremost, we must reject pleasures; they render us weak and womanish; they make great demands upon us, and, moreover, cause us to make great demands upon Fortune. Second, we must spurn wealth: wealth is the diploma of slavery. Abandon gold and silver, and whatever else is a burden upon our richly-furnished homes; liberty cannot be gained for nothing. If you set a high value on liberty, you must set a low value on everything else.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic (and Biography))
β€œ
To expel hunger and thirst there is no necessity of sitting in a palace and submitting to the supercilious brow and contumelious favour of the rich and great there is no necessity of sailing upon the deep or of following the camp What nature wants is every where to be found and attainable without much difficulty whereas require the sweat of the brow for these we are obliged to dress anew j compelled to grow old in the field and driven to foreign mores A sufficiency is always at hand
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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You may say; "What then? If yonder man, rich by base means, and yonder man, lord of many but slave of more, shall call themselves happy, will their own opinion make them happy?" It matters not what one says, but what one feels; also, not how one feels on one particular day, but how one feels at all times. There is no reason, however, why you should fear that this great privilege will fall into unworthy hands; only the wise man is pleased with his own. Folly is ever troubled with weariness of itself.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
β€œ
Philosophy is not an occupation of a popular nature, nor is it pursued for the sake of self-advertisement. Its concern is not with words, but with facts. It is not carried on with the object of passing the day in an entertaining sort of way and taking the boredom out of leisure. It moulds and builds the personality, orders one’s life, regulates one’s conduct, shows one what one should do and what one should leave undone, sits at the helm and keeps one on the correct course as one is tossed about in perilous seas. Without it no one can lead a life free of fear or worry. Every hour of the day countless situations arise that call for advice, and for that advice we have to look to philosophy.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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2. Socrates made the same remark to one who complained; he said: "Why do you wonder that globe-trotting does not help you, seeing that you always take yourself with you? The reason which set you wandering is ever at your heels." What pleasure is there in seeing new lands? Or in surveying cities and spots of interest? All your bustle is useless. Do you ask why such flight does not help you? It is because you flee along with yourself. You must lay aside the burdens of the mind; until you do this, no place will satisfy you. 3.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
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Whenever men have been thrust forward by fortune, whenever they have become part and parcel of another's influence, they have found abundant favour, their houses have been thronged, only so long as they themselves have kept their position; when they themselves have left it, they have slipped at once from the memory of men. But in the case of innate ability, the respect in which it is held increases, and not only does honour accrue to the man himself, but whatever has attached itself to his memory is passed on from one to another.
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Seneca (Letters From A Stoic: Epistulae Morales AD Lucilium (Illustrated. Newly revised text. Includes Image Gallery + Audio): All Three Volumes)
β€œ
And do you know why we have not the power to attain this Stoic ideal? It is because we refuse to believe in our power. Nay, of a surety, there is something else which plays a part: it is because we are in love with our vices; we uphold them and prefer to make excuses for them rather than shake them off. We mortals have been endowed with sufficient strength by nature, if only we use this strength, if only we concentrate our powers and rouse them all to help us or at least not to hinder us. The reason is unwillingness, the excuse, inability.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
β€œ
My thought for today is something which I found in Epicurus (yes, I actually make a practice of going over to the enemy’s camp – by way of reconnaissance, not as a deserter!). β€˜A cheerful poverty,’ he says, β€˜is an honourable state.’ But if it is cheerful it is not poverty at all. It is not the man who has too little who is poor, but the one who hankers after more. What difference does it make how much there is laid away in a man’s safe or in his barns, how many head of stock he grazes or how much capital he puts out at interest, if he is always after what is another’s and only counts what he has yet to get, never what he has already. You ask what is the proper limit to a person’s wealth? First, having what is essential, and second, having what is enough.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
β€œ
they Whatever can make life truly happy is absolutely good in its own right because it cannot be warped into evil From whence then comes error In that while all men wish for a happy life they mistake the means for the thing itself and while they fancy themselves in pursuit of it they are flying from it for when the sum of happiness consists in solid tranquillity and an unembarrassed confidence therein they are ever collecting causes of disquiet and not only carry burthens but drag them painfully along through the rugged and deceitful path of life so that they still withdraw themselves from the good effect proposed the more pains they take the more business they have upon their hands instead of advancing they are retrograde and as it happens in a labyrinth their very speed puzzles and confounds them
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
β€œ
What is my object in making a friend? To have someone to be able to die for, someone I may follow into exile, someone for whose life I may put myself up as security and pay the price as well. The thing you describe is not friendship but a business deal, looking to the likely consequences, with advantage as its goal. There can be no doubt that the desire lovers have for each other is not so very different from friendship – you might say it was friendship gone mad. Well, then, does anyone ever fall in love with a view to a profit, or advancement, or celebrity? Actual love in itself, heedless of all other considerations, inflames people’s hearts with a passion for the beautiful object, not without the hope, too, that the affection will be mutual. How then can the nobler stimulus of friendship be associated with any ignoble desire?
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
β€œ
The difference here between the Epicurean and our own school is this: our wise man feels his troubles but overcomes them, while their wise man does not even feel them. We share with them the belief that the wise man is content with himself. Nevertheless, self-sufficient though he is, he still desires a friend, a neighbour, a companion. Notice how self-contented he is: on occasion such a man is content with a mere partial self – if he loses a hand as a result of war or disease, or has one of his eyes, or even both, put out in an accident, he will be satisfied with what remains of himself and be no less pleased with his body now that it is maimed and incomplete than he was when it was whole. But while he does not hanker after what he has lost, he does prefer not to lose them. And this is what we mean when we say the wise man is self-content; he is so in the sense that he is able to do without friends, not that he desires to do without them. When I speak of his being β€˜able’ to do this, what I am saying in fact amounts to this: he bears the loss of a friend with equanimity.
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Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)