Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c. 4 BC – AD 65) | Stoicism

Letter 1 I. On Saving Time Greetings from Seneca to his friend Lucilius. 1. 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

Letter 2 II. On Discursiveness in Reading 1. Judging by what you write me, and by what I hear, I am forming a good opinion regarding your future: You do not run hither and thither and distract yourself by changing your abode; for such restlessness is the sign of a disordered spirit. The primary indication, to my thinking, of a

Letter 3 III. On True and False Friendship 1. You have sent a letter to me through the hand of a “ friend ” of yours, as you call him. And in your very next sentence you warn me not to discuss with him all the matters that concern you, saying that even you yourself are not accustomed to do

Letter 4 IV. On the Terrors of Death 1. Keep on as you have begun, and make all possible haste, so that you may have longer enjoyment of an improved mind , one that is at peace with itself. Doubtless you will derive enjoyment during the time when you are improving your mind and setting it at peace with itself;

Letter 5 V. On the Philosopher’s Mean 1. I commend you and rejoice in the fact that you are persistent in your studies, and that, putting all else aside, you make it each day your endeavour to become a better man . I do not merely exhort you to keep at it; I actually beg you to do so. I

Letter 6 VI. On Sharing Knowledge 1. I feel, my dear Lucilius, that I am being not only reformed, but transformed. I do not yet, however, assure myself, or indulge the hope, that there are no elements left in me which need to be changed. Of course there are many that should be made more compact, or made thinner, or

Letter 7 VII. On Crowds 1. Do you ask me what you should regard as especially to be avoided ? I say, crowds ; for as yet you cannot trust yourself to them with safety. I shall admit my own weakness, at any rate; for I never bring back home the same character that I took abroad with me. Something

Letter 8 VIII. On the Philosopher’s Seclusion 1. “ Do you bid me ,” you say, “ shun the throng, and withdraw from men, and be content with my own conscience? Where are the counsels of your school, which order a man to die in the midst of active work? " As to the course which I seem to you

Letter 9 IX. On Philosophy and Friendship 1. You desire to know whether Epicurus is right when, in one of his letters, he rebukes those who hold that the wise man is self-sufficient and for that reason does not stand in need of friendships. This is the objection raised by Epicurus against Stilpo and those who believe that the Supreme

Letter 10 X. On Living to Oneself 1. Yes, I do not change my opinion: avoid the many, avoid the few, avoid even the individual . I know of no one with whom I should be willing to have you shared. And see what an opinion of you I have; for I dare to trust you with your own self