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The Roman Stoics #1: SENECA

The philosophy of stoicism flourished in Greece and then in Rome. Its ideals of inner solitude, reason and nature, and acceptance of fate won many brilliant adherents and made it the dominate philosophy across the whole of the ancient world. Initially taken to carry the torch of Socrates on what is the virtuous and happy life, it later stood as the crowning philosophy aside Christianity.

The ex-slave Epictetus said "man is troubled not by events but by the meaning he gives them." The politician-philosopher Seneca said "life without the courage for death is slavery." The stoicism of Marcus Aurelius, the emperor-philosopher, provided a rallying point for empire builders into the modern age.

But what was stoicism?

In this series, we will read the best writings of Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius.

Today: SENECA, on the happy life [link below]

"Virtue is that perfect good, which is the complement of a happy life; the only immortal thing that belongs to mortality; it is the knowledge both of others and itself; it is an invincible greatness of mind, not to be elevated nor dejected with good or ill fortune. It is sociable and gentle, free, steady, and fearless; content within itself; full of inexhaustible delights; and it is valued for itself."

Read as much as you'd like from the Seneca Chapter:THE WISDOM OF THE STOICS:

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  • Rey L.

    Great meet-up! I wish my voice would have cooperated more.

    January 18, 2013

  • Brian


    January 17, 2013

  • Brian

    "There can be no happiness without constancy and prudence." My initial observation: Seneca could be imagined as journaling the thoughts of a Socrates, but without any metaphysics of "The Forms". The ethics and cheerfulness of Seneca wind together beautifully. I'm seeing this as a nice complement to the writings of Plato.

    January 12, 2013

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