Seneca on misfortune’s bright side

Seneca’s “On Providence” attempts to address the question of why bad things happen to brave, virtuous people. While some aspects of the essay are problematic, he does make a strong case for turning to philosophy now to learn to withstand adversity when it inevitably comes. Seneca highlights the basic Stoic precept that external events are indifferent,…

Enduring Good

Seneca’s Candor Seneca’s Letter 27 to Lucilius grabbed my attention for several reasons. One, Seneca is disarmingly honest with his friend when he admits to Lucilius that he himself hasn’t rid himself of his faults. Seneca writes, “No, I’m not so shameless as to set about treating people when I’m sick myself. I’m talking to…

Talk Like a Philosopher

In his letter to Lucilius, “On the Proper Style for a Philosopher’s Discourse” (Letter XL), Seneca comments on Lucilius’s complaints to him about a lecture he heard recently. The speaker--a philosopher by the name of Serapio--“[was] wont to wrench up his words with a mighty rush,” not letting them “flow forth one by one, but…