Putting pain to good use

Is it necessary to endure pain to achieve good things in life? Ancient Roman Stoic philosopher Musonius Rufus seems to think so, and in fact wonders why the same people who will suffer for the sake of an illicit affair or to gain fame--things that will provide little of value--will not suffer as readily for…

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,…