Withdrawing from the world

In his 14th letter, “On the Reasons for Withdrawing from the World,” Seneca advises his reader to avoid discomfort, danger, and being an object of envy. As the title suggests, he recommends withdrawing, not engaging, to improve one’s peace of mind, and even to improve the lives of others. He makes a case for living in…

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,…