Book Notes: "Letters from a Stoic" by Seneca

Letters from a StoicLetters from a Stoic by Seneca

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Letters is regarded as one of the three key Stoic works, along with Marcus Aurelius' Meditations and Epictetus' Discourses. My initial thoughts were that Seneca's letters provided gems of genius amid banal everyday topics. Indeed, one critic compared Seneca's style with a boar taking a whiz (provided in the detailed notes to the letters). But the moments of genius continue to resonate as if Seneca showed me, empirically, a primal instinct. There is so much of the source of contemporary social norms in this work. I am often surprised how modern complaints were "old hat" even in the time of the classics. For example, Seneca despises those who follow the crowd and let the majority following determine right and wrong. Further, he complains about the modern conveniences and how people suffer from what we might today term "affluenza". Maybe this does not bode well for the present state of affairs. I have learnt a great deal from this book, as I did with Meditations, and I am eager to delve into Discourses.

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