I am working my way through the Moral Letters to Lucilius (AKA Letters from a Stoic) I highly recommend you check it out too. I thought I would summarize what I’ve read and while I’m at it I’ll share my summaries and reflections with you.
In my summaries I may quote directly or paraphrase, so far I’ve very much enjoyed the readings. I am trying to read the book over a year long period.
Moral Letters to Lucilius
Letter 1: On Saving Time
Summary: Time is a precious commodity that is often stolen from us, but we also tend to let it slip away. We could fit a lot more life into our lifetime by being mindful of this and not letting it slip by. We are dying each day, death already owns all of our past, take advantage of what is left. We allow cheap things, TV, etc. to steal our precious time away. If you are going to waste time, at least be able to account for it, know how and why it was wasted. Don’t to try to save time at the end of life “it is too late to spare when you’ve reached the dregs of the cask”.
Reflection: This is a good reason to implement daily mindfulness and to live an active life. An active life spent doing (I include reading in this category if done mindfully but not most passive forms of entertainment) hobbies, thoughtful conversation, charity etc. This active life is the opposite of a passive one in which one lets society dictate what they think and do… T.V. addiction, watching sports, drinking for no purpose, over socializing, over sleeping.
Image: By I, Calidius, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2456052
The next episode will be releasing Sunday May 21. Meanwhile, I have found that I can put all of the information that I want directly into the MP3 show notes when posting so I am going to discontinue using the blog for show notes.
For Sunday May 7th’s episode we will focus on the Stoic virtue of courage. I recommend you also read about Mucius Scaevola and the death of Cato the Younger to better understand this topic.
Reading 1: The Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius Chapter 7 vs. 7
Reading 2: Discourses by Epictetus Ch 1:
Reading 3: Letter 67
In this episode we explore a technique used by the stoics to remain calm in troubling times. Its called Premeditatio Malorum or, the pre-mediation of bad things to come. Also be sure to check out the very well written How to Be a Stoic Page and the Stoic Mettle Podcast !
The Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius Chapter 2 Vs 1.
The Enchridion by Epictetus Chapter 3
Moral Letters to Lucilius by Seneca: #63 On Grief for Lost Friends
In this episode we’ll explore the Stoic Virtue of Justice. How just are we when dealing with those around us? Who have we been rude to or didn’t treat fairly recently? Just because we can get away with it does not mean its virtuous!
Reading 1: Epictetus The Enchiridion #43
Reading 2: The Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius Chapter 5 vs. 31
Reading 3: Seneca Letter’s to Lucilius # 47: On Master and Slave
There are things that you can control and there are things that you cannot. Duh, right? Seems simple, but how much time do you spend worrying about things that you can’t control? In this episode we explore this part of Stoic Philosophy; the idea that if it is not within your power then it shouldn’t bother you. If something is outside your power but you still think it worth perusing, then ensure that you happiness rests on your attempt to pursue the thing and not in attaining it.
Maybe we would be happier if we lived according to nature. Like the morel mushroom in the image above. Its wants are few, and therefor easily met. If you curb your desires to only include the things directly in your power, you will increase your happiness! What is in your power? Your desires, your thoughts, your attitudes. Everything else is only slightly in your power or completely out of your control. If you refuse to be content until cows start laying eggs, you will never be content!
I recommend reading W. Irvine’s Guide to the Good life for further insight!
Listen to “Episode 3: Control” on Spreaker.
The main Stoic virtues are wisdom, justice, temperance and courage. Today’s episode will focus on wisdom. From my understanding, Stoic wisdom is knowing how to apply philosophy to daily life rather than just thinking about it. I used to hate philosophy. In a college course on environmental ethics, I remember the teacher trying to get us to debate by asking “Does a tree have value because we assign it value or because it has value within itself”. Ok fine, we can argue about that, but are we any better off once we are done arguing (and most philosophers are never done arguing)? Stoicism is a philosophy that shows us how to be better people and it is also a philosophy of action, don’t just think about it, be it!
Listen to “Episode 2: Stoic Wisdom” on Spreaker.
Marcus Aurelius Meditations Chapter 10 v. 2
Epictetus’s Discourses #65
Seneca, Letters to Lucilius #84 ON Gathering Ideas
This is a podcast about the ancient and practical philosophy of Stoicism. I am by no means an expert on the philosophy but have been studying it for a while and I think that its practical wisdom is something that many people will find valuable. I am doing this podcast for two reasons.
Primarily, I am doing it to further my understanding of the topic. I am also doing it as an introduction for others who might be interested in finding a way to approach life that promotes contentment, satisfaction, moral living and the helping of others.
This blog may not be updated too often, as I am focusing on the podcast rather than the blog.
I hope that this podcast is not your only investigation into the philosophy, there are many great modern and ancient stoics out there for you to check out. You may find my Links page useful for getting started on your journey.
You can check out the show on Itunes, Stitcher or Youtube!
Thank you for checking out my blog and podcast. Episode 1 was released April 2nd. You can listen here. In this first episode we look at how Stoicism deals with the distractions of daily living. We will discuss three readings. Feel free to email me at email@example.com
- Reading 44 from the Enchiridion by Epictetus *
- Chapter 2 paragraph 5 from Meditations by Marcus Aurileus *
- Chapter 1 On Saving time in Moral Letters by Seneca
*This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org