Moral letters to Lucilius - Letters from a stoic, Volume 1


How much do I want to read more? 7/10

I already started reading another version of this (Letters from a stoic).
It's not as good as other stoic's books, or as Marcus Aurelius Meditation. But still, it's the same kind of wisdom and practical advice we can take for our own good.


Letter I. On Saving Time

the largest portion of our life passes while we are doing ill, a goodly share while we are doing nothing, and the whole while we are doing that which is not to the purpose.

What man can you show me who places any value on his time, who reckons the worth of each day, who understands that he is dying daily? For we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed. Whatever years be behind us are in death's hands.

Nothing, Lucilius, is ours, except time.
time is the one loan which even a grateful recipient cannot repay.

I do not regard a man as poor, if the little which remains is enough for him.
I advise you, however, to keep what is really yours; and you cannot begin too early.

Letter II. On Discursiveness In Reading

You must linger among a limited number of master thinkers, and digest their works.
Everywhere means nowhere.

a plant which is often moved can never grow strong.
in reading of many books is distraction.
since you cannot read all the books which you may possess, it is enough to possess only as many books as you can read.
after you have run over many thoughts, select one to be thoroughly digested that day.
This is my own custom; from the many things which I have read, I claim some one part for myself.

Epicurus:
"Contented poverty is an honourable estate." Indeed, if it be contented, it is not poverty at all. It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. What does it matter how much a man has laid up in his safe, or in his warehouse, how large are his flocks and how fat his dividends, if he covets his neighbour's property, and reckons, not his past gains, but his hopes of gains to come? Do you ask what is the proper limit to wealth? It is, first, to have what is necessary, and, second, to have what is enough. Farewell.

Letter III. On True and False Friendship

if you consider any man a friend whom you do not trust as you trust yourself, you are mightily mistaken and you do not sufficiently understand what true friendship means.

although you should live in such a way that you trust your own self;
you should share with a friend at least all your worries and reflections. Regard him as loyal, and you will make him loyal.

Some, for example, fearing to be deceived, have taught men to deceive; by their suspicions they have given their friend the right to do wrong. Why need I keep back any words in the presence of my friend? Why should I not regard myself as alone when in his company?

It is equally faulty to trust everyone and to trust no one.
"Some men shrink into dark corners, to such a degree that they see darkly by day."

Letter IV. On the Terrors of Death