5 Lessons From Seneca’s Letter 8 to Lucilius

Have you ever read the letters of Seneca to Lucilius?

It is a must read for everyone.

The best thing is that they are available for free on Wikisource.

I have been reading them with a friend of mine over the last few weeks, one after one. And although I will write about all of them in a massive post later on,  Letter 8 is saturated with so much knowledge, that it surely deserves its own post.

So here it is, my 5 take aways from Letter 8 of Seneca to Lucilius.

(I just add quotes without any comment. The master doesn’t need any words of mine)


“[…]my object in shutting myself up and locking the door is to be able to help a greater number. I never spend a day in idleness; I appropriate even a part of the night for study. I do not allow time for sleep but yield to it when I must, and when my eyes are wearied with waking and ready to fall shut, I keep them at their task.”


“I have withdrawn not only from men, but from affairs, especially from my own affairs; I am working for later generations, writing down some ideas that may be of assistance to them.”


“Avoid whatever pleases the throng: avoid the gifts of Chance!”


“[…]understand that a man is sheltered just as well by a thatch as by a roof of gold. Despise everything that useless toil creates as an ornament and an object of beauty. And reflect that nothing except the soul is worthy of wonder; for to the soul, if it be great, naught is great.”


“Moreover, we cannot even stand up against prosperity when she begins to drive us to leeward; nor can we go down, either, ‘with the ship at least on her course,’ or once for all; Fortune does not capsize us, – she plunges our bows under and dashes us on the rocks.”

Maybe you will find those interesting