By Lucius Annaeus Seneca; Robin Campbell
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Additional resources for Letters from a Stoic. Epistulae morales ad Lucilium
A number of our blessings do us harm, for memory brings back the agony of fear while foresight brings it on prematurely. No one confmes his unhappiness to the present. LETTER VI I SEE in myself, Lucilius, not just an improvement but a transformation, although I would not venture as yet to assure you, or even to hope, that there is nothing left in me needing to be changed. Naturally there are a lot of things about me requiring to be built up or fmed down or eliminated. Even this, the fact that it perceives the failmgs it was unaware of in itself before, is evidence of a change for the better in one's character.
The man who looks for the morrow without worrying over it knows a peaceful independence and a happiness beyond, all others. Whoever has said 'I have lived' receives a windfall every day he gets up in the moming. But I must close this letter now. ' you'll be saying. ' Don't worry, it's bringing you something. Why did I call it 'something', though? It's a great deal. ' Of course not, when on every SIde there are plenty of short and easy roads to freedom there for the taking. Let us thank God that no one can be held a prisoner in life - the very constrain~ can be trampled under foot.
And the state ·o f mind that looks on all activity as tiresome is not true repose, but a spineless inertia. This prompts me to memorize something which I came across in Pomponius. ' A balanced combination of the two attitudes is what we want; the active man should be able to take things easily, while the man who is inclined towards repose should be capable of action. Ask nature: she will tell you that she made both day and night. LETTER V I VIEW with pleaSure and approval the way you keep on at your studies and sacrifice everything to your single-minded efforts to make yourself every day a better man.