When we talk about personal development and improvement, we certainly need to get acquainted with Seneca and his work. He is one of the most prominent Roman thinkers, a representative of late Stoicism. As the author of many philosophical works, he is a wonderful example for those who you must read for sure.
To this day, Seneca’s thoughts and reflections blur the boundaries of time and age, remain relevant, and are sought after by a broad audience. And the topics that they cover – the participation of man himself in the search for the path to freedom and perfection of the individual – are relevant and significant for each of us who has undertaken the most important task – to work and improve themselves.
In this article, we will talk about the most valuable and famous work of Seneca – “Moral Letters to Lucilius”.
It contains Seneca’s philosophical ideas and reflections, based on his life, and the political and personal compromises that he experienced during it. The work emphasizes the basic values of our existence – virtue, personal development, self-esteem, and affirmation of individuality. These are all significant aspects that we must strive for every day, work on every day and develop every minute. Because no matter how many years go by, no matter how much history changes, no matter how much the way of life changes, people remain largely the same. Some questions always worry our minds, there are things that we have always strived for, and there are situations that will always make us think about what new step we need to take. As we hold “Moral Letters to Lucilius” in our hands, we will discover and understand just that, and very clearly.
The story behind the book is very interesting and deep. Seneca wrote it at the end of his life, during his retirement.
He wrote it at that moment in his life when wisdom had reached him completely. The work consists of 124 letters, which cover his reflections on many important areas – daily life, virtues, philosophical principles, wisdom, and all this through the prism of personal development. The letters were addressed to his friend Lucilius. In them, Seneca emphasizes the need to find our own and individual value system which will lead us on the path to self-improvement, and the conscious thought of philosophy is the center of his every judgment. Or as Seneca said “Philosophy teaches us to act, not speak; it exacts of every man that he should live according to his standards, that his life should be in harmony with his words, and that his inner life should be in harmony with his acts. Find a norm to live by and regulate your life by it.”
Each letter is an extremely personal and profound answer to a life situation or questions, that we ask ourselves all the time. In this work, among all these letters, there are answers to every question in our lives that excites us.
What is imprinted after each letter is Seneca’s remarkable idea of concluding it with a specific message – a thought or advice that will remain useful and memorable by his friend Lucilius. And despite Seneca’s specifically addressing his message to Lucilius, he had the clear awareness and purpose that this work should be preserved and passed down over the years from generation to generation. This is also implied by the easy and simple way in which he expressed his thoughts in all the letters so that they could be easily accessible and read to a wide audience.
So, having acquired this unique and classic work of Seneca – “Moral Letters to Lucilius”, we will learn how to improve ourselves, how to forget about the word “fear”, how to sincerely believe in us and find that a particle hidden deep within us, which is our guiding star on the path to personal development – our aspiration and faith. And very soon expect the continuation of a series of blog articles in which we will present the most important letters of Seneca from the work, which will certainly help you take the new step forward.