Self-sufficient & Unblest

The Stoic also can carry his goods unimpaired through cities that have been burned to ashes; for he is self-sufficient. Such are the bounds which he sets to his own happiness.

“Whoever does not regard what he has as most ample wealth, is unhappy, though he be master of the whole world.” “A man may rule the world and still be unhappy, if he does not feel that he is supremely happy.”

Unblest is he who thinks himself unblest. What does your condition matter, if it is bad in your own eyes?

Letter 9 : On Philosophy and Friendship

When one is busy and absorbed in one’s work, the very absorption affords great delight; but when one has withdrawn one’s hand from the completed masterpiece, the pleasure is not so keen. Henceforth it is the fruits of his art that he enjoys; it was the art itself that he enjoyed while he was painting.

It matters not what one says, but what one feels; also, not how one feels on one particular day, but how one feels at all times. There is no reason, however, why you should fear that this great privilege will fall into unworthy hands; only the wise man is pleased with his own. Folly is ever troubled with weariness of itself.

 

The wise man is in want of nothing, and yet needs many things. “On the other hand,” he says, “nothing is needed by the fool, for he does not understand how to use anything, but he is in want of everything.” The wise man needs hands, eyes, and many things that are necessary for his daily use; but he is in want of nothing. For want implies a necessity, and nothing is necessary to the wise man.

Therefore, although he is self-sufficient, yet he has need of friends. He craves as many friends as possible, not, however, that he may live happily; for he will live happily even without friends. The Supreme Good calls for no practical aids from outside; it is developed at home, and arises entirely within itself. If the good seeks any portion of itself from without, it begins to be subject to the play of Fortune.

 

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Chance

“What Chance has made yours, is not really yours. The good that could be given, can be removed.”

If you would enjoy real freedom, you must be slave to Philosophy.

Letter 8 : On the Philosopher’s Seclusion

 

Avoid whatever pleases the throng: avoid the gifts of Chance! Halt before every good which Chance brings to you, in a spirit of doubt and fear; for it is the dumb animals and fish that are deceived by tempting hopes. Do you call these things the ‘gifts’ of Fortune? They are snares. And any man among you who wishes to live a life of safety will avoid, to the utmost of his power, these limed twigs of her favour, by which we mortals, most wretched in this respect also, are deceived; for we think that we hold them in our grasp, but they hold us in theirs.

 

Hold fast, then, to this sound and wholesome rule of life – that you indulge the body only so far as is needful for good health, and reflect that nothing except the soul is worthy of wonder; for to the soul, if it be great, naught is great.

 

“If you would enjoy real freedom, you must be the slave of Philosophy.” The man who submits and surrenders himself to her is not kept waiting; he is emancipated on the spot. For the very service of Philosophy is freedom.

 

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