Letters From Seneca to Lucilius — a reading diary

I have always wanted to read these letters and I have actually found them more than a year ago but never got to finish reading it. So maybe an online public reading diary might be able to keep me accountable.

These letters are available on Wikisource or if you would prefer to read about some famous people’s notes on these, the free PDFs on Tim Ferriss’ blog are amazing.

I got this printed out and as I was starting to read it, I realised that I needed two different highlighters, because some words are so cryptic that I have yet to decipher or comprehend the meaning behind it, these are my ‘To Ponder’s and also the golden words are ‘To Always Heed’s.

Of course, these are just based on myself and how well I relate myself to these words. You should read the original texts yourself and form your own experiences around these.

I would appreciate it if anyone could explain some of the quotes that I do not understand and also share with me what do you think about this.

May we all be better human beings.

Letter 1: On Saving Time


To always heed:

Furthermore, if you will pay close heed to the problem, you will find that 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.

Lay hold of today’s task, and you will not need to depend so much upon tomorrow’s.

While we are postponing, life speeds by.

Nothing, Lucilius, is ours, except time.

And yet 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.

To ponder:

The most disgraceful kind of loss, however, is that due to carelessness.

…who understands that he is dying daily?

…the major portion of death has already passed.

Letter 2: On Discursiveness in Reading


To always heed:

…for such restlessness is the sign of a disordered spirit.

Food does no good and is not assimilated into the body if it leaves the stomach as soon as it is eaten;

Each day acquire something that will fortify you against poverty, against death, indeed against other misfortunes…

Contented poverty is an honourable estate.

…but the man who craves more, that is poor.

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

To ponder:

When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends.

And 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.

Kwan Wei Yen·
32 min
60 cards

Read “Letters From Seneca to Lucilius — a reading diary” on a larger screen, or in the Medium app!