The shadow of the Roman politician Seneca looms large in Stoic philosophy. His work is among the most well-preserved and quoted Stoic texts throughout history, and countless generations have been influenced by his insights into the human condition.
Perhaps this is best seen in The Letters to Lucilius, where Seneca discusses universal themes with his friend. While the letters contain timeless wisdom, Seneca’s ideas are spread across hundreds of pages, and distilling them down could seem like an intimidating task to some.
Not for David Fideler.
In Breakfast With Seneca: A Stoic Guide To The Art Of Living, Fideler has provided a wonderful overview of Seneca’s ideas, and here are my ten biggest takeaways from the book.
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We all desire something. More money, more security, more love, more friendship. We all imitate each other. Ideas, perspectives, thoughts, processes. This is mimesis, the fuel that powers a system of desire that’s been around since the earliest days of mankind.
Author Luke Burgis is fascinated with mimesis and he breaks down this universal concept in Wanting: The Power Of Mimetic Desire In Everyday Life. In the book, Burgis explains how to identify mimetic desire, when it’s negative and positive and how to develop tactics for promoting healthy desires.
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What do we mean by acceptance? Is it the avoidance of conflict? The understanding that some events are simply beyond our control? Is it the resignation that certain things won’t change? These kinds of questions are asked everyday all over the world and every culture has their own take on what acceptance means.
In Japan, ukeireru is a type of acceptance that the Japanese embrace and Scott Haas is interested in peering behind the curtain to see what exactly it means. In Why Be Happy?: The Japanese Way of Acceptance, Haas explores the concept of ukeireru, what it truly means to accept something and how the power of acceptance can help to build a happier and healthier life.
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The lines between philosophy and psychology are always blurring, with many psychological practices having their origins in ancient philosophical work. Reconciling both disciplines is an ongoing process and Constantine Sandis has devoted his life to connecting these two worlds together.
Academic and author, Sandis has published a wide range of books and in this interview he talks about how philosophy helped him cope with cancer, the influence of Nietzsche, Wittgenstein and more.
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