Daily Stoic | What is Wealth to a Stoic?

I’ve been pondering about how to go about blogging here. What should I type down? What things would I like to keep to myself, and share to the world? As a writer, my motivation for writing is when I am flooded by ideas brought about by the day. When I actually accomplished something or something interesting has gone by my way. But lately, because of routine, I could hardly put anything up.

But then it dawned on me. I have been reading Ryan Holiday’s Daily Stoic, so why not put my reflections on the passage of the day there? So that will be my ongoing theme for the year, my daily reflections on being a Stoic.

And today is about Money & Wealth.

“Let’s pass over to the really rich—how often the occasions they look just like the poor! When they travel abroad they must restrict their baggage, and when haste is necessary, they dismiss their entourage. And those who are in the army, how few of their possessions they get to keep . . .”

— SENECA, ON CONSOLATION TO HELVIA , 12. 1. b –2

The basic message of Seneca here is that in the grand scheme of things, money is nothing. But can we really claim that money is nothing? Money represents power, freedom & security. Without money, can we properly live our lives when we rely on the exchange of money for goods and services essential to our existence?

This was a passage that became hard for me to concentrate on. For the past months, I have been focusing on acquiring money, on establishing a state of living where I can easily earn money and live the life I want.

Can a Stoic be wealthy?

There is nothing in the philosophy that says that a Stoic cannot be happy, but when money becomes a source of worry or concern, then I guess it becomes a problem. When man become obsessed in acquiring money, or when the loss of money consumes man’s mind, that man can no longer live life free from the worries that money is not enough.

What I’ve thought about with regards to this is that: I should be wary about my journey towards acquiring money, that it does not consume me. Money is just another external thing that is in one way or another outside of our true influence of control. Losing money should not keep me awake at night, nor earning money.

Money comes and goes, and if my efforts allow me to earn money, then I should not allow it to be the center of my day. I should still live and enjoy what the world has to offer.

So can a Stoic be wealthy?

Yes. But in the circumstances that the Stoic losses his wealth, it should not prevent him from seeing reason and living by the natural order.

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