“A blazing fire makes flame and brightness out of everything that is thrown into it.”

– Marcus Aurelius

“Winter brings the cold and we must shiver; summer brings back the heat and we have to swelter. Bad weather tries the health and we have to be ill. Somewhere or other we are going to have encounters with wild beasts, and with [people], too, – more dangerous than all these beasts. Floods will rob us of one thing, fire of another. These are conditions of our existence which we cannot change. What we can do is adopt a noble spirit, such a spirit as befits a good [person], so that we may bear up bravely under all that fortune sends us and bring our wills into tune with nature’s; reversals, after all, are the means by which nature regulates this visible realm of hers; clear skies follow cloudy; after the calm comes the storm; the winds take turns to blow; day succeeds night; while part of the heavens is in the ascendant, another is sinking. It is by means of opposites that eternity endures.”

– Seneca, Letters from a Stoic

“This is a reason for ensuring that nothing ever takes us by surprise. Rehearse them in your mind: exile, torture, war, shipwreck. Misfortune may snatch you away from your country, or your country away from you, may banish you into some wilderness – these very surroundings in which the masses suffocate may become a wilderness. All the terms of our human lot should be before our eyes; we should be anticipating not merely all that commonly happens but all that is conceivably capable of happening, if we do not want to be overwhelmed and struck numb by rare events as if they were unprecedented ones; fortune needs envisaging in a thoroughly comprehensive way.”

“I’ve taken sufficient precautions, more than sufficient precautions, to ensure that I’m not taken in by deceptive phenomena. At this you’ll protest: ‘Can you really say ” the day that follows never proves me wrong?” Surely anything that happens which one didn’t know in advance was going to happen proves one wrong?’

Well, I don’t know what’s going to happen; but I do know what’s capable of happening – and none of this will give rise to any protest on my part. I’m ready for everything. If I’m let off in any way, I’m pleased. The day in question proves me wrong in a sense if it treats me leniently, but even so not really wrong, for just as I know that anything is capable of happening so also do I know that it’s not bound to happen. So I look for the best and am prepared for the opposite.“

– Seneca