A striking thing about Seneca's letters is that Seneca constantly criticizes lengthy abstract philosophical analysis and yet frequently indulges in just that. This means that some of the letters, paradoxically, are quite challenging to read even for someone with formal training in philosophy. Brad Inwood is a towering pioneer in the Seneca-research and in this volume he has selected some of the most complex and interesting letters and added careful commentaries to each of them. On top of that there's a great introduction with lots of useful information about the letters and interesting thoughts on why Seneca wrote them in the first place. An indispensable book if you are up for a for a firmer grasp of Seneca's special brand of Stoicism.
This article claims that a Stoic has no reason to get depressed by bad political conditions since an evil government is not really a bad thing for a Stoic - since nothing can be bad for a Stoic except his own bad choices. Even so, the article claims, a Stoic acknowledges that an evil government is capable of doing "terrible things" to people. To make this line of thinking work we have to think of ourselves as Stoics who can't be harmed by an evil government - since nothing can be bad for us as Stoics except our own bad choices - and other people as non-Stoics who will suffer terribly if they are oppressed by the evil government. In my opinion, this interpretation of Stoicism is flat out wrong. First of all, an evil government is indeed a bad thing. The Stoics distinguish between internal good/bad things such as our own good or bad choices and external good/bad things such as other people's happiness or unhappiness: "some bad things are in the sou