THE MEDITATIONS of MARCUS AURELIUS (Special Nook Edition): The Most Influential Philosophy Reflections of All Time MARCUS AURELIUS THE MEDITATIONS Complete Unabridged Authoritative Edition [Featured in The Fall of the Roman Empire and Gladiator] by Marcus Aurelius
THE MEDITATIONS of MARCUS AURELIUS
(Special Nook Edition)
The Most Influential Philosophy Reflections of All Time
MARCUS AURELIUS | THE MEDITATIONS
Complete Unabridged Authoritative Edition
[Featured in The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton]
ABOUT THE MEDITATIONS
Meditations is a series of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor 161–180 AD, setting forth his ideas on Stoic philosophy.
Marcus Aurelius wrote the 12 books of the Meditations as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement.
The Meditations is divided into twelve books that chronicle different periods of Marcus's life. Each book is not in chronological order and it was written for no one but himself. The style of writing that permeates the text is one that is simplified, straightforward, and perhaps reflecting Marcus's Stoic perspective on the text. Depending on the English translation, Marcus's style is not viewed as anything regal or belonging to royalty, but rather a man among other men which allows the reader to relate to his wisdom.
A central theme to "Meditations" is to analyze your judgement of self and others and developing a cosmic perspective. As he said "You have the power to strip away many superfluous troubles located wholly in your judgement, and to possess a large room for yourself embracing in thought the whole cosmos, to consider everlasting time, to think of the rapid change in the parts of each thing, of how short it is from birth until dissolution, and how the void before birth and that after dissolution are equally infinite". He advocates finding one's place in the universe and sees that everything came from nature, and so everything shall return to it in due time. It seems at some points in his work that we are all part of a greater construct thus taking a collectivist approach rather than having a individualist perspective. Another strong theme is of maintaining focus and to be without distraction all the while maintaining strong ethical principles such as "Being a good man".
His Stoic ideas often involve avoiding indulgence in sensory affections, a skill which, he says, will free a man from the pains and pleasures of the material world. He claims that the only way a man can be harmed by others is to allow his reaction to overpower him. An order or logos permeates existence. Rationality and clear-mindedness allow one to live in harmony with the logos. This allows one to rise above faulty perceptions of "good" and "bad".
If thou art pained by any external thing, it is not this that disturbs thee, but thy own judgment about it. And it is in thy power to wipe out this judgement now.
A cucumber is bitter. Throw it away. There are briars in the road. Turn aside from them. This is enough. Do not add, "And why were such things made in the world?"
Soon you'll be ashes or bones. A mere name at most—and even that is just a sound, an echo. The things we want in life are empty, stale, trivial.
Never regard something as doing you good if it makes you betray a trust or lose your sense of shame or makes you show hatred, suspicion, ill-will or hypocrisy or a desire for things best done behind closed doors.
Not to feel exasperated or defeated or despondent because your days aren't packed with wise and moral actions. But to get back up when you fail, to celebrate behaving like a human—however imperfectly—and fully embrace the pursuit you've embarked on.
Take away your opinion, and there is taken away the complaint, [...] Take away the complaint, [...] and the hurt is gone
Do not act as if thou art going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over thee. While thou livest, while it is in thy power, be good.
Do not then consider life a thing of any value. For look at the immensity of time behind thee, and to the time which is before thee, another boundless space. In this infinity then what is the difference between him who lives three days and him who lives three generations?
When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can't tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own—not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine.