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Friday, August 17, 2012

"Meditations" (Marcus Aurelius)

Marcus Aurelius was emperor of Rome from 161-180 AD. He was a very learned man and a noted stoic. His reflections (something of a personal journal) entitled "Meditations" are an excellent example of a brilliant man writing about his personal search for peace, happiness, and the "good" life.

I have SO many favorite quotes from this text, that rather than put them all into a single post, I'm going to try to post one quote from the "Meditations" each day; some quotes will come with commentary from me, and others will not. I think this will be a good way to really slow down and digest the wisdom contained in this text. So, let's begin with this little treasure:

“ endure labour; nor to need many things; when I have anything to do, to do it myself rather than by others; not to meddle with many businesses...” (Marcus Aurelius)

Here, he is speaking about how to be happy. There's much to reflect on here. I particularly like how he says that the good man does not have need of many things. A whole and happy person can live without a glut of items. In the United States right now there are some voices crying out in the wilderness against our culture of consumerism and commercialism. Marcus Aurelius would have been behind them. Throughout his meditations, he returns to this idea of how having too much stuff can keep us from focusing on what's most important in life.

Keep reading and check back tomorrow for more of Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations"!

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