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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Meditations XII

From Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations":

“But the care of thine honour and reputation will perchance distract thee? How can that be, if thou dost look back, and consider both how quickly all things that are, are forgotten, and what an immense chaos of eternity was before, and will follow after all things: and the vanity of praise, and the inconstancy and variableness of human judgments and opinions, and the narrowness of the place, wherein it is limited and circumscribed? for the whole earth is but as one point; and of it, this inhabited part of it, is but a very little part; and of this part, how many in number, and what manner of men are they, that will commend thee? What remains then, but that thou often put in practice this kind of retiring of thyself, to this little part of thyself, and above all things, keep thyself from distraction, and intend not anything vehemently, but be free and consider all things, as a man whose proper object is Virtue, as a man whose true nature is to be kind and sociable, as a citizen, as a mortal creature.”

I find it ironic that this was written by a man who was so brilliant and whose "proper object" was virtue to the degree that he is well remembered 1900 years after his death, but there are so many who have not followed his advice and squandered their virtue and self to care for their "honour and reputation", but whose names have been swallowed by the chasm of history, never to be remembered.

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