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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Meditations LII

From Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations":

“All things by the providence of reason happen unto every particular, as a part of one general body; and then it is against reason that a part should complain of anything that happens for the good of the whole.”

This reminds me of another place in this text when Aurelius says, "That which is not good for the hive, cannot be good for the bee." I have been talking with our AP junior students recently about the natural tension between the natural state of the world and the taming of the world to build up civilization. On the one hand, there's a tendency to leave the natural world untouched. However, if we had done that, humans would still be living in caves, hunting and gathering. It was only because we chopped down trees for firewood and to build houses, and because we quarried stone to build buildings that we have been able to form societies for mutual benefit.

So this question of what is good for the whole and what is good for me, is a healthy tension. I think it's something that, as we enter into the 21st century, and humanity's domination, extraction, and usage of the world's natural resources runs into the world's limited supply, we are going to have to engage with more frequency.

There's a cheery thought for your Saturday! Cheers!

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