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27.09.2014
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In the final decade of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ life he wrote a series of personal philosophies intended for himself; these would later be published as Meditations.
Tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. We all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own. Independence and unvarying reliability … to be the same in all circumstances—intense pain, the loss of a child, chronic illness … a man can show both strength and flexibility … accept favors from friends without losing your self-respect or appearing ungrateful. Not to be constantly correcting people, and in particular not to jump on them whenever they make an error of usage or a grammatical mistake or mispronounce something, but just answer their question or add another example, or debate the issues itself (not their phrasing), or make some other contribution to the discussion—and insert the right expression, unobtrusively.
Never under compulsion, out of selfishness, without forethought, without misgivings … No surplus words or unnecessary actions. Concentrate every minute … on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice. You need to avoid certain things in your train of thought: everything random and irrelevant.
When jarred, unavoidably, by circumstances, revert at once to yourself, and don’t lose the rhythm more than you can help. A branch cut away from the branch beside it is simultaneously cut away from the whole tree.


In the ring, our opponents can gouge us with their nails or butt us with their heads and leave a bruise, but we don’t denounce them for it or get upset with them or regard them from then on as violent types.
If anyone can refute me—show me I’m making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective—I’ll gladly change. Enabling JavaScript in your browser will allow you to experience all the features of our site.
The thoughts in Meditations aim to be a source of guidance on how to live a happier and more productive life. To show intuitive sympathy to friends, tolerance to amateurs and sloppy thinkers … ability to get along with everyone … To investigate and analyze, with understanding and logic … Not to display anger or other emotions. Let the spirit in you represent a man … Taking up his post like a soldier and patiently awaiting his recall from life. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions … you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered, irritable. The knowledge that there is nothing nature loves more than to alter what exists and to make new things like it.
We recommend you use it when communicating with fellow "thought criminals." You'll receive no more than one message a day concerning relevant news and articles. As with other Stoic philosophers, Aurelius focused on limiting emotional reactions to outside forces in life that are not under your control. 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.


Any action not directed toward a social end is a disturbance to your life, an obstacle to wholeness, a source of dissension. And to let them behave like that to other people but expect them to exempt you is arrogant. Unlike the Stoics or philosophers from other schools, Marcus Aurelius held a powerful political position, as Roman emperor from 161-180 CE, making his contribution unique. Stoicism deals with emotional intelligence, mind over matter, being tied to nature, and exercising philosophy through actions over words.
But if the rupture is too often repeated, it makes the severed part hard to reconnect, and to restore.
Considering that this was essentially his notebook, he was most likely engaging in behavior modification through written affirmations.
You can see the difference between the branch that’s been there since the beginning, remaining on the tree and growing with it, and the one that’s been cut off and grafted back.
We need to excuse what our sparring partners do, and just keep our distance—without suspicion or hatred.



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