If ever there was an exemplification of Plato's 'Philosopher King', it would be Marcus Aurelius. Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. It is always somewhat uncomfortable reading something a writer was working on when he died. And not only that, but everybody who knows me or even knows I exist will die, and then everybody who knows those people and might even conceivably have even heard of me will die, and so on and the gravestones and monuments we spend money to have put in to make sure we’re remembered, these’ll last what – a hundred years? People who are excited by posthumous fame forget that the people who remember them will soon die too. Marcus Aurelius has achieved ‘eternal’ fame, or at least he is still being read 2,000 years after his death. Sigmund Freud is born Sigismund Schlomo Freud in Freiberg, Moravia (part of the Austrian Empire).
In a homily delivered at the canonization of Gemma Galgani and Marie Euphrasia Pelletier in St. The King James Bible is published for the first time in London, England, by printer Robert Barker.
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Born in 121, he became a Roman Emperor in 161, and his reign lasted until his death in 180. An ardent Stoic, he is best remembered today as the author of the Meditations, a collection of 'spiritual exercises' that were written for himself between 170 and 180.
When I read Vladimir Nabokov’s The Original of Laura I wondered about his potential future: what might have been if he had lived to finish it. He had long struggled with depression, and it is difficult not to think of this while reading the book.
The Roman Emperor’s book, normally called Meditations, is not a happy little self-help guide, despite some modern publishers’ attempts to market it as such.
David Foster Wallace has his own share of posthumous renown, but it remains to be seen if he is as lasting as Marcus. I’m reading Meditations right now and I keep thinking about Wallace, especially his commencement at Kenyon College. His book Meditations will be written while on military campaigns and it will become a landmark work in Stoic philosophy.
Currency represents a specific time and place, whether products of the age we live in today or an artifact of a long forgotten empire. Marcus Aurelius is one of the most recognizable Roman Emperors, famed for his equestrian statue still standing on the Capitoline Hill in Rome today.
Fortunately for us, this work was preserved for posterity, and it can be read profitably today by anyone looking for a source of spiritual guidance. When I read Kurt Vonnegut’s If God Were Alive Today I thought about his past, and what the book would have become if he had still possessed his old skills right up to the end.


Marcus was approaching the end of his life as he wrote, and he knew it, and this was uppermost in his mind. Until their memory, passed from one to another like a candle flame, gutters and goes out… Everything fades so quickly, turns into legend, and soon oblivion covers it.
David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King made me think of his present, and what was going through his mind as he was writing. Born Marcus Annius Verus, he was adopted by the emperor Antoninus Pius in 138, and married his daughter Annia Galeria Faustina a few years later. These ancient coins are not a relic of the past displayed behind glass in a museum; but mounted in these cufflinks, they become a stunning centerpiece appreciated for their age as much as their beauty and superior craftsmanship.
That everything is on fire, slow fire, and we’re all less than a million breaths away from an oblivion more total than we can even bring ourselves to imagine, in fact, probably that’s why the manic US obsession with production, produce, produce, produce, impact the world, contribute, shape things, to help distract us from how little and totally insignificant and temporary we are. However, he felt with more religious fervor the communion of man in the unity of the universe than most other Stoics. In his later years, he wrote the Meditations as a relief from his lonely office, in which he attempts to reconcile his Stoic philosophy of virtue and self-sacrifice with his role as emperor.




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