Marcus Aurelius was Roman emperor and also a stoic aka believer of stoicism, a school of Philosophy that flourished throughout the Roman and Greek world until the 3rd century AD.
The Meditations is his thoughts on various aspect of life as collection of books which are all combined as chapter here.
These are some notes:
- All existing things soon change, and they will either be reduced to vapour, if indeed all substance is one, or they will be dispersed.
- The best way of avenging thyself is not to become like the wrong doer.
- Motions and changes are continually renewing the world, just as the uninterrupted course of time is always renewing the infinite duration of ages.
- How strangely men act. They will not praise those who are living at the same time and living with themselves; but to be themselves praised by posterity, by those whom they have never seen or ever will see, this they set much value on.
- If any man is able to convince me and show me that I do not think or act right, I will gladly change; for I seek the truth by which no man was ever injured. But he is injured who abides in his error and ignorance.
- I do my duty: other things trouble me not; for they are either things without life, or things without reason, or things that have rambled and know not the way.
- As to the animals which have no reason and generally all things and objects, do thou, since thou hast reason and they have none, make use of them with a generous and liberal spirit. But towards human beings, as they have reason, behave in a social spirit.
- He who has seen present things has seen all, both everything which has taken place from all eternity and everything which will be for time without end; for all things are of one kin and of one form.
- Frequently consider the connexion of all things in the universe and their relation to one another.
- if we judge only those things which are in our power to be good or bad, there remains no reason either for finding fault with God or standing in a hostile attitude to man.
- whatever is profitable to any man is profitable also to other men. But let the word profitable be taken here in the common sense as said of things of the middle kind, neither good nor bad.
- One thing here is worth a great deal, to pass thy life in truth and justice, with a benevolent disposition even to liars and unjust men.
- He who loves fame considers another man’s activity to be his own good; and he who loves pleasure, his own sensations; but he who has understanding, considers his own acts to be his own good.
- It is in our power to have no opinion about a thing, and not to be disturbed in our soul; for things themselves have no natural power to form our judgements.
- What kind of people are those whom men wish to please, and for what objects, and by what kind of acts?
- Let not future things disturb thee, for thou wilt come to them, if it shall be necessary, having with thee the same reason which now thou usest for present things.
- All things are implicated with one another, and the bond is holy; and there is hardly anything unconnected with any other thing.
- Everything material soon disappears in the substance of the whole; and everything formal (causal) is very soon taken back into the universal reason; and the memory of everything is very soon overwhelmed in time.
- A virtue which is opposed to love of pleasure, and that is temperance.
- If thou takest away thy opinion about that which appears to give thee pain, thou thyself standest in perfect security.
- Hindrance to the perceptions of sense is an evil to the animal nature. Hindrance to the movements (desires) is equally an evil to the animal nature.
- It is not fit that I should give myself pain, for I have never intentionally given pain even to another.
- Different things delight different people. But it is my delight to keep the ruling faculty sound without turning away either from any man or from any of the things which happen to men, but looking at and receiving all with welcome eyes and using everything according to its value.
- See that thou secure this present time to thyself: for those who rather pursue posthumous fame do consider that the men of after time will be exactly such as these whom they cannot bear now; and both are mortal.
- He who does not know what the world is, does not know where he is. And he who does not know for what purpose the world exists, does not know who he is, nor what the world is.
- Dost thou wish to be praised by a man who curses himself thrice every hour? Wouldst thou wish to please a man who does not please himself? Does a man please himself who repents of nearly everything that he does?
- He who fears death either fears the loss of sensation or a different kind of sensation. But if thou shalt have no sensation, neither wilt thou feel any harm; and if thou shalt acquire another kind of sensation, thou wilt be a different kind of living being and thou wilt not cease to live.
- Men exist for the sake of one another. Teach them then or bear with them.
- In one way an arrow moves, in another way the mind.
- It would be a man’s happiest lot to depart from mankind without having had any taste of lying and hypocrisy and luxury and pride.
- the contrary way and attach us to life, to be permitted to live with those who have the same principles as ourse
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