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Marcus Aurelius, 'Meditations' Quotations The Universe is change, life is an opinion.

(Marcus Aurelius) Everything harmonises with me which is harmonious to thee, O Universe. Nothing f or me is too early or too late, which is in due time for thee. Everything is fru it to me which thy seasons bring, O Nature: from thee are all things, in thee ar e all things, to thee all things return. (Marcus Aurelius) (Bertrand Russell, The History of Western Philosophy) Frequently consider the connection of all things in the universe. (Marcus Aurelius ) (Russell) We should not say I am an Athenian Marcus Aurelius) (Russell) or I am a Roman but

I am a citizen of the Universe

Constantly think of the Universe as one living creature, embracing one being and one soul; how all is absorbed into the one consciousness of this living creatur e; how it compasses all things with a single purpose, and how all things work to gether to cause all that comes to pass, and their wonderful web and texture. (Ma rcus Aurelius) Men look for retreats for themselves, the country, the seashore, the hills; and you yourself, too, are peculiarly accustomed to feel the same want. Yet all this is very unlike a philosopher, when you may at any hour you please retreat into yourself. For nowhere does a man retreat into more quiet or more privacy than in to his own mind, especially one who has within such things that he has only to l ook into, and become at once in perfect ease; and by ease I mean nothing else bu t good behaviour. Continually therefore grant yourself this retreat and repair y ourself. But let them be brief and fundamental truths, which will suffice at onc e by their presence to wash away all sorrow, and to send you back without repugn ance to the life to which you return. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, p18) Death is like birth, a mystery of Nature; a coming together out of identical ele ments and a dissolution into the same. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, p19) 24. Democritus has said: Do few things, if you would enjoy tranquility. relius, Meditations, p22) (Marcus Au

45. What follows is always organically related to what went before; for it is no t like a simple enumeration of units separately determined by necessity, but a r ational combination; and as Being is arranged in a mutual co-ordination, so the phenomena of Becoming display no bare succession but a wonderful organic interre lation. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, p24) Reason and the method of reasoning are abilities, sufficient to themselves and t heir own operations. Thus they start from their appropriate principle and procee d to their proposed end; wherefore reasonable acts are called right acts, to ind icate the rightness of their path. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, p31) As are your repeated imaginations so will your mind be, for the soul is dyed by its imaginations. Dye it then in a succession of imaginations like these: for in stance, where it is possible to live, there also it is possible to live well: bu t it is possible to live in a palace, ergo it is also possible to live well in a palace. Or once more: a creature is made for that in whose interest it was crea ted: and that for which it was made, to this it tends: and to what it tends, in this is its end: and where its end is, there is the advantage and the good alike of each creature: therefore fellowship is the good of a reasonable creature. (M arcus Aurelius, Meditations, p31)

Is it not strange that ignorance and complaisance are stronger than wisdom. (Mar cus Aurelius, Meditations, p31) 23. Repeatedly dwell on the swiftness of the passage and departure of things tha t are and of things that come to be. For substance is like a river in perpetual flux, its activities are in continuous changes, and its causes in myriad varieti es, and there is scarce anything which stands still, even what is near at hand; dwell, too, on the infinite gulf of the past and the future, in which all things vanish away. Then how is he not a fool who in all this is puffed up or distract ed or takes it hardly, as if he were in some lasting scene, which has troubled h im for so long? 24. Call to mind the whole of Substance of which you have a very small portion, and the whole of time whereof a small hair s breadth has been determined for you, and of the chain of causation whereof you are how small a link. 6. The noblest kind of retribution is not to become like your enemy. (Marcus Aur elius, Meditations, p35) Reflect upon the multitude of bodily and mental events taking place in the same brief time, simultaneously in every one of us and so you will not be surprised t hat many more events, or rather all things that come to pass, exist simultaneous ly in the one and entire unity, which we call the Universe. (Marcus Aurelius, Me ditations, p38) 30. Take heed not to be transformed into a Caesar, not to be dipped in the purpl e dye; for it does happen. Keep yourself therefore simple, good, pure, grave, un affected, the friend of justice, religious, kind, affectionate, strong for your proper work. Wrestle to continue to be the man Philosophy wished to make you. Re verence the gods, save men. Life is brief; there is one harvest of earthly exist ence, a holy disposition and neighbourly acts. In all things like a pupil of Ant oninus; his energy on behalf of what was done in accord with reason, his equabil ity everywhere, his serene expression, his sweetness, his disdain of glory, his ambition to grasp affairs. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, p39) 38. Meditate often upon the bond of all in the Universe and their mutual relatio nship. For all things are in a way woven together and all are because of this de ar to one another; for these follow in order one upon another because of the str ess movement and common spirit and the unification of matter. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, p40) One thing here is of great price, to live out life with truth and righteousness ... (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, P42) 48. Whenever you desire to cheer yourself, think upon the merits of those who ar e still alive with you; the energy of one, the instance, the modesty of another, the generosity of a third, of another some other gift. For nothing is so cheeri ng as the images of the virtues shining in the character of contemporaries, and meeting so far as possible in a group. Therefore you should keep them read to yo ur hand. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, P42) 50. Endeavour to persuade them, but act even if they themselves are unwilling, w hen the rule of justice so directs. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, p42) Introduction - Marcus Aurelius 'Meditations' Quotes - Summary Stoicism Philosoph y - Marcus Aurelius / Stoic Links - Top of Page Summary of Stoicism Philosophy Introduction to Meditations, by D.A. Rees. 1960 His tutor Fronto, was a leader of the literary movement of the day, and affected

a highly precious style studded with archaisms; Marcus felt considerable affect ion for him personally, but it was not long before he began to react against an education which stressed form rather than content, and whose sole ideal was that of literary excellence. His reaction was towards philosophy, but towards philos ophy seen not as a matter of abstract theory but as a way of life, in the Cynic and Stoic tradition of the times, stressing moral self-sufficiency and an asceti c disregard for external goods. (p. ii. Rees. 1960) What of the philosophical religion of Stoicism, which Marcus himself professed, and of which his Meditations form the most widely known document for the modern world, the Manual of Epictetus occupying the second place? The Stoic school has as its founder Zeno of Citium in Cyprus, who came to Athens as a young man about 315-313 B.C., studied philosophy there under various teachers and in particular under Crates the Cynic and soon after 300 B.C. set up his own school in the Pai nted Porch or Arcade (Stoa Poikile), from which his followers took their name. B ut to understand Stoicism we must go back a little earlier, and see what the phi losophical tradition was into which Zeno thus entered. The earliest phase of Greek philosophy was that of the Ionian cosmologists, who, from the time of Thales (c.585 B.C.) onwards, set out to interpret the universe in terms of some primary form of matter, water or air (probably mist) or the inf inite (indefinite matter). (p.v. Rees. 1960) Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 500B.C) , celebrated in antiquity as the dark by reason of his oracular and cryptic mode of utterance. This indeed exposed him only too easily to misrepresentation, sympathetic and unsympathetic alike, and the Stoics saw in him the progenitor of their doctrines of cosmic reason, and of a univers e in which a special significance attached to the element of fire, and which wou ld eventually return to fire and be absorbed in it, through an endless series of periodical conflagrations. This last doctrine, it is now agreed, was not of Her aclitus himself. The early cosmological phase of Greek philosophy drew gradually to a close (apar t from later manifestations, such as the atomism of Democritus in the second hal f of the fifth century.) Bewildered by the variety of conflicting speculations w ith which they were confronted, and influenced in some cases by a radical scepti cism of the possibility of knowing anything at all of the ultimate nature of the universe, men turned their attention to the human rather than to the cosmic sce ne, to the questions of ethics and politics, to the most pressing question of al l: What is the good life, and how should men know it and live it? For there were m en like Protagoras, sophists as they were called, who claimed to teach precisely this, and there was Socrates too (469-399) who questioned such pretensions amon g the sophists, but whose interest like theirs was centered on problems of human conduct: What is virtue, and how can it be acquired? What is justice? What is piety? nd so on. But Socrates was not a constructive philosopher- which helps to explain why his followers held such a bewildering variety of views - and what struck men above a ll in him was his fearless and rugged independence of character, conjoined with the assertion of the place of man s reason in the proper government of his life. F or he seems to have held, in accord with what we may call the sophist tradition, that knowledge of the right course of action would suffice to ensure that a man carried it out, that virtue was knowledge and vice ignorance. For him , as the Stoics later, the ideal of the wise man was all-sufficient. Among Socrates followers, Plato (427-347), the greatest of all, went further than his master and constructed a daring system of metaphysics, a system one of whos e mainsprings lay in man s moral conceptions. The Platonic Idea or Forms, it was h eld, were the most fully real and fully knowable entities, and at the apex of th eir hierarchy, at any rate in the Republic, stood the Idea of the Good, in some sense the principle of thought and of action alike. Plato s ethical system, in thi

s as in much else typically Greek, was grounded in his cosmology, and ideal cond uct was not ultimately separable from the knowledge of the philosopher; his know ledge was, indeed, itself the highest good. (p. vi. Rees. 1960) Like both Plato and Aristotle, Zeno based his teaching about conduct on his theo ry of the nature of the universe in general, and the nature of man in particular . Again, though interpreting wisdom differently, Zeno, like Plato and Aristotle, and (more closely, perhaps) like Socrates before them, found his complete ideal realised in his picture of the wise man. (p. viii. Rees. 1960) In the period stretching from Zeno to Marcus, Stoicism was the most important of the Greek philosophical schools. As against the Epicureans, it asserted the cla ims of virtue as higher than pleasure, and, rejecting the domination of atoms an d chance, proclaimed a universe ordered by divine providence; as against the Sce ptics it upheld a dogmatic cosmology, and maintained the existence of truths whi ch could be grasped with certainty. (p. viii. Rees. 1960) Hence both the rationalistic and the universalistic aspects of Stoic ethics, whi ch held that all shared a like in a common nature and so were akin to one anothe r, and hence also its predestinarian stress on recognition of the divine necessi ty in all things, and glad acceptance of the wise providence present throughout. In such a world the citadel of a man s soul was all-important, for there and ther e only had he control ... (p. ix. Rees. 1960) Stoicism was forced to disregard in its doctrine of freedom those all-pervading social pressures which radically condition our beliefs and attitudes, of which A ristotle had shown more awareness, and upon which thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have laid so much stress. (p. xi. Rees. 1960)