Content tagged philosophy

I have finally managed to plow my way through "Meditations" of Marcus Aurelius. People say that your experience of the book is largely dependent on the translation you get and it seems to be true. I have picked up my copy from Project Gutenberg and it was a rather tough read just because of the language used by the interpreter. The translation available at MIT seems to be much better.

The book is a series of thoughts, lessons learned and advice mostly about man's place in the universe and about his relations with other people and society in general. Marcus Aurelius apparently wrote it for his own use which makes it even more interesting, because it shows the world view of one of the most esteemed Roman Emperors who ruled "under the guidance of wisdom and virtue", as Edward Gibbon put it. Marcus' life was heavily influenced by Stoicism, which shows in the book a lot. Despite the "sub-optimal" translation and too many references to determinism for my taste, I liked it quite a bit. Definitely a recommended read.

Some quotes:

Thou must hasten therefore; not only because thou art every day nearer unto death than other, but also because that intellective faculty in thee,..., doth daily waste and decay or, may fail thee before thou die.

That which most men would think themselves most happy for, is to live again.

They grieved; they wondered; they complained. And where are they now? All dead and gone.

And if in every particular action thou dost perform, what is to the fitting of the utmost of thy power, let it suffice thee.

I have often wondered how it should come to pass, that every man loving himself best, should more regard other men's opinions concerning himself than his own.