“Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius (170-180 AD)

“Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius (170-180 AD)

 

Book I: a list of “Thank yous” or sources of his wisdom:

Grandfather (Verus):

  • morals and even temper

Biological father (Annius Verus):

  • modesty and manly character

Mother:

  • piety and beneficence
  • abstinence from evil deeds and thoughts
  • simplicity of life, to live unlike most “rich”

Great-grandfather:

  • not to go to public schools but to be taught at home
  • what to spend good money on

Governor:

  • not to choose sporting sides (not to get too involved in petty affairs of the like)
  • endurance of labor
  • to want little
  • to work with one’s own hands
  • not to meddle in other people’s affairs
  • not to listen to gossip/slander

Diognetus:

  • not to get involved in trifles
  • not to listen to superstitious nonsense
  • not to get involved in quail-fighting
  • to endure freedom of speech
  • to appreciate philosophy
  • to learn to write well
  • to adopt Greek disciplines (no luxuries)

Rusticus:

  • that character requires personal and moral improvement and discipline
  • not to emulate sophists
  • not to write speculatively
  • not to give hortatory speeches
  • not to put on display one’s discipline, benevolence or beneficence
  • to abstain from poetry, rhetoric and fine writing
  • not to wear outdoor dress indoors
  • to write with simplicity
  • to write with respect to those who have offended one with words
  • to be easily disposed to be pacified and reconciled when the other party is ready
  • to read carefully and not to be satisfied with a superficial understanding of a book
  • not to assent hastily to those who talk too much
  • to learn the discourses of Epictetus

Apollonis:

  • freedom of will and steadiness of purpose
  • to look only to reason
  • to be always the same, even in pain
  • to know that a man can be resolute and yet yielding
  • philosophical principles
  • how to receive esteemed favors without being ungrateful or too humbled

Sextus:

  • to have a benevolent disposition
  • how to have a family governed in a fatherly manner
  • to live comfortably with the nature of things
  • gravity without affection
  • to look after friends
  • to tolerate ignorant people and the opinions of those without consideration
  • conversation without flattery
  • to discover and to order the principles necessary for life
  • never to show anger or passion
  • to be affection
  • approbation without display
  • knowledge without ostentation

Alexander the Grammarian:

  • to refrain from fault-finding
  • not to chide solecistic/barbarous expressions
  • to correct gently

Fronto:

  • to observe what is in a tyrant – envy, duplicity and hypocrisy
  • that patricians lack paternal affection

Alexander the Platonic:

  • not to say that one does not have the time for leisure
  • not to neglect the duties of one’s relations

Catullus:

  • not to be indifferent when friends find fault & to try to restore them to their original dispositions
  • to speak well of one’s teachers
  • to love one’s children

Severus (brother):

  • to love one’s kin
  • to love truth and justice
  • that polity is the same law for all – equal rights and freedom of speech
  • that a kingly government respects the freedom of the governed
  • consistency and steadiness in regard for philosophy
  • to do good and to give to others
  • to cherish good hopes
  • not to conceal opinions of the condemned
  • to be plain in what one wishes

Maximus:

  • self government
  • not to be led aside
  • cheerfulness
  • moral character of sweetness and dignity
  • to do one’s duties without complaint
  • to think as one speaks
  • to have no bad intentions
  • to show no amazement or surprise
  • never to be in a hurry
  • never to procrastinate
  • never to be perplexed or dejected
  • never to disguise vexation with laughter
  • not to give signs of passion or suspicion
  • beneficence
  • to be ready to forgive
  • not to lie
  • to seek what is right
  • to be humorous in an agreeable way

Emperor Antoninus Pius (Father (adopted)):

  • mild temper
  • to be unchangeable in resolution after deliberation
  • no vainglory in honors
  • love of labor and perseverance
  • to listen to public proposals
  • firmness in fairness/trust
  • to know when to be vigorous and when to remit
  • to consider oneself a citizen
  • not to require friends to be constantly around, especially when on campaign
  • to be careful in inquiry and deliberation
  • to be persistent and thorough in one’s investigations
  • to be cheerful
  • to be “far-sighted”
  • to help the “small” people without display
  • to check applause and flattery
  • to attend to the duties of the empire
  • to be good with expenditure.
  • not to be superstitious toward the gods
  • not to buy people off
  • never to have mean thoughts
  • not to enjoy opulence
  • not to be a sophist or pedant
  • to be a well-respected man
  • to be above flattery
  • to honor philosophers but not to reproach bad ones
  • to be agreeable in conversation
  • to look after one’s health for its own sake and not for vain reasons – one avoids physical and mental pain and doctor visits this way
  • to respect those whose talents exceed one’s
  • to be reluctant to change
  • to be vigorous about one’s work
  • not to have many secrets
  • to be prudent about public works
  • not to be harsh, implacable or violent
  • to be thorough, deliberate and consistent
  • to have great will power

Thanks to the gods (or oneself) for:

  • for good family, associates and friends
  • not to hurry to offend the gods
  • not to rush to prove his virility to others or oneself
  • that his father took away his pride
  • that his father taught him to eschew luxury
  • that his father taught him to rule justly and wisely
  • that his brother taught him moral vigilance
  • that his brother taught him respect and affection
  • that his children were healthy and smart
  • that he didn’t pursue poetry and rhetoric
  • that he knew the people in his life
  • that he learned to live according to nature
  • that he has been in good health
  • that his amorous passions were not consumed
  • that he did not do things in relationships that he might have later regretted
  • that he had a good wife
  • that he didn’t fall into the wrong hands when he discovered philosophy
  • for all the good things in life

 

Book II

  • When you wake up every morning, know that you’ll run into busy-bodies, ingrates, liars, jealous, arrogant and unfriendly people. They are this way because they don’t know wrong/evil from right/good. Good is beauty and evil is ugliness. We shouldn’t be affected by “evil” people. Don’t be angry with them or persuaded by them. We are all members of the same body and must act together, as in nature, not against each other.
  • You are insignificant. Your body is flesh and bones. Your breath changes with the air. Your mind is your own and shouldn’t be controlled by others, nor should it be unsatisfied or worried about the future.
  • Everything from the gods is “Providence”. Fortune and nature are ordered by providence. All of the universe is a part of it, including you. Let this knowledge guide you even though things appear to change. Don’t thirst for knowledge far beyond this. It will distract you.
  • Think of all the time you’ve wasted ignoring this fact. Think about your place in the universe and what time remains to you. If you don’t use the time allotted to yous to clear your mind of evil, you will have wasted it.
  • Do things with simplicity, dignity, affection, freedom and justice. Do not cast aside reason but do so with hypocrisy, self-love and discontent. Material possessions rarely bring lasting happiness, unlike the observation and understanding of the world.
  • External things are distracting. But learning and doing new things grounds you and gives you focus. Don’t overdo it, though because you will have no overall direction.
  • You will never be happy ignoring your own thoughts. The only way to be happy is to understand them and be at ease with them.
  • You must ask yourself: What is the nature of the whole? and my nature? What are the relations between things? What kind of part is it? What kind of whole is it?
  • Theophratus: Offenses of desire are worse than anger. Anger is turning away from reason with pain and distraction. Desire is being overwhelmed by pleasure and is more intemperate. Anger: if you’ve been wronged, you’ll be compelled to be angry. Desire: if you are carried away by the impulse to do “wrong”, you’ll be desirous.
  • Keep in mind that you can die at any time. Death is not something to be afraid of. Evil will not happen to you. If there are gods, they will protect you from evil. You have the power to correct against evil in your life. But good and bad do not occur indiscriminately to the good and evil. But life and death, pleasure and pain, and honor and dishonor all happen to both good and bad men. Because they do, they are neither good or bad.
  • Everything in the universe disappears sooner or later in physical form and remembrance. Only one’s intelligence can observe this. Only it can distinguish life and death in both real and abstract terms.
  • The poet is the worst form of person because he conjectures what is in others’ minds when it is only sufficient to look inside himself. Reverence of the dæmon is just keeping it pure from passion, thoughtlessness and dissatisfaction with the gods and men. Gods and men should be venerated – the gods for their excellence and men because they are our kin.
  • However long you live, you will die. The only life you have will end. Long and short lives end the same. The present and the living last only a moment. The future and past cannot be lost. A man can’t lose what he hasn’t got. Things from eternity have similar forms and are on a cycle. There’s no difference between seeing something once and seeing it a million times. You can only be deprived of the present because it’s the only thing you have.
  • Everything is a matter of opinion. But you can only get out of something what can be got out of it, in as far as it is true.
  • The soul of a man is bad when it is a tumor on the universe. To be angry with something is to lose one’s place in nature. The purpose of rational animals is to follow reason and the law. The soul is damaged when:
    • it turns away from another, especially in violence (angry souls)
    • it is overcome by pleasure or pain
    • it is insincere or untruthful
    • its thoughts are without aim and consideration
  • In a human’s life, time is a point, substance is in flux, perception is dull, the body is dying, the soul is whirling, fortune hard to divine, and fame is without judgment. Everything corporeal is a dream, the soul is a dream and a vapor, life is war and a journey, and death is oblivion. What is able to conduct a man? Philosophy. It keeps a man’s dæmon free from violence, above pleasure and pain, with purpose, without hypocrisy, without depending on others and accepting of the world and the universe

 

Book III

  • Our lives are wasting away and everyday less of it remains. If you live a very long time, it’s not certain that you’ll understand it at the end of it. You’ll be too old and feeble to understand what is earthly and what is divine. Even if we grow very old and we continue to live in our body, our mental faculties, which make us human, will fade. We must make the most of life while we are mentally able.
  • When things are flawed, they might actually be more appealing. Broken bread, gaping olives and ears of corn bending make us appreciate the thing in its ripest even though it is on the verge of spoiling. These may not be perfection according to nature but they are still pleasing. Old people with a maturity about them have an attraction too. All these things may not be pleasing to all but will be to those who are familiar with nature.
  • Hippocrates, who devoted himself to medicine, died. The Chaldaei (early Mesopotamians) prophesied deaths and they died too. Alexander, Caius Caesar and Pempeius destroyed cities and armies and they also died. Heraclitus, the philosopher who speculated the conflagrations of the universe, died drowning. Democritus and Socrates died. So, what? You’ve embarked and made the voyage, you must come to shore and disembark. If there is another life, there will be gods. But if there are no sensations there, you will have no pleasure or pain. You shouldn’t be bound to the inferior ship that serves the superior ashore. Superior is that which is divine: intelligence, virtue and deity. Inferior is that which is human: earthly, sensual and corrupt.
  • Don’t waste your life worrying about what others think. Concentrate on useful matters. When we wonder and speculate what others have going through their minds, we don’t focus on ourselves and what we can do. We should look at what we think about and what is useless and what is good. Think about this honestly and immediately. All thoughts should be simple and benevolent. Thoughts of pleasure, rivalry, envy and suspicion should be chased away. If you sort your thoughts out, you’ll be like a priest: you will be connected to the gods, temperate and good. If you don’t do this, you will be constantly worried and unsatisfied.
  • Work willingly, with regard for the common interest, with consideration and not distracted. Don’t talk too much or be too busy. Let your dæmon be a wise old man, ready and willing to do what is good and necessary. Be cheerful and independent.
  • If you find anything better and more satisfying than justice, truth, temperance or strength, embrace it with all your soul. If not, embrace the virtues because more sensually “pleasing” things are not good. They may seem better but they are not rationally better – only usual to that of an animal and not to that of a rational animal.
  • Don’t wish for profitable things that make you lose your self-respect, break your promises, hate anyone, curse, act the hypocrite or be too desirous of material goods. Preferring something over your dæmon and intelligence will corrode your soul sooner or later. You must be ready to die at any time because it can happen. You must turn towards what belongs to an intelligent and rational animal and a member of society.
  • A pure mind cannot be corrupted. He will be ready when he dies. Such a man is not servile, affected or attached.
  • Revere intelligence because that it is what allows you to learn what nature is and whether or not you are along those lines. Reason gives friendship, freedom from hasty judgment, and obedience to the gods.
  • Throw away everything but reason and good. Remember that the present is only a point in time. A man’s time is short and his place is small. Remembrance of people and things past is also short.
  • When you face something, define it and describe it in its substance. Name it and discover of what it has been compounded and into what it will resolve. Examine everything methodically. What is its use? What value does it have to the whole? What reference does it have to man? What is the nature of the thing to endure? What is its composition? What virtue do I need with respect to it? Gentleness, manliness, truth, fidelity, simplicity, contentment, etc.? You must say: this comes from God and this is a part of nature. This is of a particular sort and not like another sort. You must learn the value of each thing at each time.
  • You will be happy if you work seriously, vigorously, calmly, undistracted, purely, without expectations and satisfied with the work itself.
  • As doctors always have their instruments at the ready, have your principles ready to understand things divine and human, remembering in all things the bond that ties the divine and the human. You won’t do anything well without a reference to either.
  • Don’t wander aimlessly. You won’t have the time to read your own memoirs. Accomplish your goals and give up idle hopes.
  • Stealing, sowing, buying, keeping quiet, seeing what ought to be done aren’t things to behold by the eyes but of another sort of vision.
  • The body has sensation, the soul has appetites, the intelligence has principles. Even animals can receive impressions of things. They can have desire for things. Intelligence belongs to those without virtue. To man, to be please and content, modest and at peace is unique to humans with virtue.

 

Book IV

  • If you do things according to nature, then your work can adapt to events. The events could even make your work easier.
  • Do nothing without a purpose or against your principles.
  • People seek retreat in the country, the seaside or in the mountains. The purest place to retreat is in your soul. Tranquility is just good ordering of the mind. You should retreat often to renew yourself and cleanse your soul. Why aren’t you content? Because of others? Remember that rational animals are made for each other. Men only do wrong involuntarily. Think of all the people who died as a result of hate, suspicion and war. They’re all at peace now, together. Are you upset with your place in the universe? Remember that providence is in the concurrence of things and your place is just as significant as that of anyone or anything else. Perhaps corporeal things distract your mind or bother you? Your mind becomes detached from the body when it discovers its own power. This will remove your mind from pain and pleasure of the body. Perhaps fame drives you? Everything will die and be forgotten. What is left for you is to retire into yourself. Don’t distract or strain yourself. Be free. Be a man, a human, a citizen and a mortal. Things do not touch your soul. What disturbs the soul comes from within. The universe is changing. Learn to accept it.
  • If we all have an intelligence, then we all have reason in common. This leads to a law common to us. We are fellow citizens in a political community based on this law. This political community encompasses the entire human race. This community comes from our intellectual faculty, reasoning and capacity for law. Where do they come from? Our bodies come from the elements but what about intellect?
  • Death and birth are mysteries. We are composed of the elements and decompose into them. We should accept this.
  • We should allow life and death because we ourselves need them to live. You’ll be soon dead and will leave nothing behind.
  • If you ignore your own “opinions”, then you ignore your own complaints of harm done to you. If you do this, you will take away the harm.
  • What doesn’t make a man worse also doesn’t make his life worse. If it it doesn’t do that, it doesn’t harm either his body or his mind.
  • Only good can come from this fact.
  • Everything that happens is just if you study it well. Keep justice in your mind and you will be good and know what is good.
  • Don’t hold the same views as those who do you wrong. Try to find out the truth.
  • Keep two rules in mind:
    1. Only do what is according to reason.
    2. Change your opinion if you realize that you were wrong. It is humbling and difficult to realize and admit this.
  • If you have reason, use it. What else is it for?
  • You are a part of something. You come from the whole and your being will be received back into the whole.
  • Grains of frankincense fall from the altar but it doesn’t matter in what order they fall.
  • In a matter of days you will go from being seen a beast to being seen a god if you accept reason and principles.
  • Don’t act as if you’ll live forever. Death is near. Live a good life while you can.
  • You avoid a lot of trouble by ignoring what your neighbor says, does and thinks. Just do what seems to be just and pure.
  • Seeking posthumous fame is useless because everyone who will remember you will die and anyone who has heard of you will die too. Even if those who remember are immortal, what good is that to you when you’re dead? What good is praise without utility?
  • Everything has beauty in it. It isn’t given more by praising it. Even vulgar estimations of beauty – art and material things – they need nothing more. Does lack of praise diminish a thing?
  • Do souls continue to exist in eternity as bodies do in the earth? The earth keeps producing more life as the numbers of dead bodies increase.
  • With everything you do, keep justice in mind. When you confront something new, maintain your faculty of reason and understanding.
  • Everything that harmonizes with the universe, harmonizes with me. Nothing is too early or too late. All of the seasons bring fruit.
  • To be tranquil, keep very few things on your mind. Do what is necessary and what a social animal needs. Tranquility comes from doing things well. Doing unnecessary things takes away from us. Ask yourself about something: is this necessary?
  • Try to live a life of a man who is satisfied with life and his portion of the whole, his just acts and benevolent disposition.
  • Don’t disturb yourself. Be simple. Doing wrong is doing wrong to yourself. Do things according to the nature of the universe.
  • The universe is either ordered or chaotic. Can it be chaotic while your mind is ordered? If you separate the two, it can be.
  • A dark character is stubborn, childish, stupid, fake and tyrannical.
  • A stranger to the universe doesn’t understand it. He runs from reason. He is blind to understanding. He is poor to need more than what is useful in life. He is an abscess on the universe if he withdraws and separates himself from reason and nature.
  • A philosopher needs reason and when he has it, the other things he needs will follow.
  • Love your craft and be content with it. Act is if you’ve been entrusted with it by the gods.
  • Consider people’s lives and actions who lived long ago. They’re all dead now. All their great efforts are now forgotten. Remember that and do everything with the proper value and proportion.
  • Familiar words will be antiquated, as well as name. They all become tales and eventually are forgotten. There is no eternal remembrance.
  • Give yourself up to the fates and accept what they bring.
  • What you remember and what is remembered of you lasts only a day.
  • All things change and remember that the universe loves change and to make things new. Everything now is a seed for something else newer.
  • You will die soon. You aren’t simple yet, free of perturbations, without suspicion, without hurt, kindly to all or fully just. Do it while you can.
  • Examine men’s principles, both the wise and unwise, and what they pursue and avoid.
  • Evil is never a ruling principle because it cannot continue endlessly. It is only an opinion. Don’t form such opinions. Know that nothing is good or bad but they only happen to good men or bad men. It happens to these men equally.
  • Look at the universe as a living being with one substance and one soul. Look at how things have a reference to one perception and that of the living being. Look at how things change.
  • You are a small soul just carrying around a body.
  • It isn’t necessarily evil for things to change, nor is it necessarily good that they stay the same.
  • Time is a river of events. Once you see something, it’s gone and replaced by something else, and on and on…
  • Everything is already known, like the seasons – death, disease, calumny, treachery, etc.
  • In the progression of things, know that they are not disjointed but have a sequence and a rational connection. Even if they look unrelated, they are all in a harmonious relationship.
  • The elements change into one another and to forget this is to be out of harmony with nature. Reason governs the universe and to be out of touch with reason is to be asleep.
  • If you were told when it was exactly when you were going to die, would it make any difference when it would be? Live as though death will come tomorrow.
  • All people: doctors, astrologers, philosophers, heroes, tyrants, etc. – people who prevent death, predict death, thing about death, bring about death are dead or will die. Humans are ephemeral and worthless and will not be around forever. Be in tune with nature and cherish what life brings.
  • Be like a rock that waves break on to take the fury of the water. Ask why pain is a misfortune and why please a fortune.
  • Look at those who cling to life. Are they better off than those who died so much earlier? The time before life and after death is so large that they same to be the same length.
  • Run the short way – it is natural. Do everything with reason. This purpose frees man from war, trouble, artifice and ostentatious display

 

Book V

  • When you wake up unwillingly, remember that you are waking up to a human’s work. Why be unhappy with with work meant for humans? Were you made to stay in bed? The rest of the universe relishes in its work. Should you contradict nature? Sure, there’s time for rest but don’t go too far in your sloth. If you love yourself, you must love whatever nature has intended for you. People who love what they do, often do so at their own expense. Should you deprive society of what would benefit it?
  • It’s easy to escape trouble by just remaining calm.
  • Do what’s best for yourself and ignore what others say about it. They follow their own way, why shouldn’t you?
  • I do things according to nature because everything I am comes from nature.
  • If men don’t admire your wits, then portray something about yourself which is evident – something they cannot miss, whatever quality or trait that is. How many are there to display? If you would stop moaning about it, you might get better. You can’t get better if you’re busy moaning.
  • You can be one of three men: 1 – one doing a service and writing it down as something is owed in return. 2 – one not doing this service because he feels put out by it. 3 – a man who does the service and asks nothing in return. for it. No. 3 does like an animal that has done its job and goes on to its next task. Man is a social animal doing for his fellow man what is his natural job. If you do this, it will encourage others to do the same.
  • We shouldn’t pray, but if we do, it should be a simple and noble prayer.
  • Aesculapius – God of Health – prescribed certain activities or treatments. The universe prescribes certain fate. Some things in the universe fit together like bricks on a wall. Fitness is a harmony. Even if the prescriptions seem disagreeable, accept them because to do so is to accept harmony. You should be content with it because: 1 – it was prescribed especially for you and it is right for you. 2- your happiness depends on doing what is natural.
  • Don’t be too upset if you don’t do everything according to your principles. Just try to do so and be happy that most of what you do is according to your principles. Remember philosophy requires reason and doing what is natural. Ask: is what I’m doing right? What is better? What’s more agreeable than wisdom and understanding?
  • Things are often difficult to understand. Who we are changes. Who is the man who doesn’t change? Things are worthless and short-lived. Look at the morals of those around you. They may upset you. There is nothing worth a great pursuit except to comfort oneself and be comfortable with the nature of the universe.
  • I ask myself all the time: What am I using my soul for? What is my ruling principle? Whose soul do I have? A child’s? An old man’s? A tyrant’s? An animal’s?
  • If a man finds something good, he must have an idea of what good is. Ask what is good about any and everything.
  • Nothing comes from nothing. All your atoms will be reduced and changed into something else in the universe. You were once a completely different thing or being. You were begot as who you are and will beget something else later.
  • Reason and philosophy are sufficient for themselves and their own works. They move from a first principle and carry out their ends. This path is the right road.\
  • Possessions do not belong to a man. You do not need them, nature has promised you them. You goal or end isn’t them. What aids you in your goals isn’t your goal, although the things that help you are good. The more a man deprives himself, the better he is for the the loss.
  • Your habitual thoughts are the character of the mind. The soul is dyes with thoughts. Dye it with these: If a man can live somewhere, he can live well there. Everything’s purpose is what it was made for a carries towards it. The reasoning animal was made for society. Inferiors exists to support superior. That which has life is superior to that which doesn’t. Of the living, that which has reason is superior to that which doesn’t.
  • To see the impossible is crazy. To do so is bad.
  • A man is formed by nature to handle everything. Things happen again because a man doesn’t know it has happened or has shown that he is capable of handling it. It’s a pity that ignorance and conceit are stronger than wisdom.
  • Things do not touch the soul. They can’t turn or move it. It moves alone and the judgments it sees as proper to make about things move it.
  • Man is nearest to me because I must do good to him and endure him. When man is an obstacle to me he is so like any other. Men do not affect my disposition. The mind turns everything negative into a positive. Every hindrance or obstacle is aid in life.
  • Have reverence for what’s best in the universe – what makes use of and directs all things. Have reverence for what’s best in yourself. Make use of it and direct everything in life.
  • What doesn’t harm the state, doesn’t harm the citizen. Think: if the sate isn’t harmed by this, then I am not. If it does, don’t be angry with whoever does this but show him his error.
  • Think about how quickly things pass by and disappear. Substance is a flowing river and things are in constant change. Things happen in infinite varieties. Nothing is permanent. The things from before and the things of the future are endless. Don’t worry about how bothersome they are now because they will only annoy you for a moment.
  • Think of how small a part of the universe you are. Think of how small the time given to you is.
  • If another does you wrong, let him worry about it. He has his own activity and disposition. You have what nature has willed you to have and you must do whatever nature wills you to do.
  • Don’t let your soul be disturbed or influenced by physical things. Let your mind influence them. When they interest naturally, this is natural and you should let it happen.
  • If you live with the gods, you should show them that you are satisfied with what has been given to you and are are doing all that your dæmon wishes. The dæmon was given to all by Zeus as a guardian and guide and is everyone’s understanding and reason.
  • Foul and stinky things come from foul and stinky places. If people’s smells offend you, there is a reason and you should tell them.
  • Respond to the elements because it is what nature has intended. When there is danger, leave. When there isn’t, then there is no reason to leave.
  • The nature of the universe is social. Inferior things are for the benefit of superior things. Things are subordinated, coordinated and assigned to others – in their proper place.
  • Think of how you behave towards others around you. Live to this expression: “Never has wronged a man in deed or word.” Think of the beautiful things you’ve see, the pleasure and pain, the honors you’ve spurned and the nasty people you’ve been nice to.
  • Do silly and ignorant people disturb the wise? If you know beginning and end, you will know the reason in all substances and time.
  • You’ll soon be ashes, a skeleton, a name, or no name – a name is just sound and echo. The valued things in life are hollow. Fidelity, modesty and justice are holy. If things change constantly, your organs of perception are dull and are fooled easily. Repute is empty. Tranquility is worth of your efforts. What’s worthy is to venerate and observe the gods, to do good to men, and to practice tolerance and self-restraint.
  • Happiness and the right way are attainable. These are of the soul and god. You must hold on to justice and practice it.
  • Don’t get wrapped up in appearances. Give help to all with your ability. Losing in domains of no importance doesn’t matter. It’s merely from bad habit. Focus on good emotions and good actions.

 

Book VI

  • The substance of the universe is obedient and compliant. The ruling of the universe is not evil, harms no one and isn’t harmed by anything. Everything is based on reason.
  • Warmth and cold are the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing your duty drowsy or sleepy, praised or rubbished, living or dying. It’s all a part of like. What matters is that we do it well.
  • Introspect and pay attention to the details.
  • Everything soon changes. It will become one or be dispersed.
  • Reason knows its own disposition: what it is and what it does.
  • Vengeance is not become like your wrong-doer.
  • Take pleasure in one thing and bring with you in all things.
  • Ruling principles perpetuates themselves and become what they are and what they should be.
  • The universe is either chaos or order. If it’s chaos, be ready for anything. It won’t matter in the end. If it’s order, trust in your reason and principles.
  • Everything is done in the nature of the universe – not in other natures.
  • If you become upset, go back to being yourself. You must maintain your harmony.
  • Treat the court and philosophy as step mother and mother. Be faithful to the first but stay most loyal to the second.
  • Remember what food and drink really are. See what things really are. Don’t let appearances pervert reason. You’ll only cheat yourself.
  • People refer to general things by name. More reasonable men refer to things linked by principle or a rational soul. Those men refer  to only this.
  • Things are born and die quickly. The living are dying. Change and motion renew the world. In the stream of life, hurried things don’t have a higher price. Once you’ve seen it, it’s gone.
  • Fame and praise are given to things for being what they are and doing what they do. If you give up looking for fame, what left that’s worth of doing?
  • The elements move all around us. But virtue never moves in them. It is divine and its path is rarely observed.
  • People are strange. They praise the dead and ridicule the living. They seek glory in posterity by those whom they’ll never know. Those in the past before  your time never praised you.
  • If something is hard, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If anything is impossible and comfortable to nature, it can be attained.
  • In a race, we are not vexed by one who claws at us to win. We are guarded against him but we are not enemies. Be like this in life – guarded but not suspicious or hateful.
  • If someone is able to convince me that I am wrong, I will change. The truth cannot injure you – only abiding in error and ignorance.
  • I do my duty. I am not worried about other things because they lack life, reason or direction.
  • Because you have reason, make use of things and animals that do not. Be of a social spirit with humans. Call on the gods but do not count the hours that you do.
  • Alexander the Great and his servant reached the same end. Either they were part of the design of the universe or they were dispersed into atoms.
  • Think of all things in the universe – of the body and of the soul – that exist and all that is to come.
  • Every duty has its parts. You must observe and not be disturbed. Don’t show anger towards others and do what must be done.
  • You must allow others to pursue what is favorable and natural to them. But if it is not suitable, tell them.
  • Death is the stopping of senses, desires, thoughts and the flesh.
  • It’s sad that the soul often dies before the body.
  • Don’t become the Cæsar. Keep your life simple, pure, serious, free of affectation, just kind, affectionate, reverent to the gods and strenuous. Revere the gods and help others. Life is short.  Conform to reason. Don’t be in a hurry. Be satisfied with very little. Keep friendships. Allow freedom of speech. Be prepared to have a clear conscience for whenever death comes.
  • Keep your calm, free of worry and an even temper.
  • You are a body and a soul. The body has limitations and imperfects. Remember that your thoughts and activities are for the present.
  • Your hand’s labor and foot’s labor aren’t contrary to nature. But the hand’s work is for the hand and the foot’s work is for the foot. Don’t do what is contrary to nature.
  • “How many pleasure have been enjoyed by the robbers, patricides, tyrants.”
  • Doctors and architects are more devoted to their work than man is to reason which is common to him and the gods. Work like them.
  • Asia and Europe are the corners of the universe but only a drop in its sea. The present is a point in time. Everything is small, changeable and perishable. All terrible events and things come from great and beautiful things.
  • If you’ve seen all things from the present, you’ve seen all things in eternity. They’re all related.
  • Think of the relation of all things to each other – their implications, their sequences and mutual movements.
  • Adapt to what comes your way – the people and experience you’ve known. Love them all.
  • Every tool has its proper function. Things held together by nature have a power inside that made them. Revere this power. If you do and live by this will, all in you will have a conformity to intelligence and reason.
  • Everything within your power can be used for good or evil. Don’t think of these things as good and evil but what is done with them.
  • We are all working together, each in his own way, as a part of the design of the universe. We all cooperate differently. The universe has a place for all kinds.
  • Each part of the universe has a place but they may serve very different functions.
  • If I have a fate, the gods must have good reason. Think about your role and how you fit in. If there is no fate, then don’t implore the gods to change things, you can change them yourself.
  • Every man is for the interest of the universal. Whatever is good for one is good for all. Good is in the sense of what’s common to all.
  • As in theaters, the same play is played over and over and is boring. The sameness of life is tiresome.
  • All the great men, all the evil men, all the same men and all the good men are all dead men. What does it matter if their names are remembered? Lead a good life and treat others well.
  • When you want to be happy, think of the people around you. They all have some form of the virtues and you must appreciate them and use them as examples.
  • You aren’t dissatisfied about trivial matters such as weight. Length of life should hold no more importance than that.
  • You may act against others when justice leads you to. If he uses force, retreat into your virtues and let them guide you.
  • For one who seeks fame, others’ activity is his good. For one who seeks pleasure, his sensations are his good. For one who has understanding, his acts are his good.
  • We can ignore things and not be disturbed by them. Things have no good or bad to them. Listen carefully to others and be in the speaker’s mind.
  • What is bad for the swarm is bad for the bee.
  • If sailors abuse the helmsman and patients abuse the doctors, who do they listen to? How could the helmsman or doctor do their duties when abused?
  • Think of all the people you know who aren’t still alive.
  • False opinion is like making honey bitter and men rabid.
  • No man can stop you from living according to reason and the nature of the universe.
  • Who are those whom men wish to please? For what objects and by which acts?

 

Book VII

  • What is badness? You’ve seen if before. We see the same stories over and over again. Learn what they are.
  • Our principles die when our thoughts of them die. You must keep them alive. Keep out external things that distract you. Recover your life because it’s in your power.
  • All acts of show are the same. When it the midst of them, show good humor and humility. A man is worth as much as what he busies himself with.
  • In discourse, pay attention to what is said and what the meaning behind it is.
  • Is my understanding enough? If yes, I should for work according to nature. If not, I should yield to one who does understand, or I should apply my principles along with the learned advice.
  • Those celebrates are dead or will die. Those who have celebrated others die too.
  • Don’t be ashamed to ask for help or to be helped. Do your duty and if you need help, then you must ask for it to complete your duty.
  • Don’t be worried about future things. They will come and your present reason will help you with them.
  • Things are tied together. There is almost nothing untied to something. They combine to make the same universe. There is one substance, one law, one reason and one truth.
  • All things dissipate into the whole and memory will be lost in time.
  • To rational animals, the same act is both according to nature and reason.
  • Be erect or be made erect.
  • Just like members of a body, humans exist unto themselves, yet are made to be together. If you say you are a part of something, then you feel this way. If you say that you aren’t a part of this something, then you do not love others. You do things but not with love and beneficence.
  • Let what happens happen. You can complain if you like, but there is no evil behind things.
  • Whatever anyone says or does, be good. Remain what you are in your nature.
  • The ruling faculty is not disturbed, frightened or caused pain by itself. If another can, let him. The body can take care of itself and when it speaks, listen to it. The soul is what is subject to fear and pain and it has the power to overcome these things.
  • Happiness is a good thing or a dæmon. Retreat into yourself.
  • Are you afraid of change? What is more suitable to nature? You can’t bathe without the material of the tub changing. You can’t eat without the food changing. Nothing can happen without change.
  • The universe is flowing and all of us are caught up in its stream.
  • What troubles me is that I may do something that the constitution of man doesn’t allow or in a way it doesn’t allow or doesn’t allow right now.
  • You will forget everything and be forgotten by all.
  • Only man can love those who do wrong. If they do it to you, know they are your kin, they do so out of ignorance, and they have done you no real harm because they haven’t harmed your ruling faculty.
  • The universal nature molds the universal substance like wax into shapes and breaks it down to make other shapes. These shapes don’t last long.
  • Scowling is unnatural and if done often will render a person unattractive. Try to incorporate this reasoning into your thoughts.
  • Nature governs everything and will soon change everything.
  • When a man does wrong to you, consider what the good and evil is. If you do, you will either pity him for his act of ignorance or you won’t be angry at all. You must pardon him because he is in error.
  • Think more about what you have than what you don’t have. Then think about the best things that you have and how much you’d need them if you didn’t have them. Don’t overvalue or undervalue them or be upset if you don’t have them.
  • Retire into yourself. Natural principle is being content, doing what is just and finding tranquility.
  • Wipe out your imagination. Don’t pull strings. Focus on the present. Understand what is happening to you and to others. Distribute things and divide them into causal and material. Let the wrong done to you stay in the past.
  • Understand what is doing the action and what is receiving it.
  • Be modest, simple and indifferent to what lies between vice and virtue. Love mankind. Follow mankind. Remember that law rules all.
  • Death: whether it is a dispersion, disintegration or annihilation, it is extinction or change.
  • Pain: intolerable pain kills us. What lasts a long time is tolerable. The mind retains tranquility by retreating into itself. It can only hurt your body, learn to accept it.
  • Fame: Look at those who seek it – who they are, what they do and what they avoid. Remember all that came before them and all that came after them.
  • Plato: Elevated minds think of all time, substance and if it is possible to think human life is great? No. But then death is no evil, either.
  • Antisthenes: It is royal to do good and be abused.
  • It is a base thing for countenance to be obedient and regulate itself as the mind wants and for the mind not to be regulated and composed by itself.
  • Don’t get angry at things. They don’t care.
  • To the gods, and give us joy.
  • Life is like ears of corn: one man is born. Another dies.
  • If the gods don’t care about me or my children, there must be a reason.
  • The good and just are with me.
  • Don’t join with others in crying or violent emotion.
  • Plato: Since we don’t know if death is worse than life, let’s focus on being just.
  • Plato: Wherever a man finds himself in the best place or placed by a commander, he should stay there.
  • Plato: Reflect whether what is noble and good is not different from saving and being saved.
  • Look at the stars as if you were going with them. Consider the changing elements and purge thoughts of terrene life.
  • Plato: When talking about men, talk as though you were perched above them, viewing their activities, assemblies and emotions – a mixture of contradictions.
  • Consider the past and all the change the world sees. Things will resemble the past just as the future will resemble today.
  • Euripides: What grows on earth comes from a heavenly seed and will return to the heavens.
  • With all the advances we create from the earth’s resources, we must accept the winds that annoy us.
  • One may be better at casting his opponent but not more social, modest, disciplined, considerate with respect to the faults of his neighbors.
  • When work is done comfortably to reason and the gods, there’s nothing to fear. There is no harm in profiting by work according to what is good.
  • It is always in your power to acquiesce piously and behave justly to those around you, and use your skills in the present thoughts and nothing can enter them without examination.
  • Don’t look at others’ ruling principles but straight ahead to where nature leads you. Everyone must do what he is capable of. Every man’s prime principle is the social. The second is not to give in to temptation. Follow reason and nature.
  • Consider yourself to be dead and your life has been completed up to the present. From this moment forward, live according to reason.
  • Love only what has happened to you and in your destiny. What more suitable for you?
  • All the people who have been vexed – what’s happened to them? They are nowhere. Forget all the agitations. Just use to your own good what fate brings you. Use them well.
  • Your source of good is within you. Look within to find it and make use of it.
  • The body should be compact and show no irregularity in motion and attitude. The mind maintains intelligence and propriety, so should the body.
  • The art of life is a wrestler’s, not a dancer’s. Stand stead and firm to meet the unexpected.
  • Observe those whose approbation you want and what their ruling principles are.
  • Every soul is involuntarily deprived of the truth. So then it is deprived of justice, temperance and benevolence. Remember that and be gentle to all.
  • With every pain, know there’s no shame in it. It doesn’t ruin intelligence or the rational. Pain is neither intolerable or everlasting. It has limits. Many disagreeable things are the same as pain – drowsiness, heat, no appetite. When you are affected, say that you are yielding to pain.
  • Don’t feel towards the inhuman as they do towards man.
  • How is Telauges worse than Socrates? Socrates died a more noble death, disputed better, had greater endurance and he refused ignoble orders. About Socrates’s soul, he was pious to the gods, not vexed by villains, just to men and lived with understanding.
  • Nature has allowed a divine man to to be recognized as one. Very little is needed for a happy life.
  • You are able to live free from compulsion and in tranquility even in a hostile world. Men mas see you not as you are. Everything good has a relationship to nature and god.
  • Perfect moral character is in every day not being wildly exciting, lethargic or a hypocrite.
  • The immortal aren’t vexed because they tolerate constantly bad men. You aren’t but you feel the right to complain? Impossible.
  • It’s ridiculous not to fly from your own badness but to fly from other men’s badness. Impossible.
  • Whatever the rational and social faculty finds not intelligent or social is found to be inferior.
  • If you’ve done a good act and another has received it, why look to get a reputation or look for a good act in return?
  • No one is tired of the useful. It’s useful to act according to nature. Don’t tire of receiving by doing it to others.
  • The nature of all made the universe. Everything is a continuing consequence.

 

Book VIII

  • You have strayed from the philosophers’ path. Don’t seek fame. Remember to stay on track what distracts you. Devote the rest of your life observing and then following what nature wills. This means discovering nature’s principles, making them your own and following them.
  • When faced with a decision to act, ask yourself: How is this with respect to me? What will be the result? Am I doing this for my own small desires or is my action a part of the nature of the universe?
  • What is the difference between the emperors and the philosophers? They were all familiar with the forms, causes and matter, and their ruling principles were the same. But count the things that they had to care for and how many things they were slaves to.
  • Men will repeat themselves and each other, no matter what you do.
  • Don’t worry about things because they are universal and soon you’ll be dead and they won’t matter anymore. Just know that it’s your duty to be a good man, to do what nature demands and to live with modesty and without hypocrisy.
  • It is the nature of the universe to change things and to take them away. Everything changes, so we shouldn’t fear what is new.
  • Nature is that is going its own way. When in its thoughts, it accepts nothing false, it directs movement to social acts, confines desires and aversions to things in its power, and is satisfied with what is assigned to it. The nature of man is to be a part of universal nature, not an impediment to it.
  • You have the ability to rise above pleasure and pain, love of fame, vexations of the stupid and ungrateful, and also to care for them.
  • Don’t let others catch you complaining about  your public or private life.
  • To repent is self-reproof for neglecting something useful. You should look after what is good and useful. But since pleasure is neither good nor bad, you shouldn’t repent it.
  • What is the thing in itself? What is its substance and material? What is its causal nature? Why is it in the world? How does it subsist?
  • When you rise in the morning, remember to fulfill your social purpose. Each individual’s nature is unique to him and a part of nature.
  • With every moment, remember the impression on the soul and apply the principles of the Physic, Ethic and Dialectic.
  • When you meet someone, ask yourself: what is good and bad to him? How does he feel about pleasure and pain? What causes them? What about fame and ignominy? Life and death? You will then know him.
  • It’s silly to be surprised that figs come from fig trees. Also if a doctor or helmsman is surprised that a patient has a fever or the wind is unfavorable.
  • Change your opinion if you’re wrong.
  • If you an, correct what the cause is. If not, correct what you can. If you can’t at all, why find any fault? Nothing should be without purpose.
  • Dying things are still a part of the universe. They stay and change, dissolve or join up with other things. Nothing disappears or remains the same.
  • Everything has a purpose. The sun, a horse or a vine. Figure out what your purpose is and follow it.
  • Nature assigns nothing any greater purpose to one thing than another. What good is something to one thing without being good to another?
  • Turn the thing inside out. Examine it. When does it grow old or diseased? The praiser and the praised are short-lived. As are the rememberer and the remembered and the large and the small.
  • Keep the matter at hand. If you put it off, you are putting off  being good until tomorrow, instead of today.
  • Is what I’m doing for the good of mankind? Do I receive what’s happening to me with reference to the gods – the source of all things, including good?
  • Just as with bathing – oil, dirt and sweat are all a part of life, just as everything else disgusting.
  • All great men have died or will die. Some of them are not even remembered. Remember that you can’t live forever, even in name.
  • It’s best for a man to act with benevolence to his fellow man because it is in his nature for a man to do good acts for himself and those like him.
  • There are three relations between you and other things: to the body, to the divine cause and to those living with you.
  • Pain is either evil to the mind or body. But only the soul can maintain its own power over itself.
  • You must say to yourself – I reject the badness in my soul and any perturbations. I see what is in nature and want it in me.
  • Speak to those in high and low places without affectation and in plain discourse.
  • All the royals of the past are dead. Think of all the pains they went through to preserve themselves and what the results were.
  • It is your duty to live well in every act, to be contented and not to hinder others’ good acts.
  • “Receive wealth or prosperity without arrogance, and be ready to let it go.”
  • If you are detached from the social unity, it is in your power to reunite.
  • A rational animal is able to make hindrances his own material to his advantage.
  • Don’t contemplate the whole of your life. Don’t think of all the troubles will have throughout your life. Neither the past or the future should pain you, only the present. Even this is small and insignificant.
  • Why weep for or revere the dead? They aren’t conscious of it. If they were, would they be pleased? Would it matter if they were and they weren’t gods?
  • If you can see, look and judge wisely.
  • There is no virtue opposed to justice in a rational animal. But temperance is opposed to pleasure and love.
  • If you ignore your thoughts about what pains you, you’re in perfect security. What is that? Reason. But you are not reason. Just let it be itself and not let it be troubled by anything else.
  • Hindrance to sense and movement is an evil to animal nature. Whatever is hindrance to intelligence is an evil to it. If pain and pleasure hinder you, they are evil because they impede you from doing what is in your nature.
  • You should not give yourself pain just as you should not give it to others.
  • Different things please different people. What pleases me is to keep the ruling faculty sound without turning away from men and using everything according to nature.
  • Secure the present for yourself. Leave the future and the past to those who seek posthumous fame.
  • Let fate do as it will because you are still able to remain tranquil in your mind. Why should your soul be unhappy because of where you are?
  • Everything that happens is usual and according to nature. Nature can’t do to you what can’t be borne by you.
  • Only your judgment can pain you. Your own disposition gives you pain. If you cannot overcome something, it is nature’s will for you not to. He who dies in full activity is content with the obstacles in life.
  • The ruling faculty is invincible and pleased with itself. A mind free from passions is a citadel. He who doesn’t know this is ignorant and unhappy.
  • Say no more than what is in first appearances. Add nothing more from within, like your opinion or emotions. Respond like a man who knows everything that happens in the world.
  • Cast aside what isn’t useful to you. But don’t mistake these things as useless in the universe. Everything is a consequence of nature and is a part of it and is content with its own space and way.
  • Don’t be sluggish in action, without method in conversation, wandering in thoughts or too busy for leisure. How do you possess within you a perpetual fountain and not just a well? Constantly form yourself to freedom with contentment, simplicity and modesty.
  • If you don’t understand what the world is, you don’t know where you are. If you don’t know why it exists, you don’t know who you are or what the world is. Why does it matter if people praise or applaud if they don’t know where or who they are?
  • Do you wish to please a man who doesn’t please himself? Or repents everything he does?
  • Let your breathing act in harmony with the air around as your intelligence is in harmony with all that’s around it.
  • Wickedness doesn’t harm the universe, not even one man’s to another. Only to those who have it in their power to be released from it.
  • My free will is indifferent to that of my neighbor because we are made for each other.
  • You should be outpouring and effusive of understanding like the sun’s rays – there will be no collision with obstacles and you will enlighten everything that receives it.
  • To fear death is to fear the loss of sensation or a different sort of sensation. No sensation is no harm. Different sensation means continued existence and no death.
  • Mean are meant for each other. Teach them or learn to tolerate them.
  • When the mind exercises caution or is employed in inquiry, it is moving forward.
  • Enter into another man’s mind and let others into yours.

 

Book IX

  • If you act unjustly, you act impiously. The gods want you to act according to reason and since when you act unjustly, you act unreasonably, you are disobeying the gods’ will. Therefore you are impious. Furthermore, finding fault with the universal nature is to question the gods.
  • It would be ideal to live without lying, hypocrisy, luxury and pride. It is good when a man tires of these things because they are corruptions and illnesses towards men.
  • Don’t despise death but appreciate it because it is a part of nature. It is a part of nature to be born, to be young, to grow old, to mature, to age, to have children, along with all of life’s functions, including death. Think of all the things you are a part of and all the things that are a part of your life. Soon you will no longer be connected to them.
  • When you do wrong, you do so against yourself. When you act unjustly, you are unjust to yourself because in the act you make yourself bad.
  • When you act unjustly often, there’s something you haven’t been doing, not just one thing you have only been doing.
  • Your present opinion is based on understanding and present conduct is for the social good and present disposition of contentment with everything.
  • Keep your imagination and desire in check. Extinguish your appetite and keep the ruling faculty in power.
  • Animals without reason are given one life. Animals with reason are given one intelligent soul. Just as in nature we see from one light, breathe one air, we all have vision and life.
  • All things of a similar nature move towards the same goal. The elements seek things of the same element. They need a force to bind them. Everything of the same intelligence moves in the same manner. Even in non-reasoning animals, they bind together to continue to exist. This unity exists in superior things too. When men try to avoid or break this union, they lose to the strength of nature trying to bind them again.
  • Man and god produce fruit in their own seasons. Reason produces fruit for all and for itself.
  • If you can, correct wrong by teaching. Remember any indulgence you have is for this purpose.
  • Don’t work as to be pitied or admired. Direct yourself to work and keep at it and nothing else.
  • Today I got all trouble out of the way. It wasn’t outside but inside, in my mind.
  • All things are the same, ephemeral and worthless. They haven’t changed over time, either.
  • Things outside of us know nothing and think nothing. Only those who have the ruling faculty can do this.
  • Only in activity do good and evil of a rational animal lie. Only in it do virtue and vice lie.
  • It’s not evil for a thrown stone to land just as it was not good for it to rise.
  • Look at men’s leading principles and you will see what they are afraid of and what kind of judges they are.
  • Everything is changing, including you and is being destroyed.
  • It’s your duty to leave another’s wrongful act where it is.
  • Endings are not evil. Every change is a sort of death. There was never anything to fear about these changes.
  • Examine your ruling faculty, the universe and your neighbor. You can make yours just. You know you are a part of the universe. You know that while he may make mistakes, your neighbor’s faculty is akin to yours.
  • Since you are a part of the social, let your acts be a part of it. Let your acts be fore that purpose and if they aren’t it will be to your own detriment.
  • We see things clearly when we see extreme examples of them.
  • Examine the form of a thing and detach it from the whole. Then see its nature and how it fits.
  • Your troubles come from not being content with your ruling faculty.
  • When you’ve been insulted, hated or injured, approach the aggressor’s soul and see what kind of a man he is. You will see for one reason or another that there is no reason to return the action.
  • The movements of the universe are the same. The universe either moves every time or just once. The earth will reclaim us. Reflect on the change but know what it really is.
  • The universe carries everything with it. People wrapped up in the trivialities of life should turn to philosophy instead. Be happy when things go well and learn when they don’t.
  • Be free of external perturbations and let justice in your internal thoughts.
  • You have the ability to rid yourself of useless things just by removing them from your mind.
  • Everything you see is temporary and we are all just spectators to the change.
  • To see a man’s leading principle is to see his bare soul.
  • Loss is just change. Why must you carry on thinking that nature is evil because it changes?
  • All things beautiful, ugly, great and small are a part of the universe and should be accepted as such.
  • What is disturbing you? What is new? What unsettles you? Look to the gods for this in simplicity and you will know the nature of things.
  • If a man’s done wrong, it’s mostly to himself or not at all.
  • Things either come together or disperse. Why should this bother you?
  • If the gods have no power, why pray to them? If they do, why aren’t you using the ruling faculty they’ve given you to deal with things? Use prayer if you must to meditate on how to be in accordance with reason.
  • Do as Epicurus, even in sickness, do not abandon philosophy because it is really all you have.
  • It is not possible that shame and foolish men do not exist. Be kind to them and use virtue to oppose their acts. When their bad actions affect you, it is your own fault for not using your abilities to avoid or oppose these acts.

 

Book X

  • Will my soul never be naked, content, pleasant and satisfied? The gods will provide all that you need to be this way?
  • Observe what nature requires. Do it and accept it. Living beings will not be made worse by it. Learn what nature requires of living beings and do it. Learn what it requires of rational beings. Learn the rules, use them and things will be fine.
  • Everything happens at the hand of nature for you to bear it or not bear it. Complaints will not change anything. Anything can be bearable if you allow your mind to bear it.
  • If someone is wrong, correct him. If you are not able, take the blame if you can, or not.
  • Whatever happens has been fated and was caused by the spinning eternity to your being.
  • No matter what nature is, you are a part of it. You are made of similar matter. You shouldn’t be unhappy with your construction. Nature can’t be changed by anything outside of it. Since you are a part of the whole, do your actions with respect to the whole.
  • The parts of the universe must perish and undergo change. It must happen but you must not be vexed by it because that is how nature functions and it cannot be any other way. Know that the universe belongs to you only in your time until you, yourself change.
  • When you are called good, just, rational, etc., be sure people continue to call you that by continuing to be those things. Rise above the matters of the flesh and towards those of the soul. That is by staying true to reason and acting according to nature.
  • The activities of every day will cause you to lose track of your principles. Treat your principles like muscles that need regular exercise to remain strong and useful to you.
  • Trapping one’s prey is not something to be proud of. You are a robber when you examine the mentality of a hunter.
  • Be contemplative about how things change. Practice philosophy and you will do justice in all your actions. This only happens when you resign yourself to the universal nature and forgo all bodily things in favor of divine things.
  • Suspicious fear is useless because you are able to figure out what needs to be done. If you don’t know, take time out to examine things and find out. If you follow reason in all things, you will be tranquil.
  • Ask whether or not it mattes if another does what is just and right. It doesn’t.
  • The modest and instructed man says to nature: give what you want, take what you want. He says this without pride, but obediently and contentedly.
  • There’s not much left of life. Live as if you were on a mountain, as if you can see everywhere. Live according to nature. There is no better life.
  • Don’t talk about what a good man is. Be one.
  • Contemplate constantly all of time and substances and consider everything in its place in its substance as if it were about to die.
  • Look at things as they are in change and dispersing.
  • Consider what a man is when he sleeps, eats, generates, relaxes, etc. Then what they are when they are arrogant and angry. Then how their state and condition have changed in a short time.
  • What the universal brings is good for each thing. When it comes is also good.
  • Love what the universe brings and whatever changes come.
  • Either you are where you live and are accustomed to it or you are passing through. Either way you are dying. Beyond doing your duty, there is nothing.
  • One piece of land is like any other and all things are same on the mountain or on the shore.
  • What is my ruling faculty to me? How am I using it? Does it have understanding? Is it used for the social?
  • The law is the master and he who flees it or breaks it is a runaway. A man is angry, grieved or afraid because something  has or will be appointed by him who rules all and is the law and master.
  • See what is produced in a hidden way, like a child, and try to see it plainly.
  • Think of what is now and how it was before. All the forms of things: great and small are all just plays on a stage.
  • Imagine angry and unhappy people just as pigs about to be slaughtered. He laments the bonds that hold him.
  • Ask if death is bad because it takes all of this away from you.
  • When offended, think to yourself, how do I err myself? Seeking riches, fame, etc.? You’ll then forget your anger.
  • Nobody knows what has become of all the men who have lived and are now dead. Remembering them won’t make the world a better place anyway.
  • Be simple and good.
  • Everything is conformable to reason. Reason and intelligence will be tested but can always pass the tests.
  • A brief existence is common to all things.
  • A healthy understanding should be prepared for everything that happens.
  • Nobody is happier than a dying man who is happy that it is happening. He accepts what nature brings to him.
  • Ask constantly why am I doing this? Begin with yourself, ask and examine yourself.
  • Remember what pulls a thing is hidden within: persuasion. What is within in separate from its container.

 

Book XI

  • The rational sou: sees itself, analyses itself, makes itself what it chooses, enjoys the fruit it bears and obtains its own end – wherever the limits are fixed. It traverses the whole of the universe, extends itself to the infinity of time, embraces and comprehends the periodical renovation of all things, that nothing is really new. It loves one’s neighbor, truth and honesty, and values nothing more than itself. Right reason doesn’t differ from the reason of justice.
  • Place little value on song, dance and sport. If you sing, ask if you are good. If you dance and do sports, ask if your movements are even. In everything, except virtue and its acts, apply yourself to their several parts and with the division of those parts from the whole, you’ll value these parts very little.
  • A ready soul is ready to be separated from the body, ready to be extinguished, dispersed or cease to exist. The readiness comes from your judgment considerately, with dignity and to persuade others without tragic show.
  • If I’ve done something for the general interest then I have already have my reward. Never stop doing such good.
  • What is your purpose? To be good. How can you do this without general principles, without being in accordance to the nature of the universe and without the proper constitution of man.
  • Tragedies are put on stage to remind men that things happen to them according to nature. If you are pleased to show them on stage, don’t be surprised when they happen in life.
  • There is not another moment in life better suited for philosophy than right now.
  • A man separated from society is like a branch cut off from a tree. But this man is like a branch that cuts itself off of a tree. This detachment makes it difficult to come back in to unity. The tree continues to grow but the man withers.
  • When people attempt to block you from proceeding in accordance with reason, don’t let them block you but also don’t let them stop you from being benevolent towards them. It is a weakness to be angry with them and diverted from the path of reason just as it is to try to divert another from reason.
  • Art is the most inferior nature because it imitates nature. Nature which is perfect and most comprehensive of all can’t be inferior to art. Art does all inferior things for the sake of the superior – the universal nature does so too. This is the origin of justice and all other virtues have their basis in justice. If we care more for things inferior to justice, are easily deceived, careless and changeable, justice will not be observed.
  • If things don’t come to you and this bothers you, you are still moving towards them. Don’t worry about them and your movement will continue.
  • The soul is a sphere that doesn’t extend towards or contract from any object. It is illuminated by light by which it sees truth, of all things and the truth in itself.
  • Men may hate you but don’t do or say anything deserving of contempt. If he hates you, it is his problem. Be mild and benevolent to everyone. Be ready to correct mistakes kindly, making no display, nobly and honestly. A man should not be dissatisfied or complain. What is evil to you, if you are agreeable with your own nature and are satisfied with the nature of the nature, is suitable to the nature of the universe and is for the common advantage in some way.
  • Men hate and flatter one another. They wish to raise themselves above one another and to crouch before one another.
  • It is unsound and insincere to claim to deal with others in a fair way. It will be soon shown by your acts. The man who is honest and good ought to smell of it to be plain to others to know whether they choose or not. Nothing is worse than a false friendship. The good, simple and benevolent are plain to see.
  • It is in the power of your soul to live best. The soul will be indifferent to indifferent things and will show no opinion of them. We must wipe out judgment on them and not give them much attention. If they are in accordance to nature, they will bring you joy, if not, seek what is in accordance to your nature.
  • Think of where things come from, what they consist of, what they change into and what they will be when they do change.
  • If offended against, consider:
    • What is my relation to others and that we are made for each other. It is nature that orders all things. And this nature is then inferior things are for the sake of the superior.
    • Consider what kind of men they are. What compulsions with respect to opinions they have, their acts and their pride.
    • If men do what they do rightly, you mustn’t be displease. If they don’t do right, they act out of ignorance. Every soul is unwilling deprived of the truth.
    • You do many things wrong and you are a man like others. Even if you don’t do some things wrong you still can make mistakes either through cowardice, pride or mean motives.
    • You may not know if they are wrong or not because men act under very different circumstances.
    • However pained or angry you are, your life is just a moment and pain or angry won’t matter soon.
    • It isn’t acts that disturb us but our own opinion of them. Remove the opinion, resolve to dismiss judgment and your anger is gone. How? Don’t be ashamed of the act, unless you wish to be a wrong doer.
    • More pain is brought on by the response of pain and anger than the act inflicting it itself.
    • A good disposition is invincible if it is genuine and not affected. Gently admonish and correct the aggressor when the offense occurs.
  • Four aberrations of superior faculty to be on guard for:
    • destroying social union
    • your speech isn’t from real thoughts
    • the thought isn’t necessary
    • reproaching yourself for anything
  • The elements of your body behave according to the nature of the universe. It isn’t strange that only the intelligence disobeys nature? Moving away from justice and temperance to anger and fear is deviating from nature.
  • There isn’t always one opinion about everything and only one about some things. These are to work towards the common interest.
  • Think of the country and town mouse and the alarm and trepidation of the town mouse.
  • Socrates called the opinions of the many the bugbears of children.
  • Lacedæmonians had shade at spectacles for strangers but themselves sat everywhere.
  • Socrates excused himself to Perdiccas for not going to him, saying, It is because I would not perish by the worst of all ends, that is, I would not receive a favor and then be unable to return it.
  • The Ephesians sat and thought of men of the past who were virtuous.
  • Pythagoras tells us to look at the heavens to be reminded of those that perform the same functions in the same manner, in purity and nudity.
  • Consider what Socrates was when his friends were embarrassed by his clothes.
  • You can’t lay down the rules for others until you’ve learned them yourself.
  • You are a slave. Free speech is not for you.
  • My heart laughed within.
  • They will curse virtue, speaking harsh words.
  • To look for a fig in winter is the act of a mad man.
  • Nothing is a bad omen that expresses the work of nature. If so, it is a bad omen to speak of corn being reaped.
  • An unripe grade, a ripe bunch, a dried grape. These are all changes, not into nothing but into something that doesn’t exist yet.
  • No man can rob us of our free will
  • Epictetus: A man must discover an art or rules with respect to giving his assent. With respect to his movements, he must be careful of the circumstances consistent with social interests, value of the object, away from sensual desire and no aversion to anything not in our power.
  • The dispute is not about common matter but being mad or not.
  • Socrates asked: Do you want the souls of irrational men? – Rational. – Sound or unsound? – Sound. – Why  don’t you seek them? – Because we have them already. – Then why fight and quarrel?

 

Book XII

  • Take no notice of the past. Trust the future to Providence. Direct the present to justice and piety. With piety, be content with your lot in life. With justice, speak the truth freely without disguise, doing things agreeable with the law. Don’t let men’s wickedness hinder you, nor words, nor sensations of the flesh. Respect only your ruling faculty and divinity within. Don’t be afraid because you must at some point cease to live. Only fear because you have never begun to live according to nature. Then you will be worthy of the universe that has made you. You will cease to wonder at things that happen everyday as they were unexpected. You will cease to be dependent on anything.
  • God sees all men’s minds through whatever they use to hide them. He touches only the intelligence of only that which has derived from him. If you use only this, you will rid yourself of a lot of trouble. If you don’t regard the flesh, you won’t be troubled with any of the vices.
  • You are composed of three things: a body, breath/life  and intelligence. The first two are yours so far as it’s your duty to take care of them. The third is properly yours. Anything that happens to your body and life happens independent of your will. Your intelligence and its use is up to you entirely. You can maintain it by living in the present and this will free you from perturbations for the rest of your life.
  • How is it that every man loves himself more than others but values his own opinion less than every else’s. We respect more of what our neighbors think of us than what we think of ourselves.
  • It’s strange that all men, even the most pious and religious men along with regular men are forgotten after they die and never exist again. If it ought to be done otherwise, the gods would have done it. This is the nature of the universe.
  • Practice things even things you hate practicing. Even the left hand is useful for holding the bridle better than the right hand.
  • Consider the condition of a man’s body and soul when he dies. Consider the shortness of life and the endlessness of the past and the future.
  • Contemplate formative principles of things, the purposes of actions, pain and pleasure, death and fame, he who causes his own uneasiness, how man is hindered by another and that everything is opinion.
  • When applying your principles, you must be like the wrestler, not like the gladiator. The gladiator drops his sword and is killed. The wrestler always has his hand and needs nothing else but to use it.
  • See things as they are. Divide them into matter, form and purpose.
  • Man has nothing to do except do what god will approve and accept all god gives him.
  • When something happens conformably to nature, blame neither the gods – they do nothing wrong voluntarily or involuntarily – or men – they do nothing wrong but involuntarily – blame no one.
  • It is ridiculous for a man to be surprised at anything that happens in life.
  • Either there is a fatal necessity and invincible order or Providence or a confusion without purpose and direction. If it’s an invisible necessity, why resist? If it’s Providence, make yourself worthy of divine help. If it’s chaos, be content that you have an intelligence to get you through the storm.
  • Does the light shine without losing its splendor before being extinguished? Don’t lose the truth and justice before your death.
  • When a man seems to have done wrong, ask if it was indeed wrong? If it was, how do I know if he hasn’t condemned himself? But if he is bad, why would a bad man do something out of his character? If possible, cure the man’s disposition.
  • If it’s not right, don’t do it. If it’s not true, don’t say it.
  • Observe in a thing what produces the appearance for you. Divide it into the formal, material, purpose and time when it must end.
  • Know you have something better and more divine than things that cause various effects and as if they pull you by strings. What do you think now? Fear, suspicion, desire?
  • Don’t do anything without consideration or purpose. Your acts should only refer to the social end.
  • Soon you’ll be nobody and nowhere, so will everything and everyone you see. All things in nature perish and change into other things.
  • Everything is opinion and opinion is in your power. Take it away and you will find calm, stability and a waveless bay.
  • Any activity that ends at its proper time, suffers no evil because it has ended and the agent will not suffer either. All the acts together that end at the right time will do the same, as will the agent. Everything useful to the universal nature is always good and in season. Death is no evil because it isn’t shameful or against the general interest. It is good because it is seasonable, profitable and congruent with the universal.
  • Three principles to have ready:
    • Do nothing without consideration or against justice. Know things happen without direction or in the plan of the Providence. Don’t blame chance or Providence.
    • Consider what every being is from the beginning to the receiving of its soul and to the giving back of the soul.
    • If you are raise above the earth, look down on humans, observe the variety but also the sameness.
  • Get rid of your opinion and you are saved. What’s stopping you?
  • When you are troubled, remember that all things happen according to nature. Wrongful acts are nothing to you, everything happens so and everywhere the same, how close the kinship it between humans in the community. Man’s intelligence is a god and as efflux of the deity. Nothing is a man’s own, everything comes from the deity. Everything is opinion. You only live in the present and only lose the present.
  • Think about all those who have complained, sought fame or suffered misfortune or emnities. Where are they? Dust, some forgotten, some not. Not matter where, when or how you live, you will die and be forgotten. Use the virtues to make the most of the present.
  • How do you know that the gods exist? They are in the heavens – celestial bodies. I haven’t seen my own soul but I honor it. What I experience from them, I understand their existence and I venerate them.
  • Examine everything through. What it is itself, its material, the formal parts. Do things with justice and truth. Enjoy life.
  • There is one sunlight, though it is interrupted by walls, mountains and other infinite things. There is one common substance but with different qualities. There is one soul divided among the beings. There is one intelligence shared. The things not related to humans have no relation to them. Intellect has a kinship that mustn’t be interrupted.
  • What do you wish? Continued existence? Sensation? Movement? Growth? To cease to grow? Speech? Thought? Why do you desire them? It’s easiest to want to follow reason and nature. You will not be disturbed by the deprivation of other things.
  • Your time is minuscule. It will be swallowed by the eternal. Your substance is minuscule. Your soul is a tiny part of the whole.
  • How does the ruling faculty use itself. Everything is useless.
  • Our contempt for death is based on the idea that pleasure is good and pain is evil.
  • Death is not terrible to the man who is good and only acts according to reason or to whom time is immaterial.
  • What difference does it make how long you are alive? What is conformable to the laws is just for all. Nature is the bearer of hardship in the absence of tyranny. The acts of life are the whole of the drama. Depart satisfied because he who releases you from life is also satisfied.

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