Discussion Threads on The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

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Discussion Threads on The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Postby Publius Iunius Brutus » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:42 pm

Brutus Sal.

Since my adolescence I found The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius one of the most useful books when it comes to practical life advice. Some call this work the original "self help" book.

Periodically I will share some passages with you here and some of my reflections. Feel free to add and discuss.
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Re: Discussion Threads on The Meditations

Postby Publius Iunius Brutus » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:43 pm

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Re: Discussion Threads on The Meditations

Postby Publius Iunius Brutus » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:46 pm

Publius Iunius Brutus wrote:Book 4.1

Image



Basically I see this passage as harking back to the old metaphor of making lemonade from lemons. The resilient and robust mind makes the best of the situation in which they are placed. Every circumstance provides opportunities for growth and betterment. The onus is on us to discover these opportunities and embrace them. Similarly the better this is achieved the more resilient one is to adversity. In the purest sense there is no bad situation. Just opportunities awaiting to be recognized and acted upon.
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Re: Discussion Threads on The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Postby Publius Iunius Brutus » Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:59 pm

Book 5.1

Image

Sal.

This is probably my favorite quote in all of The Meditations. It long has resonated with me.

When I read this I'm reminded that we have a purpose. Like the bees have a natural purpose to pollinate the flowers. I too have a purpose within the natural order. Pleasure and leisure has a role. But it should not substitute the purpose intended by nature. This idea reminds me of the joy that can be found in labor. In fulfilling duties and the role we are intended for.

Such a simple and elegant idea. But so easy to loose track of within the hussel of life.
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Re: Discussion Threads on The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Postby Gaius Valerius Scipio » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:53 pm

Publius Iunius Brutus wrote:Book 5.1

Image

Sal.

This is probably my favorite quote in all of The Meditations. It long has resonated with me.

When I read this I'm reminded that we have a purpose. Like the bees have a natural purpose to pollinate the flowers. I too have a purpose within the natural order. Pleasure and leisure has a role. But it should not substitute the purpose intended by nature. This idea reminds me of the joy that can be found in labor. In fulfilling duties and the role we are intended for.

Such a simple and elegant idea. But so easy to loose track of within the hussel of life.


For myself happiness can be found in finding onself exhausted at the end of the day, be it from physical labour or mental labour of intense academic work.

The main problem with this is that many in society no longer believe in hard work and even actively try their best to avoid it, hard work is the basis for fulfillment because as you have said. That we can find joy in these duties and roles which we are intended for. Yet in a society where luxury and apathy has become the norm, its important to remember that we are part of nature and not above it; something humans seem to forget this.
The gods command me to sanctify my every action, and I obey them with all my soul, and they assure me of great benefits from my enterprise, if only I persist.
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Re: Discussion Threads on The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Postby Gaius Curtius Philo » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:55 pm

Personally, for myself, what brings fulfillment js actually healthy social interactions, not work. It might seem like almost a heresy for our work centered society, though lol I DO feel pleasure in work and in doing a good job, but that for me is not sustenance, it is pleasure. I feel joy in doing something i like. But I feel Happiness and Fulfillmeng with being with people I like, talking with them and doing things with them (even if it is things completely useless to society).

When I look at all the great men in history, I cannot help but feel most of them (if not all) were inherently sad and unfulfilled people... and most died either violently or estranged from people they used to love. For me, the old Baker who has an old wife, kids and grandchildren, old friends that he knew since childhood and a lot of good loose acquaintances is happier than the greatest of Sages and greater than the greatest of Emperors... Ambition breeds frustration, misery and the search for pleasure over Happiness. A life focused on work is always a life of Compromises in which you give off your Social Life for your work. And thus, it is necessarily a less fulfilling life.

I am not advocating in this to vagrancy, but simply stating that for me work is but the instrument with which you earn your living. The LIVING part itself is completely unrelated to it. That's my view at least. Otium, not Labor, is the father of Laetitia. :)
"Ignis aurum probat" - Seneca
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Re: Discussion Threads on The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Postby Gaius Florius Aetius » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:17 pm

I am a great fan of the Classic Sages, but Marc Aurel... hm I have always had some difficulties with him. Much of his advise seems more written for a "Monk" than a regular person. Some things Marc Aurel write, like disregard your body among other things, is too much for me. Here, I side more with the balanced approach of Aristitotle, to avoid extremes. Loathing the body, loathing of material pleasures, can lead to a deformation of the human soul, and we have seen with the extremes of the Galileans, how treachery such ideas can be. People should learn to enjoy the pleasures of life, a good wine, a good meal, pleasurable sex, good human company, whatever it is. A bitter man very often also become a cruel man. Here I am more to the pragmatism of a Cicero.

Seneca wrote, it would be bad advise to tell someone who is a man of action by nature, to withstand from action, because he would thus oppress his nature, and in the result be LESS at inner peace. So there is the idea in the Roman Stoa, that we have to know ourselves and seek harmony in accordance with who we are, what our nature is, not by one rule that fits all. I greatly respect the view of Cicero, arguing against the idea a virtous person practically has to retreat from life, like some variants of Greek philosophy argue. I mean, it does not HAVE to be politics, as it was for Cicero, but being "involved" in life, generally speaking.

Again I would believe, that a person should not be overly harsh with denying himself fun, the pleasures of the world, for too often such characters become bitter towards others as well, like in the wonderful fable of Ebenezer Scrooge.

Everything in moderation, as Apollon had written on his temple, blessed be he. Even moderation. ;)
Advice is judged by results, not by intentions.

- Cicero
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Re: Discussion Threads on The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Postby Gaius Valerius Scipio » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:12 am

For me life is centred around tradition and hard work, through knowing the examples, that those that came before us, is important in how we hold ourselves today. I respect Marcus Aurelius for his amount of self control and ability, but as Florius has stated above, i don't agree with his idea that one should disregard your body, for without a reasonable strong body your body will neither be as strong as it could be or immune system more prone to infectious diseases. So it is always important to keep one's body healthy and strong.

Though simply keeping your physical form in shape or a reasonable condition is good, one must also be willing to push your mental faculties and this includes human interaction, for with humans around you, one can in healthy competition push yourself further as well as improve yourself mentally to be the best.
"A healthy body contains a healthy mind."

Through combining these aspects, in my mind is to attain the true will and spiritual vitality that the Gods have bestowed upon mankind. We should try to live lives, that although are simple in nature but to embody the full spectrum of enjoyment of each moment for what it is, through willpower, endurance and above all faith and belief, this overcomes all and brings forth the action that is necessary for a fulfilled life.
The gods command me to sanctify my every action, and I obey them with all my soul, and they assure me of great benefits from my enterprise, if only I persist.
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