Monday, March 20, 2017

Commentary on Meditations: B1.9

9. From Sextus: a kindly disposition, and the pattern of a household governed by the paterfamilias; the concept of life lived according to nature; an unaffected dignity; intuitive concern for his friends; tolerance both of ordinary people and of the emptily opinionated; an agreeable manner with all, so that the pleasure of his conversation was greater than any flattery, and his very presence brought him the highest respect from all the company; certainty of grasp and method in the discovery and organization of the essential principles of life; never to give the impression of anger or any other passion, but to combine complete freedom from passion with the greatest human affection; to praise without fanfare, and to wear great learning lightly.

kindly disposition - definition of disposition is "a person's inherent qualities of mind and character"  this alludes, again, to the fact that stoicism focuses on virtue and excellence of character (arete)

pattern ... paterfamilias - a conservative approach to family-life; where the father provides leadership in the home.

life lived according to nature - animals think nothing other than eating, sleeping, defecating, procreating.  humans think of these things too, but also much, much more.  we write, think philosophically, ponder our existence.  this is our nature - we live a higher state and as such, we should spend our effort's on living the best life.

unaffected dignity - definition of dignity is "the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect" therefore we ought to live dignified, but not be pretentious ("attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed")

intuitive concern for his friends - caring for other; justice, not treating friends unkindly.

tolerance ... opinionated - there is that word again - tolerance.  so much in life is based on our attitude.  if we are intolerant, than we choose to be annoyed and mean about what others are doing.  this is the same as letting others control our attitude.  tolerance and the discipline of assent are closely related.

agreeable manner ... company - in summary, be a good person.  be mindful of how you comport yourself.  no one enjoys a grump or a pompous ass.  so be agreeable - be reasonable in your interactions with others.  have some civility.

certainty of grasp ... principals of life - this quality speaks of being cognizant of how life works - being curious.  so much in today's world is given to us on a platter.  we don't put in the work to truly discover something on our own.  be curious!  hang with it long enough to understand and grasp it!

never to give the impression of anger ... human affection - this is related to living steadily and not so wildly passionately.  too many times people give into their anger and passion.  be temperate in your emotions.

praise without fanfare ... wear great learning lightly - give praise, but not excessively.  and when you are smart (learned), be so humbly.  don't be a braggart.

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