Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Commentary on Meditations: B2:16

The soul of a man harms itself, first and foremost, when it becomes (as far as it can) a separate growth, a sort of tumour on the universe: because to resent anything that happens is to separate oneself in revolt from Nature, which holds in collective embrace the particular natures of all other things. Secondly, when it turns away from another human being, or is even carried so far in opposition as to intend him harm - such is the case in the souls of those gripped by anger. A soul harms itself, thirdly, when it gives in to pleasure or pain. Fourthly, whenever it dissimulates, doing or saying anything feigned or false. Fifthly, whenever it fails to direct any of its own actions or impulses to a goal, but acts at random, without conscious attention - whereas even the most trivial action should be undertaken in reference to the end. And the end for rational creatures is to follow the reason and the rule of that most venerable archetype of a governing state - the Universe.

Passage 17 in book 2 is a summation of our duties in action in life.

1. amor fati - love your life and all that happens in it
2. love others; do not hate others and certainly do no harm
3. don't give in to pain or pleasure
4. don't lie or be false.  have integrity
5. don't act randomly.  always act logically and with attention

(see Citadel p 46, 185-186, 211)

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