Thursday, August 24, 2017

Commentary on Meditations: B5:6

One sort of person, when he has done a kindness to another, is quick also to chalk up the return due to him. A second is not so quick in that way, but even so he privately thinks of the other as his debtor, and is well aware of what he has done. A third sort is in a way not even conscious of his action, but is like the vine which has produced grapes and looks for nothing else once it has borne its own fruit. A horse that has raced, a dog that has tracked, a bee that has made honey, and a man that has done good - none of these knows what they have done, but they pass on to the next action, just as the vine passes on to bear grapes again in due season. So you ought to be one of those who, in a sense, are unconscious of the good they do. 'Yes', he says, 'but this is precisely what one should be conscious of: because it defines the social being to be aware of his social action, and indeed to want his fellow to be aware of it also.' 'True, but you misunderstand the point I am now making: and for that reason you will fall into one of the first categories I mentioned. They too are misled by some sort of plausible logic. But if you want to follow my meaning, don't fear that this will lead you to any deficiency of social action.'

In today's society, one of the biggest persuasion factors (having the ability to convince people to make a decision) is reciprocity.  I scratch your back, you now owe me, and you'll need to return the favor some day.  It is a great trick when it comes to persuasion.  But in the context of living according to nature, if I scratch your back, I'll scratch it ... and that's it.  No desire for you to return the favor; no mental debit and credit accounting; no calling out the good deed.

Marcus compares other things that produce whatever it is they produce and how they just do it with no expectations.  A horse designed to race, races, and that's all.

Just serve; act according to your social nature.

(see also Citadel p. 201-202)

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