Thursday, October 19, 2017

Commentary on Meditations: B6:36-39

Asia, Europe are mere nooks of the universe. Every ocean is a drop in the universe: Mount Athos a spadeful of earth in the universe. The whole of present time is a pin-prick of eternity. All things are tiny, quickly changed, evanescent.

All things come from that other world, taking their start from that universal governing reason, or in consequence of it. So even the lion's gaping jaws, poison, every kind of mischief are, like thorns or bogs, consequential products of that which is noble and lovely.

So do not think them alien to what you worship, but reflect rather on the fountain of all things.

He who sees the present has seen all things, both all that has come to pass from everlasting and all that will be for eternity: all things are related and the same.

You should meditate often on the connection of all things in the universe and their relationship to each other. In a way all things are interwoven and therefore have a family feeling for each other: one thing follows another in due order through the tension of movement, the common spirit inspiring them, and the unity of all being.

Fit yourself for the matters which have fallen to your lot, and love these people among whom destiny has cast you - but your love must be genuine.

One of the more important exercises of Stoicism is to be mindful of the totality and interconnectedness of the universe.  The more we appreciate how "one" we are with everything, the more we will embrace a spirit of acceptance of our fate as well as a spirit of working well with others and our environment.  As Nietzsche says, "My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it...but love it”

amor fati - means love your fate.  It embraces the idea that everything now, exactly as it is, is meant to be that way.  Starting with your soul, and then moving outward to your body in this space and time, with the people whom you share time at this moment, during this struggle or difficult situation, in the room you are in, the building you are in, the campus you are on, the city you are in, the region you are in, the country you are in, the continent you are on, the hemisphere you live in, the planet you call home, the solar system, the local star cluster, the galaxy, the universe.  All of it means or intends to be exactly the way it is.  And if you can accept things the way they are, and embrace and love the very moment you are in, then you embrace eternity - you realize eternity is not some far-off-in-the-future notion; rather it is now.

See yourself in this amazing, complex web of time and space and love your lot in life; love those people who cross paths with you - love your fate and love those people genuinely.

(see also Citadel p. 43, 137, 141, 153, 168, 173, 176, 230, 254)

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