Monday, November 20, 2017

Commentary on Meditations: B7:50-52

Again: 'What is born of earth goes back to earth: but the growth from heavenly seed returns whence it came, to heaven.'  Or else this: a dissolution of the nexus of atoms, and senseless molecules likewise dispersed.

Again: 'With special food or drink, or sorcery, Seeking a channel from the stream of death.'
'The wind that blows from god we must endure, and labour uncomplaining.'

'Better at throwing his man': but not more public-spirited, or more decent, or more disciplined to circumstance, or more tolerant of neighbours' faults.

The last of the quotes Marcus writes in book 7.  The first part is another passage regarding the shortness of life and how all things will return to earth.  Here, Marcus delineates between the body that returns to earth and the intellectual mind and the unique human capacity to reason, returns from whence it came - to "heaven" or perhaps the author of the universe.  If indeed we do return to atoms, then Marcus thinks it "senseless."

If I understand the second part, it seems to say that some seek to escape death with magical food or drink or sorcery, but in reality, none can escape death.  We must labor through this life and die - that is our fate.  We must amor fati (love our fate) - meaning we ought to not only be grateful for our hardships, but we must love them.  After all, our hardships do define us.

Seneca once said, "I judge you unfortunate because you have never been unfortunate; you have passed through life without an antagonist; no one will know what you can do, - not even yourself" (source: Seneca Moral Essays Volume 1; click that link then scroll up just a bit).  If you have hardships and trails, you are fortunate in the sense you get to be tested and tried.  Now all that is left is to live up to the challenge.

The last part on Marcus' meditations above is his commentary about a man's ability to tackle or throw a man, but can't control himself in attitude around others.  Akin to: he can win a football championship (Super Bowl) but can't control himself when his neighbors do something that upsets him.

(see also Citadel p. 268-269)

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