Friday, February 2, 2018

Commentary on Meditations: B11:2-3

You will think little of the entertainment of song or dance or all-in wrestling if you deconstruct the melodic line of a song into its individual notes and ask yourself of each of them: 'Is this something that overpowers me?' You will recoil from that admission. So too with a comparable analysis of dance by each movement and each pose, and the same again with wrestling. Generally, then, with the exception of virtue and its workings, remember to go straight to the component parts of anything, and through that analysis come to despise the thing itself. And the same method should be applied to the whole of life.

What a noble thing is the soul ready for its release from the body, if now must be the time, and prepared for whatever follows - extinction, dispersal, or survival! But this readiness must come from a specific decision: not in mere revolt, like the Christians, but thoughtful, dignified, and - if others are to believe it - undramatic.

The allure and sparkle and fascination of things needs to be broken.  We need to not "chase the shiny object" all the time.  What are these shiny objects that people constantly chase?

- fame
- money
- power
- sex
- pleasure
- avoidance of pain

Marcus provides a few examples in music, dance, and the sport of wrestling.  If you break the whole of it, into parts, the allure is greatly diminished.  Once you do this, you may ask, "should I be overcome by this single note?  This wrestling move?  This dance move?"  This exercise should break the allure.  Do this with everything, except virtue.  As you do this, you will soon discover you despise things that don't matter.

As for death, we must always be mentally prepared for it.  How sad to see frenzy at death.  How distinct and noble to meet death as an old friend.

(see also Citadel p. 133, 165, 272)

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