Thursday, March 16, 2017

Commentary on Meditations: B1.7

7. From Rusticus: to grasp the idea of wanting correction and treatment for my character; not to be diverted into a taste for rhetoric, so not writing up my own speculations, delivering my own little moral sermons, or presenting a glorified picture of the ascetic or the philanthropist; to keep clear of speechifying, versifying, and pretentious language; not to walk around at home in ceremonial dress, or do anything else like that; to write letters in an unaffected style, like his own letter written to my mother from Sinuessa; to be readily recalled to conciliation with those who have taken or given offence, just as soon as they themselves are willing to turn back; to read carefully, not satisfied with my own superficial thoughts or quick to accept the facile views of others; to have encountered the Discourses of Epictetus, to which he introduced me with his own copy.

wanting correction and treatment for my character - feedback is a gift.  the sooner we accept this concept, the sooner we achieve improvement and progression.

not to be diverted ... anything like that - in this section, i like to summarize all of this advice into a few words: don't be a pompous ass.  the urban dictionary does a good job defining what a pompous ass is: a person who seems full of themselves and who grabs every opportunity to let others know of their feelings of superiority.

you should be humble; don't think of yourself as so special.  no one likes those kinds of people.  rather, be down-to-earth, level-headed.

write letters in an unaffected style - similar to the above idea, one should write plainly, should speak plainly, succinctly and to the point.

readily recalled to conciliation ... turn back - similar to the teaching of jesus found in matthew 5:25, we should maintain good and healthy relationships with all people.  if something is broken, we should fix it quickly.

to read carefully ... views of others - in other words, don't jump to conclusions.  use sound reason and logic.  study it out carefully.  my senior high school english teacher mr. puckett loved to say "don't assume, because it will make an ass out of u and me.

epictetus - yes, read epictetus, just as much as you read marcus aurelius.


  1. Wow! Thank you! It was a difficult part!
    Just one thing:
    Does the part " not writing up my own speculations..." mean, that one should not write a diary or solve problems with a pen? I am a bit confused

    1. the big idea around Rusticus was that he convinced Marcus to focus on the true aim of philsophy (a lived philsophy) as opposed to simply practicing a rhetorical philosophy. If you do a bit of research on Quintus Junius Rusticus and Marcus Aurelius, you will see this theme. Therefore, " not writing up my own speculations..." means Marcus learned to not focus on rhetorical writing so much, but rather *living* philosophically. Gill commentates on this passage ... "This implies that, for Marcus as well as Epictetus, theory (even ethical theory) is subordinate to the aim of becoming an ethically better person." (Gill, p. 59)


      (Aurelius, M., & Gill, C. (2013). Meditations. Books 1-6. Oxford University Press.

  2. Aaaa, now I got it