Friday, August 4, 2017

Commentary on Meditations: B4:32

Consider, for example, the time of Vespasian. You will see everything the same. People marrying, having children, falling ill, dying, fighting, feasting, trading, farming, flattering, pushing, suspecting, plotting, praying for the death of others, grumbling at their lot, falling in love, storing up wealth, longing for consulships and kingships. And now that life of theirs is gone, vanished

Pass on again to the time of Trajan. Again, everything the same. That life too is dead.

Similarly, look at the histories of other eras and indeed whole nations, and see how many lives of striving met with a quick fall and resolution into the elements. Above all, review in your mind those you have seen yourself in empty struggles, refusing to act in accord with their own natural constitution, to hold tight to it and find it sufficient. And in this context you must remember that there is proportionate value in our attention to each action - so you will not lose heart if you devote no more time than they warrant to matters of less importance.

The more I study history, the more I realize how tiny my life is in the grand scheme of things in both scope and time.  The more I study history, the less sway the persuasive arguments have over me.

I do not require perfect health or a perfect body; I do not require immortality or fame or piles of cash.  I do not have the need to see and travel the world over.

Rather, all I need to reason and to be able to calmly interact and help those whose daily circles I cross.  All I really need is to aim for courage, temperance, justice and wisdom.

(see also Citadel p, 47-48, 188)

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