Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Commentary on Meditations: B10:15-18

The time you have left is short. Live it as if you were on a mountain. Here or there makes no difference, if wherever you live you take the world as your city. Let men see, let them observe a true man living in accordance with nature. If they cannot bear him, let them kill him - a better fate than a life like theirs.

No more roundabout discussion of what makes a good man. Be one!

Keep constantly in your mind an impression of the whole of time and the whole of existence - and the thought that each individual thing is, on the scale of existence, a mere fig-seed; on the scale of time, one turn of a drill.

Consider any existing object and reflect that it is even now in the process of dissolution and change, in a sense regenerating through decay or dispersal: in other words, to what sort of 'death' each thing is born.

Life is short.  Some will spend what little time they have left, filling their life with pleasures and desires.  Stoics spend what little time they have left, trying to practice courage, temperance, carrying out justice and living wisely.  Stoics will live this way whether living in a city or on a mountain - it makes no difference.  The world is their city.  To put this thought in modern day vernacular: the world is my safe zone.  So many try to cut out a "safe zone" where they won't or can't be hurt.  But by so doing, they cheat themselves of precious learning experiences.  The world should be your safe zone - interact with everyone - treat everyone with respect and kindness - teach and help others to see wisdom.  Marcus goes so far as to say that if the world can't bear you, then let it kill you!  It's better to die free than live in slavery.

While you live - while you can - be a good man now!

Never, ever forget the little speck of dust you dwell on; and the minute speck of time you occupy in eternity.  This puts everything in proper perspective.

Everything is in the process of changing and dying.  Each second, minute, hour, day we march closer to decay and dissolution.  Life is short.  Use your time now to be a good human.

(see also Citadel p. 171, 291)

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