Monday, February 5, 2018

Commentary on Meditations: B11:9

Just as those who try to block your progress along the straight path of reason will not be able to divert you from principled action, so you must not let them knock you out of your good will towards them. Rather you should watch yourself equally on both fronts, keeping not only a stability of judgement and action but also a mild response to those who try to stop you or are otherwise disaffected. To be angry with them is no less a weakness than to abandon your course of action and capitulate in panic. Both amount equally to desertion of duty - either being frightened into retreat, or setting yourself at odds with your natural kinsmen and friends.

This is a very keen and important point Marcus makes here.  Sure, it is easy to have good will towards other Stoics and moral people.  But what is a Stoic reaction to those whose philosophy is counter to everything Stoicism?  And what of those who actively try to divert your focus from right living?  The Stoic reaction must be the same: you must have good will toward them.  No need to react harshly, but rather, respond gently.  To act Stoicly in one moment, but then in the next to be angry to someone who is trying to knock you out of your citadel, is certainly not Stoic.  To be Stoic means to be Stoic all the time to all people.

No comments:

Post a Comment