Meditations Book by Marcus Aurelius (PDF-Summary-Review-Quotes-Online Reading-Download)

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Meditations Book By Marcus Aurelius Written in Greek by the only Roman emperor who was also a philosopher, with no intention of publication, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius offer a remarkable series of challenging spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the emperor struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe. Although the Meditations were composed to provide comfort and personal encouragement, Marco Aurelio also created one of the best works of philosophy: a timeless collection that has been consulted and admired by statesmen, thinkers, and readers over the centuries.

Meditations (Medieval Greek: Τὰ εἰς ἑαυτόν, romanized: Ta eis heauton, lit. 'things to one's self') is a series of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor from 161 to 180 AD, recording his private notes to himself and ideas about stoic philosophy.

Marco Aurelio wrote the 12 books of the Meditations in Koine Greek as a source of his own guidance and self-improvement. Much of the work may have been written in Sirmium, where he spent a lot of time planning military campaigns from 170 to 180. Part of this was written while he was stationed at Aquincum on campaign in Pannonia because internal notes tell us that the first book It was written when I was campaigning against the Quadi on the Granova River (today's Hron) and the second book was written at Carnuntum.

It is unlikely that Marco Aurelio had the intention of publishing the writings and the work does not have an official title, so "Meditations" is one of the several titles commonly assigned to the collection. These writings take the form of quotations that vary in length from a sentence to a long paragraph.

Book Details
Original title: Unknown, probably untitled
Genre: Non-fiction
Original languages: Greek, Medieval Greek

Book Summary:
Meditations are perhaps the only document of this type ever produced. They are the private thoughts of the most powerful man in the world who advises himself on how to fulfill the responsibilities and obligations of his offices. Trained in Stoic philosophy, Marco Aurelio stopped almost every night to practice a series of spiritual exercises, reminders designed to make him humble, patient, empathetic, generous, and strong in the face of whatever he was dealing with. It is imminently readable and perfectly accessible. You can't read this book and you won't come up with a phrase or line that will come in handy the next time you have trouble. Read it, it is practical philosophy embodied.

So who was Marcus? Roman emperor from AD 161 to 180, Marcus practiced stoicism and wrote about his own stoic practice in his diaries. It is worth remembering that Marcus is one of the most exemplary leaders in history and worth emulating in our own lives. Matthew Arnold, the essayist, remarked in 1863 that we found a man in Marcus who had the highest and most powerful station in the world, and the universal verdict of the people around him was that he proved himself worthy. Machiavelli considers government time under Marcus' "golden time" and he the last of the "Five Good Emperors". Machiavelli would also describe Marcus Aurelius as "unassuming, lover of justice, hateful of cruelty, understanding, and kind."

Despite his privileges as emperor, Marco Aurelio had a difficult life. Roman historian Cassius Dio reflected that Marcus "did not find the good fortune he deserved, because he was not strong in his body and was involved in a multitude of problems during practically his entire reign." But throughout these struggles, he never gave up. It is an inspiring example for us to think about today if we get tired, frustrated, or have to deal with a crisis.

And during those years of struggle, particularly while leading military campaigns, Marcus would write twelve books from his private diaries, estimated to have been between AD 170 and 180. They have become one of the most influential books of philosophy in the history of the world. The meditations originally had no title and were written by Marco Aurelio for his own benefit, not for an audience. And it's fun to think that his writings can be as special as they are because they never intended for us to read them. Almost any other piece of literature is a kind of performance, it is made for the public. Meditations are not. In fact, its original title (Ta eis heauton) roughly translates to For Itself.

It is for this reason that the Meditations of Marco Aurelio are a somewhat inscrutable book: it was for personal clarity and not for public benefit. Writing stoic exercises was and is also a way to practice them, such as repeating a prayer or a hymn.

It is a book of short sayings, ranging from a sentence or two to a long paragraph. It is not organized by topic, but certain ideas keep popping up everywhere, indicating that he thought it was the most important thing for him (and therefore for us) to understand and incorporate into the way we live.

The fact that Marcus goes to the same subjects illustrates how much of Stoicism it is essential to write in a journal and brush up on the same ideas. You must constantly remember the standards you have set for yourself, who you aspire to be, and these are especially important when you fall short.

This is a book of practical advice and its teachings were meant to be practiced and used. When Marcus talks about the certainty of death and how relatively soon it will come, he is not idly philosophizing. He recommends that this fact advise our decision making and how we see the events in our lives. Rather than theorizing about what we should do if there is a guiding intelligence in the universe, or if everything is just atoms, it prescribes a point of view that typically follows Stoic thought, and explains why both possible truths would lead to the same best Actions. . and beliefs.

The first Meditation book is that Marcus thanks the people who had a positive influence on his life, with a focus on those who instilled in him the traits of a good Stoic. These include valuing reason above all else, not getting caught up in petty things, limiting passions and desires, making sober decisions followed by a firm commitment to choice, honesty and never being reserved, joy in front of obstacles and avoid superstition. and the influence of sophistry. The character traits he lists throughout this first book include many examples that are worth following and that you should pay close attention to.

Book Review:
In many important ways, the reflections of Marco Aurelio (121-180) crystallize the philosophical wisdom of the Greco-Roman world. This little book was written as a journal to himself while the emperor was fighting a war on the border of the Roman Empire and today this book is known to us as The Meditations.

Roman philosophers are not as well known or appreciated as Greek philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, or Zeno the Stoic, and for one simple reason: Roman thinkers were not primarily interested in abstract theory; rather, they were concerned with behavior, that is, understanding how to live in the everyday world and putting their understanding into practice; The goal is to live the life of an authentic philosopher, to be a person of high character and integrity, to develop inner strength and a calm mind, and to value that strength and tranquility above all else. In fact, to achieve such a high goal, the Romans realized the need for a radical transformation, a complete overhaul of life through rigorous mental and physical training, such as turning base metal into pure gold. And once a person assumes the role of a philosopher, his works should reflect his words: no hypocrisy, thank you! Therefore, it is not surprising that the Romans valued the memorization and internalization of simple proverbs and maxims and used the metaphor of philosophy as medicine to heal a sick soul.

Turning now to Marcus Aurelius, we can appreciate how he absorbed the wisdom of not only the Stoics (along with Seneca and Epictetus, Marcus is considered one of the top three Roman Stoics), but was also eager to learn from the schools of Epicurus. , Plato, and Aristotle. In the Greco-Roman world, being eclectic was perfectly acceptable; The truth was valued about who said what.

We find several recurring themes in Meditations: developing self-discipline to gain control over judgment and desire; overcome the fear of death; value the ability to withdraw into a rich and inner mental life (the inner citadel); recognize the world as a manifestation of the divine; live according to reason; Avoid luxury and opulence. But the generalizations will not come close to the nuggets of wealth and wisdom that a reader will find in Marcus's actual words. Therefore, I conclude with my personal observations, along with quotes from Book One, in which Marcus begins by expressing heartfelt thanks to his family and teachers for the many good lessons he learned when he was young. Here are four of my favorites:

"Not having attended public schools and having good teachers at home" After my unpleasant experience with the senseless competition and regulation of public schools, I wish I had Marcus' good fortune of excellent homeschooling.

"Not meddling in other people's affairs, and not being ready to listen to slander." I didn't need a teacher here; I recognized on my own at a young age that gossip is a colossal waste of time and energy, both listening to gossip and spreading gossip. I cannot imagine a clearer indication of a base, rude mind than someone inclined to gossip and slander others.

"Read carefully and not be satisfied with a superficial understanding of a book." How true. Reading is not a race to the last page; In fact, I agree with Jorge Luis Borges that accurate and focused reading is the key to opening up to the wisdom of a book.

"Be satisfied on all occasions and be happy." I'm never in a hurry. Life is too beautiful to be in a hurry. For me, there is only one way to live each day: in joy and free from anxiety and worry. In a sense, all of Marco Aurelio's meditations amplify this simple vision of life.

Book Club Questions

Meditations Quotes:

  • You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
  • Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.
  • The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.
  • Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
  • Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.

  • If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.

  • “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...”

  • The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.

  • Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.

  • The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.

  • It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.

  • Our life is what our thoughts make it.

  • Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.

  • If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.

  • If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.

  • Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.

  • I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.

  • Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?

  • The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

  • The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.

  • Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.

  • When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can't tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own - not of the same blood and birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are unnatural.

  • When another blames you or hates you, or people voice similar criticisms, go to their souls, penetrate inside and see what sort of people they are. You will realize that there is no need to be racked with anxiety that they should hold any particular opinion about you.

  • How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.

  • The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.

  • Do not act as if you were going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good.

  • Here is a rule to remember in the future, when anything tempts you to feel bitter: not "This is a misfortune," but "To bear this worthily is good fortune.

  • Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil.

  • Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always looks.

  • How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.

About The Author Marco Aurelio:
Marco Aurelio Antonino Augusto (often referred to as "the wise") was Emperor of the Roman Empire from 161 until his death in 180. He was the last of the "Five Good Emperors", and is also considered one of the most important Stoics. philosophers His two decades as emperor were marked by an almost continuous war. He faced a series of invasions by German tribes, and by conflict with the Parthian Empire in the east. His reign also had to deal with an internal revolt in the east, led by Avidius Cassius.

Written in Greek during a campaign between 170 and 180, Marco Aurelio's work is still revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty and has been praised for its "exquisite accent and infinite tenderness."

 

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