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17 - Meditations

17 - Meditations - Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Penguin...

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Meditations © Copyright Philosopher’s Notes page 1 Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Penguin Classics © 2006 304 pages The Big Ideas Historical Context & Intro to Stoicism A Surplus of Time What do you do with it? Visions of a Lifetime Don’t confuse yourself. The Opinions of Others Forget them. Retire Within Yourself In the midst of the crowd. Being in Tune With every note... Time Is a River Flow with it. For What... Were you made? Your One Delight To be of service. The Equanimity Game Recover your balance! Your Power To choose your response. I Seek the Truth You? Do It Right Or don’t do it. Soak Your Mind In right thoughts. The Bond That unites all... “Your mind will be like its habitual thoughts; for the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts. Soak it then in such trains of thoughts as, for example: Where life is possible at all, a right life is possible.” ~ Marcus Aurelius from Meditations Not only is Marcus Aurelius one of my heroes, he’s also one of history’s leading Stoic Philosophers. Stoic philosophy. You know, one of the classic Hellenistic philosophies— right there with Epicureanism and Cynicism. Huh? Whether or not you’ve heard of Stoicism, you’ve probably met one of its leading thinkers: Marcus Aurelius—he’s the old emperor in the movie Gladiator . :) In this Note, we’re going to take a quick look at the historical context in which Aurelius wrote Meditations and the Stoic philosophy that influenced his thinking. From there, we’ll jump into some of my favorite Big Ideas from the classic Emperor-Philosopher’s journals. Historical Context It was in the 2nd Century, during battles against Barbarian tribes in the Danube re- gion near Hungary (not unlike the opening scene of Gladiator ), when Aurelius wrote Meditations . Imagine the powerful Roman Empire: encompassing vast territory from England to Spain and Africa, to Egypt, Arabia and Turkey. This is the Empire that Marcus Aurelius defended from barbarians and pestilence and plague at every border. Now, you can imagine Aure- lius, the Emperor of this vast empire, trained in the Stoic philosophy, reminding himself to live the philosophy during some of the most trying times of his rule--in the battlefields of war. Interestingly, the literal translation of the title is “To Himself”—as Aurelius was simply jotting notes to himself in his private journal. His intention was not to publish anything; rather, he used his journal to remind himself of the lessons he learned as a young noble- man being groomed to one-day rule the empire. The book is broken down into bite-size nuggets of wisdom that you can enjoy a few minutes at a time. I highly recommend you start enjoying! [ Note: I love Aurelius. I fell even more in love with him when I was in Budapest and ran
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Meditations © Copyright Philosopher’s Notes page 2 “Your time has a limit set to it. Use it, then, to advance your enlightenment; or it will be gone, and never in your power again.” ~ Marcus Aurelius “To live each day as though one’s last, never flustered,
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17 - Meditations - Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Penguin...

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