Marcus Aurelius is said to have been fond of quoting Plato's dictum, and Book 1 of the Meditations offers glimpses of Marcus's schooling, and. (And to learn more about Marcus Aurelius and Stoicism, sign up for the . -In Book Twelve, as Meditations is wrapping up, Marcus writes “It. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. Meditations by Emperor of Rome Marcus Aurelius. No cover.
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Meditations is a series of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor from to AD, recording his private notes to himself and ideas on Stoic philosophy. Marcus Aurelius wrote the 12 books of the Meditations in Koine Greek as a. Published April 27th by Penguin Books (first published ) Meditations by Marcus Aurelius A Guide to the Good Life by William B. Irvine Letters from a. It's for this reason that Marcus Aurelius's Meditations is a somewhat inscrutable book—it was for personal clarity and not public benefit. Writing down Stoic.
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Martin Hammond Translator. Diskin Clay Introduction. Written in Greek, without any intention of publication, by the only Roman emperor who was also a philosopher, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius AD offer a remarkable series of challenging spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the emperor struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe.
Ranging from doubt and despair to conviction and ex Written in Greek, without any intention of publication, by the only Roman emperor who was also a philosopher, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius AD offer a remarkable series of challenging spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the emperor struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe.
Ranging from doubt and despair to conviction and exaltation, they cover such diverse topics as the nature of moral virtue, human rationality, divine providence, and Marcus' own emotions. But while the Meditations were composed to provide personal consolation and encouragement, in developing his beliefs Marcus Aurelius also created one of the greatest of all works of philosophy: Get A Copy.
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Published April 27th by Penguin Books first published More Details Original Title. Antoninus Pius. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Meditations , please sign up. Is the writing kind of ancient English that is hard to read or modern English? David It's modern English. Many of the quotes on the quotes page will tell you how the writing is done.
You can also look to different translations to find …more It's modern English. You can also look to different translations to find one that is easiest for you to read. Or go straight to Latin! Who is Aristotle? Sean Aristotle was the teacher of Alexander the Great and the student of Plato, who was the student of Socrates the founder of western philosophy. See all 14 questions about Meditations…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details.
More filters. Sort order. Nov 25, Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing. In many important ways, the reflections of Marcus Aurelius crystallize the philosophical wisdom of the Greco-Roman world. This little book was written as a diary to himself while emperor fighting a war out on the boarder of the Roman Empire and today this book is known to us as The Meditations.
The Roman philosophers are not as well known or as highly regarded as Greek philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, or Zeno the Stoic - and for a simple reason: Indeed, to accomplish such a lofty goal, the Romans realized the need for radical transformation, a complete overhauling of one's life through rigorous mental and physical training, like turning base metal into pure gold. And once a person takes on the role of a philosopher, their deeds must reflect their words - no hypocrisy, thank you!
Thus, it isn't surprising the Romans put a premium on memorizing and internalizing simple proverbs and maxims and employed the metaphor of philosophy as the medicine to cure a sick soul. Turning now to Marcus Aurelius, we can appreciate how he imbibed the wisdom not only from the Stoics along with Seneca and Epictetus, Marcus is considered one of the three major Roman Stoics , but he was also willing to learn from the schools of Epicurus, Plato and Aristotle. In the Greco-Roman world, being eclectic was perfectly acceptable; truth was valued over who said what.
We find several recurring themes in The Meditations: But generalizations will not approach the richness and wisdom nuggets a reader will find in Marcus's actual words. Thus, I conclude with my personal observations coupled with quotes from Book One, wherein Marcus begins by expressing heartfelt thanks to his family and teachers for the many fine lessons he learned as a youth.
Here are four of my favorites: I can't imagine a clearer indication of a base, coarse mind than someone inclined to gossip and slandering others. Reading isn't a race to get to the last page; matter of fact, I agree with Jorge Luis Borges that focused, precise rereading is the key to opening oneself to the wisdom of a book. Life is too beautiful to be in a hurry. For me, there is only one way to live each day: In a sense, all of the meditations of Marcus Aurelius amplify this simple view of life.
I've written this review as an encouragement to make Marcus Aurelius a part of your life. You might not agree with everything he has to say, but you have to admit, Marcus has a really cool beard and head of hair. View all 96 comments. When I was a freshman in college, I lived in a dorm.
My roommate was on the football team. He would write inspiring things on poster board and hang them in our room often on the ceiling above his bed to motivate himself. He favored straightforward sentiments like "never give up.
Instead, he kept a journal in which he collected his thoughts about how to live well. Most people have heard When I was a freshman in college, I lived in a dorm. Most people have heard that Aurelius counsels to expect the worst and you will never be disappointed. While that is part of what he has to say, it is not the most interesting of what he has to say.
At his most thoughtful, Aurelius calls on us to ask the best of ourselves and never mind the behavior of others. It is a manual for being a complete, mature adult. It is a guide for living a dignified, thoughtful life Consider: Unless you were a complete coward you wouldn't kick up a fuss about which day it was - what difference could it make? Now recognize that the difference between years from now and tomorrow is just as small.
And on freeing yourself from distractions. Yes, you can - if you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered, irritable. You see how few things you have to do to live a satisfying and reverent life? If you can manage this, that's all even the gods can ask of you.
Aurelius continually writes that strength comes from humility, self-restraint and good humor towards others. He teaches us to accept what we cannot control and to trust what we know. Good advice, indeed. View all 17 comments. Jan 11, Sean Barrs the Bookdragon rated it it was amazing Shelves: Look within: I love this quote and I love the wisdom that runs through this book. Make the most of everything and everyone, of every situation and chance that life throws your way because when they have passed, we may not get them again.
Marcus Aurelius is full of logic and revealing comments about life, death and the universe. His meditations are very open and very hon Look within: His meditations are very open and very honest. And I found them quite touching. The history of his reign as Roman Emperor is impressive, but behind all his success was a very human person struggling and suffering with the same problems that plague all of us.
He comes to terms with his mortality and his insignificance in the face of history and time. We are all of us only here a brief time, and we need to make the most of it.
All is ephemeral, both memory and the object of memory The book moves into discussions over the temporary nature of things, of relationships and friendships and feelings. Everything changes given enough time, even memories and their ramifications. Aurelius soul searches. He writes these words during times of peace and war, during times of duty and heart ache, though his tone rarely changes. He remains detached and accepting of destiny and where it may take him.
From this he ponders how to give life meaning and purpose. Aurelius suggests that one of the ways we can do this is through work, real work and toil as we strive to meet our goals.
He suggests that it is an edifying pursuit, to serve the development of humanity. It gives life meaning and purpose as we work and improve. He also argues for the creation of art and that in attaining it, it's one of the greatest pursuits we can follow because of how it benefits mankind.
I agree with so many of the sentiments in here, and those that challenged my own beliefs got me thinking about the nature of life. On a personal note, I read this book at the right time. The words here got me motivated again and ready to start a new year with a fresh perspective on life. With his honest words, Aurelius captures a large part of what is to be human.
His words are timeless. View all 11 comments. Marcus Aurelius must have been a prolific reader. He sure was a prolific note-taker, for these meditations are surely his study-notes? I don't know of the publishing system at the time but where are the detailed footnotes and references? Marcus Aurelius is quite a wise man or at least he read enough wise men.
He sure nailed it as far as boring a reader is concerned. No better way to establish your book's wisdom quotient. I am being needlessly caust Marcus Aurelius must have been a prolific reader. I am being needlessly caustic of course do note my rating above. The book is quotable in almost every page and is good to dip in to now and then, you might well find an aphorism that fits the mood just right every time. And that is why the book is a classic and so well-loved.
Don't read it as a scholar, you will end up like this reviewer. As I said earlier - He is like the wisdom of ages. Not that it is all bad - it is like reading an old uncles's notes after he has been preaching to you all your life. Good that I am a stoic too.
All ills are imaginary. The emperor was a notorious opium user, starting each day, even while on military campaigns, by downing a nubbin of the stuff dissolved in his morning cup of wine. View all 32 comments.
Marcus gives us wise advice about using the Internet, particularly social networking sites: If you can eliminate it, you'll have more time and more tranquillity. He does not approve of lobbyists and is rightly worried about their influence on the legislative process. We should heed his words: He understands the modern office dynamic, reminding himself: Not to be constantly telling people that I am too busy, unless I really am.
Similarly, not to be always ducking my responsibilities to the people around me because of "pressing business" He condemns unreservedly all their faults and the problems with the modern electoral system: But despite such an expensive education our political masters don't have half the grasp on the classics that Marcus has, which is remarkable considering he was home-schooled. I wish Marcus would consider a career in politics just to show up our current representatives for the intellectual pygmies that they really are.
Marcus also gives us advice on a more personal level. Can he really keep his temper? Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Death overshadows you. So to end with my favorite paragraph, from book 10 paragraph 5.
One for physicists as well as philosophers to puzzle over: The twining strands of fate wove both of them together: Often they seem full of cliches left over from the Victorian era. But with this short work Marcus, who is Italian, and his co-author Gregory Hays have brought the format right up to date by reflecting squarely on the types of issues that we all face today.
A great book by an author who - and this is no exaggeration - deserves a statue to be put up for him. I can only wish I could meet Marcus one day. View all 18 comments. However, this book is special in many ways, and if the beginning is any indication of the author's thoughts and reflections, it merits this rating. I eagerly await my future readings of this splendid work.
Like the Bible, it can be opened to any page, and the passage will resonate with most people at various times in their life. Each passage stands by itself and is not dependent upon what had preceded it. Therefore, although I am in the midst of reading two other books, I pick this one up sporadically, read a few passages, and am not confused about plot and characters. Although the book was written in a manner easy to understand, it is anything but simplistic; it is profound and replete with wisdom.
Further, it should be read slowly so that the reader may absorb the words and delight in the meditations of Aurelius. I have done much highlighting in order to remember certain passages, and I know I will reread them throughout the years. Once again, my friend Steve Sckenda has recommended quality literature to his GR friends for which I thank him most sincerely. Phyllis Eisenstadt View all 9 comments. If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Wearing Mismatched Socks at Work is Empowering: And on freeing yourself from all other distractions.
Yes, you can— if you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop lett If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Yes, you can— if you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered , irritable.
Assim em cada lago a lua toda Brilha, porque alta vive. I translated this into German a long time ago. Be all in everything. Put all you are In everything you do. Be like the moon that Shines whole in every lake Because it lives up high. Dec 03, Walter rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Another great influence in my life; this was the personal philosophical diary of the last "good emperor" of the Roman Empire.
In this work Marcus Aurelius draws a picture Stoicism as a philosophy that I call "Buddhism with balls". It is a harsh self discipline that trains its practitioners to be champions of a sort.
Champions of what? Mastery of the self. The heart of the book is that in order to make oneself free, they must train themselves to become indifferent to externals. The externals ar Another great influence in my life; this was the personal philosophical diary of the last "good emperor" of the Roman Empire. The externals are those elements in life of which we have no or little control: We must also become very aware of the one thing which we do have control over: Through this practice one cuts the puppet strings by which most people are jerked through life: This is a book that is extremely empowering.
Even if some of the ideals and aims might be utterly impossible but for a handful of great sages , they are worthy and worth striving towards. Another aspect that I found interesting, was that here we are able to open a window into the life of a great and noble soul who was struggling to come to terms with the universe.
We read the personal thoughts of the master of the civilized world, a man utterly alone and free of peers, who is grappling with the need to find meaning in life. His efforts and obvious agonies are touching. This is a deeply humane work. In many sections he has to repeatedly remind himself of the nature of death that it is an essential and good part of nature , and often repeated are metaphors relating to the death of a child.
These reminders are made very poignant when you understand that several of the Emperor's children who he apparently loved very much were taken by disease.
This was the one understanding that he seemed to have the hardest time coming to terms with or accepting. View all 10 comments. Aug 18, Richard rated it did not like it Recommends it for: Emo Kids. By today's standards, a bog-standard blog. The only reason that this was preserved in the first place is that the author happened to be a Roman emperor. That, and that ancient Rome didn't have LiveJournal. The only reason that Meditations is still being published today is that once a book gets labeled "classic," hardly anyone who reads it has the grapes to admit that it just wasn't that good.
View all 37 comments. Dec 29, Alexandra Petri rated it liked it. This basically consists of Marcus Aurelius repeating, "Get it together, Marcus" to himself over and over again over the course of 12 chapters. That's about it. The fascinating thing about these philosophical ideas is that if they were expressed a single time, they might seem profound and solid and convincing.
But repeated over and over like a rosary, you feel that Marcus is struggling against really serious grueling daily doubt -- that these are things that he wishes to be true, not things that he knows to be true, normative rather than descriptive statements.
Which makes for a fascinating and subtext-y read, especially given his history. View all 6 comments. Aug 02, Hadrian rated it it was amazing Shelves: The inner thoughts of a Roman emperor.
Profound and for some, inspiring. A mournful, yet strong man, philosopher-king, which we don't see too often anywhere. View 1 comment. Ah I had a far better review in my mind, but it has, like morning mist, cleared out from my mind leaving a jumble of words and impressions, so you will have to endure that, or skip to another GR update instead: The weaknesses of Marcus Aurelius's jottings and musings, his inconsistencies, vaguenesses, intellectual messiness, the lack of exploration of any particular idea in detail are it's strengths.
There is a Marcus Aurelius for everyone, or perhaps for everyday of the year Selections from t Ah I had a far better review in my mind, but it has, like morning mist, cleared out from my mind leaving a jumble of words and impressions, so you will have to endure that, or skip to another GR update instead: There is a Marcus Aurelius for everyone, or perhaps for everyday of the year Selections from the Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius for every day in the year and I suspect there are Marcus Aurelius day by day calendars.
I wondered if at some point the real Marcus Aurelius would stand up, and of course he does, just like Spartacus at the end of the Stanley Kubrik film.
The work known variously as Meditations or the Golden Book was originally written in Greek and entitled 'To Himself', it is divided into twelve 'books' each perhaps fifteen or so printed pages in length. The first book is a listing of to whom and for what Marcus Aurelius is grateful - for things like his upbringing and character rather than that people pay their taxes and, by and large, obey the laws.
The other eleven books don't have any thematic unity. At the end of the first book he writes: The downside is you don't learn much about Marcus Aurelius, it is somehow so personal, private and interior that it has become indistinct and universal, suitable for fridge magnets or motivational posters anywhere.
I believe that formally Marcus was a a stoic, if his reflections in his book represent cutting edge stoic philosophy or the ponderings of a well educated individual of his day I don't know. In book eleven particularly he quotes Homer, Sophocles, Euripides and Plato, but he never mentions the famous Roman stoic Seneca. Perhaps Seneca was already forgotten by Aurelius' time or perhaps the issue of how to behave under the rule of an emperor was a bit too close to the bone for the Emperor.
As I mentioned in updates it reminded me in its stress on duty of what I have heard of the Bhagadvad Gita and I felt that Aurelius': Worldnature, nature, world reason, cosmic purpose, gods, universal nature,mind of the universe, god Since this is a philosophical work, of sorts, or perhaps a religious one, I wondered if the translation was unhelpful - perhaps all these terms might have been rendered by one expression in the original, perhaps Logos most famous now from the opening of the Gospel of Saint John , yet I think I read in the introduction that Marcus did use all these different terms even though, contextually they all appear to mean something similar if not identical.
Given this and the Tao Te Ching , I would have imagined that the Tao Te Ching was the one written by a canny Emperor, Marcus somehow often manages to sound like a harassed corporate drone forced to share a workbench with people who don't brush their teeth and who wash and change their clothes regularly - meaning once every nine weeks - 5: Marcus says that he thinks praying for three hours a day is sufficient, but it was unclear to me quite what he would be praying to, his universe otherwise seems fairly deterministic and the gods part of that as much as the fig trees, horses and people, perhaps his prayer was more his spiritual practise to encourage the serenity, kindness and indifference to death that he speaks of rather than requests to the gods.
Walking wet pavements observing stoically of course the flashes of lightening over the sky, I wondered if death and being forgotten everybody who ever knew you also dying was such a constant preoccupation in these writing because it was a prospect that he really feared, as it has happened this has preserved his memory fairly effectively.
Everything he says is created for some duty 8: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero were all emperors and all acted as though they had different conceptions of duty.
But Marcus while exposing his innermost thoughts does not want to reveal that about himself. For me it was not a case of Howards end is no the landing but Marcus Aurelius was on the dusty shelf, picked up for two GBP I don't recall when, probably in disreputable company. At the same time I can not be completely comfortable with him. Mine [my concern], to be in friendship and charity with all men But his writings don't clarify his approach to authority and rule to me view spoiler [ my guess would be that for him non-Romans and lower class Romans - humiliores as they were called in distinction to the higher class honestiores did not count as full people but were a lower type of thing like horses and vines and therefore to be broken or pruned, but since few of us these days are Roman emperors we can maybe misread his words with a fraternal spirit, if a fig tree will in good conditions produce figs so too a Roman Emperor will be a Roman Emperor hide spoiler ].
I see here Marcus Aurelius for business: Thoughts for Corporate Dominance this from the man who wrote 5: View all 8 comments. Jul 10, Parthiban Sekar rated it really liked it Shelves: Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor and unmistakably, a Stoic philosopher, through his reflective aphorisms and repetitive admonitions, captivates us to inquire about our living, review our doings, and eliminate our misconceptions.
This was not targeted for any audience; This was not intended to be published; This was unquestionably not to be made as international best seller ; Yet, this single book has captured more men than Marcus could ever have captured with his lofty weapons and relentless army. These 12 books of personally directed writings might seem incomprehensible, at times, but, thanks to the foot-notes, some of them could be made clear. So, what does Marcus say in this mighty book of "motivating and reforming" writing?
Directing Mind Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. Our very souls are dyed by our thoughts. We are what our thoughts make us and our happiness rests in what we think. He reminds us that all of us will die, however, we only ever lose the present moment because that is all we ever have.
The longest and shortest life will end the same way and be finished for the same eternity.
He also reminds us that we could die at any moment and to live to the fullest while we still can. Death overshadows you. Marcus teaches that we should act quickly to get our affairs in order and take advantage of our fleeting existence and live well. It is the way of our world that substances should change into new things. The changing of anything into something else is never harmful to the universe, and Marcus applies that lack of harmfulness to every part of the universe, including us.
What can take place without change? What then is more pleasing or more suitable to the universal nature?
And canst thou take a bath unless the wood undergoes a change? And canst thou be nourished, unless the food undergoes a change? And can anything else that is useful be accomplished without change?
Being superior to pain and pleasure allows us to fully accept the course of nature and focus on being virtuous. Our perceptions of events as troublesome are the real source of any unhappiness we experience, not the events themselves. Marcus believed that a person could immediately wipe any upsetting impressions from their mind and be at peace. He also recommended remembering the following whenever we experience anxiety:.
He explains it perfectly when he says,. Events can cause people to lose their cool and act immorally, but still they are not harmed by the events, but rather their reaction to them.
And when it comes to problems, we find in Marcus a formula, an art known as turning obstacles upside down. As he would write,. Because we can accommodate and adapt.
The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting. So that setbacks or problems are always expected and never permanent. Making certain that what impedes us can empower us. Coming from this particular man, these were not idle words. In his own reign of some nineteen years, he would experience nearly constant war, a horrific plague, possible infidelity, an attempt at the throne by one of his closest allies, repeated and arduous travel across the empire—from Asia Minor to Syria, Egypt, Greece, and Austria—a rapidly depleting treasury, an incompetent and greedy stepbrother as co-emperor, and on and on and on.
It shows how some of the most successful people in history—from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs—have applied Stoicism to overcome difficult or even impossible situations.
Marcus knew that our ability to reason is what sets us apart from the animals and is an important power that we must use to the fullest. He believed like all Stoics that our reason could be used to understand the universal reason present in nature, which would lead to agreement with it even if events seemed harmful. Our rational minds have complete power over our opinions and the mind only experiences suffering when it itself creates a desire for a specific outcome in life.
Marcus—who had more control over his environment than most—was also the pen behind these lines: Realize this, and you will find strength. Marcus teaches that our mind is a thing that controls itself completely and is separated from the world; it cannot be affected by events unless it makes itself be affected.
Every appearance is the result of what the mind wills it to appear to be and the mind makes itself exactly what it is. Since this is so, there is no reason we should not agree with nature, since nature has provided us with the means to rationally accept the course of events no matter where they take us. Be one. The impediment to action advances action.
What stands in the way becomes the way. Let that determine what you do and say and think. Bill Clinton reportedly reads it once a year, and one can imagine him handing a copy to Hillary after her heart-wrenching loss in the US presidential election. It is not outside, but within, and when all is lost, it stands fast. Chinese leader Wen Jiabao has re-read the book on countless occasions. The best Meditations translation is by Gregory Hays.
Sign up for our free 7-day course on Stoicism to see our interview with Professor Hays. It is highly recommended you first read the Hays translation.
The best free translation, is by George Long. It can be found here. Includes an introduction to Stoicism, best books to start with, Stoic exercises and much more! Check out all the bonuses or sign up below.
Skip to content Meditations is perhaps the only document of its kind ever made. The Evil That Men Do Harms You Only if You Do Evil in Response Marcus reminded himself to not be upset by the misdeeds of others and to correct them if possible, but if they were stubborn and would not change, to accept it. Mind your business. Fame and Desires are Not Worth Pursuing Marcus repeatedly explains why the pursuit of fame and praise is foolish and why we especially should not care about what others think of us after we die.
He explains that there are no immortal actions: Problems are Created in the Mind Being superior to pain and pleasure allows us to fully accept the course of nature and focus on being virtuous. He also recommended remembering the following whenever we experience anxiety: Your Rational Mind is Your Greatest Asset Marcus knew that our ability to reason is what sets us apart from the animals and is an important power that we must use to the fullest.
Three Key Takeaway Lessons from Meditations The most important lesson to take away from Meditations is that our minds have great power. We can choose how we perceive events and we can always choose to be virtuous. If we practice, we can instantly erase any bad impressions from our mind. We are completely in control of our thoughts and actions. Remember the two quotes: We can choose to be good even when we are surrounded by wrong. When another harms us, we can react with kindness, advising them of their errors if possible but being okay with it if they ignore this advice.
When another angers us, we must immediately consider their point of view, remember that we have our own faults, and respond with positivity and indifference to any supposed harm done to us.
The deepest lesson in Meditations relates to our mortality and the shortness of life. We shall soon be replaced, and we ought not waste our lives being distressed. We should focus on doing good for the others with the unknowable amount of time we have left to live. To make this a part of our lives we must reflect regularly on the fact that we will die. This can result in some of the deepest understandings available to humans, therefore death should be confronted no matter how unpleasant it may be to think about.
We should reflect on all the people that have come before us, what is left of them now, and what will later be left of us.
Stop being jerked like a puppet. Limit yourself to the present. Get It. Get Your Free.