Sunday, March 29, 2009


Why did I have a proclivity for Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations? To be honest, I think I was very confused when I picked the book up. I thought I had heard some time ago that Meditations was a founding treatise of sorts on modern Christian thinking, even though it was written in the second century.

I was wrong. Although there are passages in the book that can be construed as Christian tenets, they aren’t explicitly Christian statements. There is no mention of Jesus, only of God and Gods and, even then, the mention of God seems off-the-cuff.

After having done a little research on Meditations, I think the book I must have confused it for is Confessions by St. Augustine. My bad, St. Augustine. I can’t give to you the month I toiled with Meditations which, by the way, is only 93 pages long.

As you might be able to tell, I didn’t care for the book. It made me thankful, once again, that I was, and never will be, a student of philosophy. Meditations bored me with its mostly archaic language and stiff translation. However, I did find myself sporadically underlining sentences throughout the book. I will close with a couple lines after this pronouncement: Meditations is a boring book. Sure, it is a classic in the Stoic tradition, but unless it’s on a course syllabus, stay away.

“For clearly one who loses his temper is turning away from Reason with a kind of pain and inward spasm; whereas he who offends through appetite is the victim of pleasure and is clearly more vicious in a way and more effeminate in his wrongdoing.” – Mediations, Book II, Chapter 10

“Don’t live as though you were going to live a myriad years. Fate is hanging over your head; while you have life, while you may, become good.” – Mediations, Book IV, Chapter 17

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